The Silence Foundation was first envisioned in the year 2000 by global researcher David McCleskey (now deceased) and his wife, poet Patricia Webb. It became a non-profit in 2008. Early Silence Workshops and Retreats were held in hospitals, universities, schools, and churches. Opportunities to serve increased when Pat and David became trained in mindfulness.
The Silence Foundation has hosted annual Weekend Mindfulness Retreats in various Oklahoma retreat centers for the past twelve years. We bring well-known authors and meditation teachers across the U.S to conduct these residential programs which are open to all.
From 2010 to the present, we have facilitated The Resilience Project for Oklahoma school children, their teachers, counselors, and parents. Our pilot programs in Oklahoma City Public Schools received support from the Oklahoma City Thunder, The E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, The Inasmuch Foundation, Sarkeys, The Anschutz Foundation, and many churches and individuals. Currently, we provide specialized training to educators and demonstration lesson opportunities at a few select area schools. Schools can now apply to receive coaching and curriculum.
We understand that in our noisy and fast-paced culture, Silence might be initially uncomfortable or even threatening to some. That’s why our team enjoys introducing Silence in ways that include the arts, writing, playing, and playfully interacting rather than only sitting on a cushion. Our training programs are enlivening and designed to reach a wide range of individuals.
Silence might very well represent a new and radical type of diplomacy. As people gather in silence-inspired Sharing Circles, we can all learn methods of deep listening that open doors of compassion. From this field, we can find common ground for problem-solving. Any organization can ask for our help to create such a circle and use it as a start-up help, a periodic boost, or an on-going program.