The Phoenix Rising School

Conscious Learning
Interview with Phoenix Rising School C.R.E.A.T.E. ™ Director Sonya El Debssi
By Heidi Smith

Question: if you could send your child to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, made famous in the Harry Potter series, would you do it? Granted, none of the children at the Phoenix Rising School have wands and the only broomsticks in sight are for cleaning up mud and leaves tracked in by boisterous feet, but nevertheless the students are armed with a formidable set of tools that create magical results.

Through the C.R.E.A.T.E. ™ program (Consciously Realizing Every Attitude and Thought into Experience ™) students are taught to be aware of their thoughts and how to change them, if necessary. They are trained in strengthening their focus and concentration and how to direct their attention towards a task or goal purposefully, in order to absolutely accomplish what they set their mind to. Teachers and staff integrate disciplines from Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment into the daily curriculum, and candle focus, the Neighborhood Walk ®, Fieldwork ®, remote views and Analogical Archery ™ are seamlessly woven together with math, reading, writing and social studies. Currently, PRS is the only school in the world licensed to teach them.

Regardless of whether a student has ever attended RSE, they are trained in the purpose and application of the disciplines. As C.R.E.A.T.E. Director Sonya El Debssi puts it, “Anyone can learn how to focus.” She talked with the Masters Connection about how the program works and the small miracles she sees on a regular basis.

MC: How do you incorporate the disciplines from RSE into the classroom?

SE: We start out our day with a C.R.E.A.T.E. session, and then each teacher has a different way of integrating it. For example, in first and second grade, part of their daily calendar is to do some Henry Sugar cards. They just quietly sit down and then they usually have a remote view that is related to something they’re working on. It could be land forms, it could be reptiles or whatever is being taught in the classroom. That’s really true across the board when it come to remote views.

When they studied maps of the world, they had a black and white map and had to fill in a continent or a country with a specific color, so they remote viewed the colors of each one. Mainly we direct it toward what’s relevant in school. If we do Fieldwork ®, they’ll focus on an ability they want to improve.

MC: How are children who have never attended RSE trained in the disciplines?

SE: Any child is welcome to come to the school if they are interested in this kind of method. Twice a year an RSE teacher comes over and talks about the disciplines, but we also demonstrate them. We have teachers demonstrate them here, and we also have them watch the children. We want to make sure that when you attend the school you know what the disciplines are about and how to do them. So they do get initiated into it.

MC: Do you see evidence in the classroom that the kids are solving problems through using the disciplines?

SE: Definitely. We have many kids who will focus on accomplishing prior to tests and they usually do. It’s good feedback for them. They have a focus, they put the thought up and they get an instant result. Just recently they were interviewed about what they had focused on and what they had made happen, and there was a diversity of answers. Some of them had focused on toys and games that were important to them, but some of them shared that “I really wanted to be a better reader because I wanted to be able to read certain books.” That was a first grader. She said, “I did my walk and I focused, and now I’m reading chapter books.”

Many of the children now regularly ask me to do the Walk ® or Fieldwork ®. I asked them why and one particular student answered "Because I really want what I'm focusing on.” Those moments are golden moments to me, because there is nothing like a lesson or activity inspired by the students themselves. I clearly see that they have had enough experiences to know their focus will bring them results, or they're inspired, because they have seen their friends manifest something, be it school related or not.

Third and fourth graders often have spelling words for their tests, and they do activities where they have different colored envelopes with words that are challenging for them. They have to remote view which envelope contains which word, and they have to spell the word before they open it. It’s really fun and it’s a total game. We do the same with archery. You could shoot a target that’s specific to a goal you want to accomplish. We’ve had math problems up in archery, as well as spelling words.

What I’ve noticed the most, and now we’re in the subtle realms of the mind because there are a lot of strategies that are taught in the class, is that we don’t stop class to do a discipline. You don’t just go into focus and be a mindful person and then stop and not be mindful. The two have to marry and that’s one of the key elements of the program.

MC: How have you seen the program change as the teachers and staff have gotten more comfortable with facilitating it?

SE: There have been huge changes. It’s been a great evolution because basically when we started out, it was a separate thing; here’s the list of RSE activities that we do, and we didn’t have the neuronet on how to integrate it. We had the teacher neuronet on how to teach, and the discipline neuronet on activities. Through application and really putting our minds on it, the teacher neuronet and the discipline neuronet are now combined. We have a mindset now; it’s part of our nature to think that way. The creativity is just off the charts in terms of what the teachers come up with. We have, since we started, created many new activities to implement focus into our school day. We have a bigger menu now, so to speak. RSE disciplines are an important part of it, but they are not the only part. The C.R.E.A.T.E. ™ program is its own entity and it is really beautiful.

MC: Is there a story that encapsulates what this program is all about?

SE: The children were given a vote about what activity they wanted to do and they had to write a persuasive paragraph about why they wanted it. Archery was chosen and it was a handful of boys. They asked, “Can’t we just shoot with our eyes open and have fun with it?” so their teacher compromised. The first four arrows were shot with blinders up, and the next six with blinders down.

One particular student was shooting all over the place -- with eyes open! He shot his four arrows and hit nothing. Then he put his blinders down and the very next arrow hit his target, two inches from the bullseye. That was a classic moment, both for him personally and for all the students to observe the difference. First of all, it’s a personal experience. It wasn’t the teacher telling him. He had the option to do what he wanted to do with his eyes open, but then for him to see what he could do when he was blindfolded and concentrated was huge -- consciously realizing a thought into experience.

When it comes to this program, it’s about a state of mind that we’re endeavoring to develop. We learn knowledge, expand the mind, “warm up” the brain, focus, concentrate. What kind of attitude do you have? Are you aware of your thoughts? How can you change your day if you change your thoughts? Self-reflection is really important. Is what I’m thinking beneficial to what I want to do here, or not? If it’s not, we have a set of tools and we assist them in helping themselves. That’s what self-empowerment is about. It gives them confidence and respect for themselves and others, because they know they can accomplish. I think that really reflects beautifully on how important mindfulness is for any person.

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