Thursday, July 5, 2012

Introducing Dorothy LeBaron

I have been invited to introduce myself, as the newest member of the Council. I would like to start by saying how excited and enthusiastic I am to be part of the Council, and to be working with my colleagues. We have met several times, and already have a strong sense of collaboration, and common vision.

As I follow the thread of my connection to anthroposophy through my life, I begin in my 21st year, in 1975, when I heard Francis Edmunds speak about Waldorf education at the Toronto Waldorf School. I walked out into the cold, winter night thinking “I can’t believe an education like this exists in the world.” I spent the next year in the Foundation Studies program, in Spring Valley New York, and living on a small biodynamic farm.

I returned to Toronto, and began working in the book industry, eventually buying a specialty bookstore, which I still co-own and operate today. During those years I married and had two children. Through my children attending the Waldorf Academy (then the Alan Howard Waldorf School), I reconnected to anthroposophy, becoming very active in parent education, and serving on the Council at that school.

It was in my 42nd year that I took a course at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto, and discovered Coenraad Van Houten’s adult learning and destiny learning work. I joined a group of facilitators who were carrying his work in the Toronto area. The same year, I took a weekend workshop in Biography with Regine Kurek, where I had a strong experience of healing a difficult event in my life through an art process.

I entered the three-year part time Biography-Life as Art training at Arscura School for Art in Toronto, and began offering workshops in Biography. I also completed the Art for Life training and became part of the Faculty at Arscura.

The threads of anthroposophy weaving through my life have to do with adult education, with the field of karma and destiny, with healing through the arts, with the field of Biography and art as a way to facilitate people to a deeper connection to self and world. I have been able to apply some of this work in the field of leadership training. For me, the work of C. Otto Scharmer and Theory U has been a breakthrough in giving a language, a framework, a methodology, for speaking about and practicing some of the concepts I work with in anthroposophy, in the business and organizational world.

Most of my work with the biography and social art takes place in groups. A different kind of learning takes place in the social realm. How do we create the conditions and practices in the way we meet for the spiritual life to be present? What is the role of the arts in this?

How do we in our Anthroposophical Society become a “we”? How can we work together and become visible to each other, and in the world? How can we recognize where the “new” is breaking through in the world, and be there as well? What do we need to let go of, in order to create space for the new in our Society? These are questions living in me now.

Thank-you to the members for this gift and responsibility of serving on the Council. I look forward to meeting many of you in person, and to hear how anthroposophy is living in you and your groups across Canada, and in what ways you are working with it. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council, responding to the needs that are meeting us at this time.

Dorothy LeBaron

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