THIS is a consent-based space.

I am sometimes asked how a person can create a consent-based space, within an environment/culture where the dominant culture isn’t consent-based. This is a really good question, seeing as our society is still waking up to the idea and isn’t consent-based by design (yet), so anyone that wants a consent-based life needs to think about this for ourselves in one way or another.

It is totally possible to carve a consent-based space within a dominant culture that isn’t consent-based. Yesterday I had a wonderful experience of that in practice. My daughter had a music lesson – her first one with a music teacher who is a friend that we know well, who’s children attend the Cabin and who did the consent-based education course with me earlier this year. He’s awesome.

Anyway, after the 30 minute lesson, when we were chatting on the way home in the car, she shared that at the start of the class the teacher had said to her: “I don’t know if I told you this already or not, but my class is a consent-based space. If you don’t want to do something please do tell me, and if you want to leave to see your mum or something you can do that anytime.”

Fucking genius. So simple. Takes two seconds at the start of the class, and sets the whole tone of the culture of the space as consensual. It’s like consent-based culture creation magic. In two sentances.

We all have some space that belongs to us. The most immediate is our own body, heart and mind. That is the first place where we can choose to create a consent-based culture. How we move with ourselves, in the world around us and in relation to others creates a micro-culture. We can actively create consent-based culture and dynamic just by our way of being in relationship to oursleves and in our every day life.

The next space is any space that we have authority/decision making power in. In the example above, the teacher has a music room/class, but this could be our bedroom, our home, a part of a workplace, anywhere that we have authority/responsibility/are a practioner or holding space of some kind. It could be the space of a Zoom call we are hosting.

This space is a place within which we have the opportunity and power to intentionally establish consent-based culture. That can then be experienced by ourselves in our own practice there, and by anyone else that enters and spends time there. Do you doubt that this is powerful and transformative? How else do we change the world consensually (we need to utilise the change we want to see as the method for making the change itself) if it isn’t through manifesting this culture in the spaces and places in which we have personal and creative agency, autonomy and authority? If we do our bit in our places to make it happen, that’s real change right now. Don’t wait for someone else to get it started – you’ve already got a space to play with.

Critical self-reflection for deschooling

Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

In order to deschool, critical self-reflection is really important. By that I mean the interrogation of beliefs and thoughts in order to root out the internalised ideas that limit and undermine our return to ourselves, and our awareness of what it is that is possible for us.

Critical self-reflection looks like pausing in our thoughts, thinking and actions, to ask the question: Is this true? two times. By challenging our assumptions, beliefs and ‘normal’ ways of being in this way, we are called to ask about their origins, intention, truth and validity, and therefore their power and influence in our lives.

When we ask: Is this true? we are creating a space for questioning and criticality. By asking ourselves twice, we are pushing the point: the second time says: how can you be sure, is it really true? Doing this is a loving act, by not letting ourselves get away with a simple or automatic answer, or dismissal of the interrogation.

Where the answer is: I’m not sure, a sliver of light is let in to go futher. If we are not sure if something is true, there is an opporunity for expansion, new ideas, change and new realities. If we can not be sure that it is true, then we have the chance to go deeper to find what is closer to feeling or being true in our hearts and our understanding. If we can not be sure that it is true, we have the opportunity to let it go and engage with an alternative that is it least ‘as true’ if not closer feeling to what could be true, to be more open to other possibilities, and gives us greater opportunity being at least true to ourselves and having more authentic and meaningfully self-directed choices and awareness.

Consent and Consciousness

I’ve been thinking recently about the meaningfulness of consent in regards to living in a conscious way. Consent, as I see it, is an invitation to consciousness. The process of consenting causes us to pause, to engage with ourselves, our internal and external world, to our relating, and to check our orienation and next steps. It is an invitation to check with our inner compass and check alignment. Without a regular practice of consent, it’s easy to slide out of conscious engagement, to slide into other ways of being, to drift from our track and into unconcious patterns and behaviours that can separate and distance us from ourselves.

Engaging with consent is disruptive to sliding out of alignment, it’s a wake up call, an opportunity look inwards and out. Let’s face it – there is plenty out there in life to blow us hither and thither out of our own sense of self and path, whether that’s the messages of the dominant culture, needs of others, low level disorientation that creeps up over time, other people’s/society’s norms, values, expectations etc.

To have that check in/up, to live life awake, aligned and active, think about ways to integrate consent practice into your daily life and relationships – opportunities to ask the questions: is this ok by me or not, do I need to think about it, do I need more information? This can look like checking in with yourself: does this feel good, do I feel on the right track? How aware am I feeling right now of where I am and what I am doing? Do I need to pause for a bit to breathe and tune in to myself again so that I can make sure I’m acting in the right direction? Do I need more, less, or different?

It can look like checking in with others: Is this still ok with you? Are you interested in doing x? How is this feeling to you? Are we still on the right track or do we need to consider something different? Are you still on-board? How are things going so far and what do we need next?

And, it can look like checking in with the bigger picture regulary too: Am I ok with where am I right now? Do I need to make some changes to get things more aligned? Where am I feeling ok and where am I feeling separated or not quite right? How can I move things so that they feel better and more aligned – what next steps do I need take to work towards to heading in the right direction?

Consent is a powerful tool and opportunity that enables us to ask these key questions, to live a conscious, intentional and activated life, aligning us with our greater purpose and (personal) power. Treat consent as a gift, a loving opportunity that cares about and believes in that truth whisper inside of you, and says: here is a chance to check in with your self, to make sure that you have what you want and need, and are in the right place for all that is to come.

Does the river apologise?


Does the river apologise,

For how it flows?

Does it hide its strength, or slow itself down,

Just in case?


Does the river apologise,

For being deep and wide,

Turbulent and still,

For its shallows, and for how and where it goes?


Does the river apologise,

For being a nourisher and sustainer of life?

For being a place where things live and die,

Are eaten, are born and survive?


Does the river apologise,

For being wild and free?

For being cold and icy

And warmed by the sun?


Does the river apologise,

For what it does or doesn’t know?

For its mystery, its wisdom,

For its ambivalence?


Does the river apologise?

Does it try to hide itself, just in case?

In case someone sees its true nature,

In case someone sees it’s free?


Sophie Christophy