Nature’s Way to Lead and Organize

GTW-Poster-300x200Nature’s Way to Lead and Organize is a spiritually-based program where we  discover and live into the new leadership and become proficient in Circle facilitation.  

When we Dream and Work together in Circle Miracles Happen   


Content Description

Nature’s Way, to Lead and Organize, is an innovative and exciting new spiritually-based leadership program built on Indigenous Wisdom, new science and best practices.  Through connecting to ourselves, each other, and the worlds around us, both seen and unseen, we will open our hearts and minds as we look to nature for guidance.  Participants will experience and learn through practice, feedback and reflection in a compassionate and fun loving environment. During the four-days topics will include, coming to consensus, managing conflict, collecting group wisdom, co-creating action plans and more.  The program will be infused with storytelling, art, music, meditation and gentle movement that will assist participants in connecting to their own heart center.


This program is designed to engage participants in a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities that will increase observation skills and build facilitation confidence and leadership awareness. Those who attend will gain a working knowledge of Circle facilitation skills, shared leadership models, engage in creative active listening, and consciously experience deep silence in nature.  Participants will leave AVALON with the skills, self-confidence and supportive network to start a circle or organization and host circle events.

Who Should Attend?

Women interested in exploring and becoming spiritually-based leaders and developing and enhancing Circle facilitation skills.

Register soon, limited space of 12 participants

CONTACT INFORMATION   AVALON, Barbara Thorngren, 374 General Miller Highway, Temple, NH 03084 Phone: 603.878-3076  Workshop Contact: Barbara Thorngren,

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First Circle

First Circle of CCC2The first circle called by the Community Café Coalition of SWFL was held Monday, June 5, at the Hummingbird healing center in Bonita Springs, Florida.   Using the Native American talking stick each woman spoke their thoughts and feelings about the word development.  We went home feeling hopeful and ready to hold other conversations that help us to discover common dreams that lead to actions.          

Our intention is to bring people together to listen, talk and act on behalf of the natural world  We will host circle conversations in cafés, churches and community spaces using a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to meaningful results. We seek to bring together the diversity of SW Florida in a setting where like and un-like minds are listened to without judgment.  We will provide safe and creative settings where people of all ages have the opportunity to contribute in finding common dreams that lead to actions that preserve, protect and celebrate the natural world.

Open to individuals and groups that support the protection, preservation and celebration of the natural world

Visit us on Facebook  Community Café Coalition

The following are organizations included in the coalition:

Collier Citizens for Sustainability

Tree Sisters of the Sacred Forest of SWFL

Gather The Women of SWFL

Circle Connections

Millionth Circle

Building a Global Climate Movement   www.350.0rg?

Cypress Cove Conservancy

Pachamama Alliance


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Community Café Coalition

Adelante Going Forward

Community Café Coalition brings people together to listen, talk and act on behalf of the natural world.   We host circle conversations in cafés, churches and community spaces using a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to meaningful results. Where like and unlike minds are listened to without judgment.


We provide circle gatherings where children, adults and elders all contribute in finding common dreams that lead to actions.

Join us on FB Group   Community Café Coalition

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Adelande! Going Forward

Community Café Coalition

Adelende!  Going Forward: Passions into Actions

Adelante Going Forward

A group of citizens and organizations passionate about preserving, protecting and celebrating Mother Earth have formed the Community Cafe Coalition.  Our intention is to bring people together to listen, talk and act on behalf of the natural world.     

 We will host conversations in cafés, churches and community spaces using a simple process that helps to shift us from small talk to meaningful results.     

 You can join us on FB   It is free and open to all.

Namaste!!!  Ann Smith

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Adelante! Going Forward Together



Join us in celebrating paradise and ensuring a better future for all.   April 1, Saturday, 9.30 to 3:00 pm at St. Monica’s Episcopal Church in Naples.

Women, men and youth are listened to without judgment and fully participate in co-creating positive actions.  For more information go to

art by Jane Evershed
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Gather The Women

Women's March with Marjorie and Bonnie Women's MarchAltar

When times get tough, the tough march, petition, lobby, make phone calls, vote, pray, meditate, sing, dance, create art, poetry, knit pussy hats, play and gather in Circle.

We are the spiritual leaders and activists made for these times.  We are the ones we have been waiting for.  The Women’s March brought us hope and a visible sign that there is a global women’s movement that is huge and growing, self-organizing and unstoppable.   It is inclusive of all people, all ages and stages.  It is loving, fun and serious about working for justice and peace for all creation.  We care deeply for our planet, Mother Earth, and are gathering in circles as small as two or three or in the hundreds, thousands and millions.   We are motived by love, a love so great that it is beyond words or our imaginations.   Namaste!!!  Ann


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Divine Feminine Rising



Divine Feminine is Rising, She is life-giving. She empowers us all to be the change needed in the United States and everywhere.

With so much attention given to the newly elected presidential abuse of power in the Federal Government, the silent and mighty force of the Divine Feminine continues to grow more visible.   While only 200 buses are predicted to attend the inauguration, at least 1,200 bus permits have been asked for the Women’s March.  While some will watch the inauguration others are organizing local events connected to the Women’s March.  We refuse to be idle, complacent or complicit in supporting an oppressive regime.  We are coming together to be the spiritual leadership these times call us into being, as change agents and activists.  The patriarchy may have a strangle hold on national politics, but not on our minds and hearts as citizens.  We refuse to support any candidate that does not ensure basic human rights of everyone and ecological integrity.  We embrace the Divine Feminine in ourselves and in everyone and claim Her power to be co-creators of a world that works for all creation.   She is with us even in our despair.  She is the unseen whispering encouragement to step into leadership as visionaries, mystics, community organizers, teachers, learners and politicians.   Be angry, be vigilant, be all that you are being called to be at this critical time.

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Mother Earth’s Round Calendar





This wonderfully whimsical, mystical, magical, meaningful round calendar is the only one of its kind that connects you to nature.  The moon phases, art and messages from Mom teach how to be in harmony with our self, one another and all creation.  You can chart your moods and your energy.  Find out when to plant and when to harvest, when to dream,  start a new project and when to reflect and rest.  Each month has a theme to explore.  January is “Come together in circles, co-create healthy solutions to problems, listen, learn and act.  Come Together in Circle

Sr. Helena Marie, Ginny Doctor and I will post on FB Page messages from Mom with words of wisdom, songs for planting, health and gardening tips, Happiness messages from Rhonda Hull, caring for Mom and more.  Keep a daily journal with the moon phases and in sacred circle conversations with Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon and us.  January theme is Come together in circles, co-create healthy solutions.  January 1st is the New Moon, new beginnings.  What a perfect way to bring in 2017.

Facebook Page Mother Earth’s Round Calendar

To order calendar go to


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Change is Here and It is Good


Oh my God!   I am so grateful to be alive and well to witness to the Democratic National Convention.  I am deep gratitude to have the privilege to be able to hear the speeches and stories of forgiveness, compassion, strength against all odds and a new vision of shared leadership that embraces our amazing diversity.  I am so grateful to witness of the breaking of the glass ceiling in the highest office of government in my country that now gives all people the opportunity to fulfill our dreams for a world of inclusive justice and peace for all creation.

I have worked all my life for women’s leadership receiving verbal abuse or seen as women’s work so therefore insignificant. And like Hillary staying steadfast to moving forward, never going back.  The song Keep On Moving Forward, sung by 50 thousand women and men at the opening of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, is now becoming a reality.  The dream for a better world for all people brought about by shared leadership, listening to one another with respect and working together in love is happening.  The witnessing to how stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary work for justice is becoming the model of the new leadership, where women’s voices no longer are seen as too strident but are heard as voices of strength, wisdom, courage, compassion, collaboration, cooperation, love and tenacity.

Now it is up to us, we the people, to support one another in making the dreams come true, where no child lives in poverty, no one lives in violence, no one is allowed to destroy Mother Earth, and equality of all is a reality. Now it is up to us to turn to one another and listen, especially to those from whom we have been divided, and to tell our stories and our dreams for a better world.  .

We are working on a new leadership program called Spiritual Leadership that is based on the values I heard at the DNC. It is built on the collective wisdom from around the world, incorporating best practices and the way of circle where everyone is equally valued and equally shares the information, resources, leadership, power, love.  I have traveled around the world and attended more than forty global conferences where I could listen and participate with grassroots women and men and high officials.  It is through these amazing experiences that I have known for a long time that there is a new Spirit rising for a better world.

This is what all who watched the DNC got to experience. At all the global conferences there was very little and in most cases no media coverage.  I would come home and tell others, but because they were not with us to experience the power of change for the common good, it, was not believed or lost in translation.  Now millions and maybe billions of people will know that change is a coming and it is good.

There is a spiritual awakening that unites us. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No Saw it Coming history, is a fabulous book of hope by Paul Hawken that documents what I too have experienced.  It is spiritual leadership found in small groups and spiritual circles, and in every place where people from around the world work together as equals for justice and peace.  Because of the great media coverage at the DNC, now millions and maybe billions can witness that change is coming, and it is good.

I beg that all of us stop and truly listen to the inner voice of Spirit within each of us so we tap into our greatest potential for the good of all. Then turn to others and tell your stories and your dreams for a better world and listen to others.    Namaste!!!  Ann

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Up Close and Personal with Hillary

Up Close and Personal with Hillary

Hillary Rodham Clinton

So much has been said about Hillary, so as a feminist who has worked for the past fifty years with and for women’s empowerment and healing, I will tell of my close up and personal experiences with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The first time I met her in person was in Washington DC at a Church Women United event. I was serving as staff for the National Episcopal Church, Director of Women in Mission and Ministry.  The audience was women of faith representing the many denominations who worked together through Church Women United and the National Council of Churches on behalf of women and girls.  Hillary talked to us about being a woman of faith, raised in the Methodist Church and her mother’s wisdom to listen to what God was calling her to be and do and then just do it.  She radiated enthusiasm and sincerity for her life in politics as First Lady.  She thanked us for coming to Washington and asked us to continue our work in advocating and serving women for the betterment of their families, communities and our nation.

Several of us who had key positions in our denominations attended a small governmental meeting in DC with staff from the Interagency Council on Women set up to provide systemic change. I am not good at dates so not sure if this was in preparation of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 or after.  Staff for the Interagency Council and for the US Delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women were very supportive of our roles and asked us to make our voices heard by telling them what we wanted.  This was very different than how we were treated at the UN Third World Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985.  We were ignored and shut out of acting as consultants to the US Delegation even though we had UN NGO Consultative Status.

The second time to be close up to Hillary was in 1995, in Huairou, outside of Beijing where the UN Fourth World NGO Forum was held. The space given to us by the Chinese Government was a secondary school, too small to accommodate the fifty thousand women attending.   The auditorium where Hillary spoke could only hold some of us on a first come basis, arriving early, waiting in the rain and singing songs.  When Hillary ended her speech by saying the Beijing Noon Day Prayer I was stunned.  The Prayer was written by me, Sr. Helena Marie of the Episcopal Church, Eileen King of World Day of Prayer and Florence Kelley of  Baha International.  Church Women United translated it into the UN official languages and made it into a postcard that became an official UN document accepted by the Chinese Government. I was not able to thank her or shake her hand but it was enough to have her with us in Huairou where she inspired us to greatness and to keep on keeping on. All fifty thousand women attending heard her say, women’s rights are human rights, that she first said to UN and Government Delegates in Beijing and then to us.  For the thousands who could not get into the auditorium hearing her speech outside in the rain over a loud speaker was incredibly thrilling.  All fifty thousand of us will never forget and will continue to work on having another UN Women’s Forum. She asked us to take the UN 12 Issues of the Platform for Action document and make it come alive for grassroots women everywhere.  Sr. Helena Marie, Lucy Germany, Nancy Grandfield and I took this seriously and wrote a book called WomenPrints: A detailed Plan of Action for the New Millennium, that gave the history of the world conferences and used stories from around the world to bring alive the 12 Issues.

Because of my position in the Episcopal Church, I served on the National Committee of Pay Equity and was invited to the White House by President Bill Clinton for Pay Equity Day. The invitation goes to a small group of dedicated people making the White House event close up and personal.   When Bill spoke out for pay equity and thanked us for our efforts, Hillary glowed with love and admiration.  She and Bill when standing side-by-side radiated love for one another and mutual respect, something that can’t be contrived.

The next year, the year of the Lewinsky affair, we again were invited to the White House to celebrate Pay Equity Day. Hillary’s light from within was not visible.  She was there in person but not the Hillary we have known.  You could see the terrible strain and disappointment in her eyes and body language.  It was sad to see.

The next time was in a New York crowd, the name of the event I can’t remember. What I do remember is that she was running for the New York US Senate.  Her enthusiasm and amazing intellect about New York political needs and her professionalism on how she responded to questions related to her qualifications were outstanding.  The light from within her was radiating out to each of us as she shook our hands and thanked us for coming.

As First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary has always put women first and has proven over and over to me that the global women’s dream for a feminist serving as president of the United States is truly possible. Imagine what we will accomplish.  Imagine how the progress to improve the status of women worldwide will accelerate.  Imagine having a 5th United Nations NGO Forum on Women building on all that we have accomplished, understanding all the barriers and working grassroots up and top down.  Imagine the potential to reach through Internet, radio and women’s circles millions and possibly billions of women, girls, youth and men and to connect them to a 5th UN World Conference on Women.

Now that she is our candidate for President we can dream big, and like Hillary, do the work to make it happen.



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