Home / Event / WHAT SUSTAINS US – EXPLORING WHAT IS ESSENTIAL THROUGH COURAGE AND PLAY – A weekly online course of 4 sessions


Sunday April 11, 2021 - Sunday May 02, 2021

with Vivian Gladwell and Penny Williamson
April 11, 18, 25, May 2, 2021 from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern time / 6:00 – 8:30 pm UK time

Nothing is too small. Nothing is too ordinary or insignificant.
Those are the things that make up the measure of our days, and they’re the things that sustain us.

Rita Dove  

The courageous heart is the one that is unafraid to open to the world.
Jack Kornfield

This workshop will explore the question of what sustains us in our lives when what we seek goes awry. We are living through an unprecedented time. In such times how can we stay connected with heart, curiosity and compassion?    

We will work with the theme of What Sustains Us using The Nose to Nose approach and the Circle of Trust work of Parker Palmer, both rooted in the belief that each of us has our own inner teacher to discern our way in the world.  We invite the wisdom of our inner knowing to emerge through interweaving the vulnerable playfulness of clowning with time for reflection, deep listening,  and sharing in a trustworthy community. 

Through Clowning

We connect to our playful spirit.  We develop and sustain, in ourselves and each other, the courage to be who we truly are, to trust life and ourselves. We explore joyfully the fears that block us from being fully present in the “Here and Now.” By committing to living the absurd, the ridiculous and the tragic without judgement  we invite transformation and change in our own daily lives. We “become the other” in order to become more ourselves. We move into the realm of metaphor and can explore the paradoxes of our lives in evocative ways.

Through the Circle of Trust® approach

We create a process of shared exploration. Through the principles and practices  of this approach, we create a safe space for reflection and meaningful conversations to make deeper sense of what we are experiencing in clowning. We find the courage to share our vulnerabilities, delights, gifts and limits. We learn to trust our own wisdom to align our inner life with our outer work in the world. We may see ourselves with curiosity and wonder for who we are.

The word “courage” comes from a root that means “heart.” “Taking heart” is a profoundly inward process, and an invitation for overcoming the fears that block us from being fully present in the “Here and Now.” 

In this workshop we will interweave Clowning and Circle of Trust explorations. There will be time for learning together in the whole group, as well as time in small groups and chances for personal reflection and solitude. Our invitation is to  “create a quiet, focused, disciplined space in which the noise within us and around us can subside and the voice of the inner teacher can be heard.”

The course is limited to 12 people

Open to everyone regardless of experience

Anyone with an interest in discovering clowning and the Circle of Trust approach, and exploring how the two can enhance one another. All are welcome regardless of experience.

No prerequisites except for wifi access and a computer. Please let us know if you need technical help with Zoom.


  • Sunday April 11, 2021  1:00 – 3:30 pm EDT, 6-8:30 pm UK time
  • Sunday April 18, 2021  1:00 – 3:30 pm EDT, 6-8:30 pm UK time
  • Sunday April 25, 2021  1:00 – 3:30 pm EDT, 6-8:30 pm UK time
  • Sunday May 2, 2021     1:00 – 3:30 pm EDT, 6-8:30 pm UK time 

FEE: 255 GBP (British Pounds) / 350 USD

Click here to book this course or enquire

Note: On some IPADS or IPHONES you may need to “long press” the link above and open new tab.

To book a course follow the link Click here to book… above. You will see on the form whether there are available places.  Submit the form with your details and we will let you know how to proceed with payment. There is a $30 (£20)  admin fee for refunds.  If the course is cancelled your fee will be refunded in full.

Fees are paid  online.

Facilitators: Penny Williamson and Vivian Gladwell

Penny Williamson

Penny R. Williamson, ScD is an internationally recognized facilitator, educator and coach for leaders and organizations in health care. She is a founding facilitator and mentor for the national Center for Courage and Renewal and Associate Professor of Medicine, Part Time, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. From 1998-2016 Penny led Courage to Lead, a leadership development and personal renewal program for leaders in healthcare and other serving professions, based on the work of Parker Palmer and the Circle of Trust © approach.  She currently leads Courage retreats in the United States and other countries. Diverse themes include: life transitions, living wholeheartedly, leading with integrity and heart, and re-imagining boundaries. Over the past several years, Penny has incorporated into her work practices of “Social Presencing Theater”, exploring how alignment of mind and body add to individual discernment and collective wisdom. She is partnering with teachers of Nose to Nose Clowning, combining playful, transparent ways to explore joys, vulnerabilities and fears in combination with the reflective practices of Courage work.

Philosophy and approaches: Dr. Williamson brings to her work an ecological worldview; belief in and attention to the inner life; expertise in the disciplines of Appreciative Inquiry, World Café, Open Space and Skilled Dialogue; and incorporation in the work of powerful creative modalities including poetry, movement, clowning, music and art. Above all she brings a belief in the capacity of individuals, groups and organizations to contribute to creating a better world.

Vivian Gladwell

Vivian began teaching in 1988 as part of the Lifeways Festival at Emerson College – UK. He trained as a facilitator with the Bataclown in 1990 and joined their team in 1991 also working as a modern day Court Jester (Clownanalyst).

He created Nose to Nose UK in 1990, Nose to Nose of North America in 2006 and Fool View, the Social Clowning group and has trained facilitators in the UK, the USA, Germany and Italy – view history.

He continues his role as ambassador for the work by researching the applications of clowning in the context of teacher training, medicine, conflict management, ecology and intercultural work in many countries (South Africa, USA, Senegal, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, Norway…)

He holds clowning as a social playground for exploring our humanity.

Q: Can I talk to someone? A: Yes, just send an email with your phone number to onbeingjustright2020@nosetonose.info and we’ll call you as soon as we are free to do so.

Q: Are there still spaces available on the course? A: It will not be possible for you to book if there are no spaces available.

Q: Can you put me on the waiting list? A: If you book online and no places are available, we will put you on our waiting list and let you know when a place becomes available.

To contact us emailonbeingjustright2020@nosetonose.info