Model, Imogen Bailey, worked in the entertainment industry for 20 years but has reinvented herself as a Women’s Circle Educator amongst other things.
Spending years living in Los Angeles and known for appearances in Australian Survivor and Celebrity Big Brother back in 2002 and Neighbours in 2008, a trip to Somalia sparked major change in Imogen’s life.
The Meditation Teacher and Reiki Practitioner was invited to head to Mogadishu in 2013 to appear in an episode of Go Back to Where You Came From. At the time she had put out a call to the universe to show her what she needed to see.
Imogen said the show, “Followed the journey of refugees coming to Australia”. The show took her from Africa to Indonesia and back to Australia.
“That was a really huge turning point for me, it opened my eyes to a lot of things I had never seen before…I think we know from the news what it’s like to see a country that’s in war and in extreme poverty, people under extremely harsh conditions that we thankfully don’t experience” she said.
Imogen said that luckily many Australians don’t know what it’s like to live in a war-torn country with no Government and no police. At the time Imogen went to Mogadishu, it was considered the most dangerous war-torn country in the world.
This experience brought her to a place where she felt like she needed to be of service and eventually led her to study to be a qualified ‘birth Doula’, a non-medical support person. Imogen didn’t want to go to university but wanted to learn a skill where language would not be a barrier. Later, Imogen also became an ‘end of life Doula’. She now assists people to transition into the afterlife.
She explained that a Doula provides nurturing, love and care for people who are experiencing challenging situations. Sometimes, she said, she will play the role of event planner. It really depends on what the individual needs.
Imogen is also a Women’s Circle Educator, creating Imogen Bailey Honouring Heart. She teaches people how to hold space for men and women. Imogen was first introduced to circles while living in Los Angeles after questioning her career and the direction it was heading in. She said LA can be an incredibly lonely place to live. At the time, she attended these events regularly, saying she felt like she, “Really needed the support of other women, I needed to be excited and stimulated and inspired and motivated and also held and nurtured in a way where I didn’t have to edit myself”.
“We would do great creative activities and we would talk about the books that we were reading and there was something just very authentic and pure about it. There was no competition in the room; I think that we live in a hyper-competitive culture and it’s really nice to be in a space where you can leave all of that behind” she said.
She has now been attending circles for over ten years. During that time, Imogen decided to study under a Circle Facilitator, saying that really, “Got the juices flowing”, for her. She found that she was excited about storytelling, saying it is important for women to do this in a group setting. Imogen said it is a great way to ignite passion and creativity.
The mother of one said her favourite word for Circle is, “’Incubation’, because it really becomes that for women. When women can sit together in that warmth and create and learn and share with each other. It’s an incubator for so many different things in our life, things that you don’t even expect are going to happen, just from being their together”.
Imogen said she decided to start teaching people to be Circle Facilitators because while many were trying their best, they didn’t have the basic skills necessary. Having said that, she admits we do have a natural understanding of how to hold space for others, but she said we have to learn how to host events in a modern world.
“The tradition of circle in its purest form, when you put it into the modern world where we have a lot of mental health issues, everybody is fast-paced, there’s hyper-competitiveness; you kind of need the ancient tradition with the modern application of skills” she said.
Imogen stressed that she didn’t want women to apply a cardboard cut-out approach to holding space. Instead, she offers tools and a framework and asks facilitators to see what they can create within that. She used to teach face to face but now operates mostly online and has worked with over 600 clients so far.
The 43-year-old even managed to rope husband, Robb Beckmann, into her business. The pair met in 2016 and married in 2018. Robb is a Business Coach and Imogen admits he was reluctant at first, but she was passionate about helping women brush up on their business skills-set, saying spiritual people tend to have trouble accepting payment for their services. But she stresses that this must be an exchange of energy.
Honouring Heart training is offered online so people can learn at their own pace. People are taught how to hold space in their homes, workplaces, education facilities and even in jails. Imogen admits that had she been asked a year ago if we could run circles online, she would have said no. “But when COVID hit, I said to my husband ‘oh well we have to teach people how to do this online straight away’”.
“And the thing is, before COVID, loneliness was a global epidemic that is actually killing people. It’s up there with heart disease” she said.
Imogen added, women are ‘tend and befriend’ by nature, and when they honour that they typically live longer and have better health.
Before COVID, Imogen firmly believed that in-person circles were the best, but the pandemic changed her mind. She said she has found that online gatherings can be just as rewarding. Imogen said there will come a time when COVID-19 doesn’t impact us the way it is right now, and we will have a chance to meet in person again.
For more info on Imogen and her circles, visit: https://honouringheart.com/