Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cisco Kid Was a Friend of Mine

I knew this summer would be fabulous and it is so far!  Volunteering at NMCTR is one of my favorite things to do.  I go every Thursday from 9-12'ish to exercise the horses.  I love it!!!! The director, Ashley, is wonderful and decided to add three days each week dedicated to horse physical and mental health and the horses have just blossomed in a few weeks!!! One horse, Kodi, follows the leader perfectly without a halter now! Amazing to see and he was a wild mustang before who had been abducted from his mom in the wild and then abused be the owners.  Now he is so safe and happy and stimulated!

I worked with Cisco today and am a believer in the natural horsemanship strategies more than ever! We started implementing them about a month ago.  As a result, the horses are growing and learning so much and are appropriately stimulated.  They had become very stoic and tired.  I'm learning and growing leaps and bounds too and feel a new excitement as well!!!

So, I use to be pretty intimidated, afraid even at times, of Cisco because he was getting really grouchy and pissed off.  His body language was unhappy and he would snip and bite and lay his ears down and get really mad at us.  He was not into it at all anymore.  Ashley put him on a long break and he is doing so much better now.  I guess he was just tired.  These healing horses put up with a lot and give a lot too.  They get compassion fatigue just like other social workers.

Today is a new day though!  Cisco is fresh and rested, has a great attitude, and is ready to get back to work.  He's still a bit pushy though.  Ashley taught me a lot about how to handle him.  Learning how to work with them is very humbling and is teaching me a lot about myself and about ways I need to work on how I communicate and present myself.  It's amazing how much I'm learning about subtle forms of communication, being really clear about what I want the horse to do and leading them to do it, boundaries, and leading them so they know they can trust me and that I will lead them to safety at all times.

Wow...that's a lot of letting go and trusting I am asking of him!  It's a huge responsibility!  We made great progress today.  We never use to use whips before, and we never whip them per se or harm them in anyway, but we use it as a tool to help the horses learn to follow us as the heard leaders and to stop and go using very light taps and gestures so they can learn boundaries.  Ultimately, they are much happier once these structures are set up because we are able to work as a team and really connect.

Oh, when the connection happens between me and the horse, today with Cisco, it's the best feeling ever! He loved it too!  He really came to trust me and gave me soft nosey snuggles, licked his lips, and softened his gaze when we took breaks and when I praised him and thanked him.  They love to be talked to and respected.  It just inspires me so much how these horses want to connect and serve.  But they need to be seen and heard just like anyone else or they get pissed off just like anyone else.  Our natural horsemanship strategies help us communicate with, and listen to the voices/communication styles of the horse on their level, and it works amazingly well, not surprisingly.  Cisco was sooooo happy today!

I got a wake up call about how vague I can be with my communication.  I noticed a couple times when Cisco didn't do what I thought I wanted him to do because I wasn't even entirely clear in my own head and then didn't ask him in the right way.  How many times have I done that in my life in different relationships and situations!  I can think of so many times with different folks where we're just floundering around, they don't know what to do, I don't know what to we stop, go, slow down, speed up...just a cluster-fuck of confusion.  I also am learning to be more assertive and to be a leader.  I know I'm capable of being a good leader and it takes practice.  The horses need that from me and so do the riders who go there for therapy.  They need me to be in charge in a firm and loving way.  They need me to practice good, strong boundaries so that they can feel cared for and safe.  Same goes with future clients once I'm finally a licensed therapist.  This point was really clarified for me today.  Very grateful for that!

Clearly my issues with boundaries, communication, and being assertive stem from my formative years and family with abuse, really unhealthy and non-existant boundaries, and terrible communication, but today I get to nip that and practice new tools, skills, and behavior.  Those days are over and I'm the leader now.  I also can relate to the defiance of the horses, if it can be called such, as I was that teen and young adult who was going to do whatever I wanted.  I know I learned such tendencies because I had trust issues, felt alone and like I had to lead myself, yet had no clue what to do.  Wow...I feel so much compassion for me, the horses, and the youth who come to work with the horses.  Negotiating these complexities and challenges take more skill than most of us are taught.  Feels awesome to put one foot in front of the other as I forge into my new paradigm!  Working with the horses is teaching me how to be a better human.

I just love the horses soooooo much and love the person I'm becoming from this opportunity to spend so much time working with them.  I'm not even scared of cleaning their hooves or walking behind them anymore.  Every week I feel more and more comfortable and then they let me in more as a result.  I even rode for the first time last week.  I haven't been on a horse since I was a teen. Very empowering and Maggie tested me like crazy!  :) I get to ride next Thursday too!!! Yay!!! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Archetypal Psychology: Final Paper

Archetypes: Language of the Self


Warning: violent and graphic images and language are in this paper.

For the sake of staying on my tender-warrior-healing-journey, I choose to utilize this assignment space (and your compassionate ability to hold and witness my transformation…so, thank you…) to further explore the dark realms of my unconscious and the collective unconscious.  My goal with this paper is to stay fully engaged and submerged in the dark, deep waters of Self.  This quarter and this class has given me the strength to validate and trust myself.  I know that it is my job to be bold and brave, to heal, and to allow my light to shine.  I also know I cannot let my light shine without also allowing The Shadow to live and breathe too.  As I heal, I explore realms in heaven, hell, and levels in between.  I embark on these journeys while awake, in dream states, and in my art/creative processes.  Learning about how to collaborate with archetypes has given me new tools to explore the self-reflexive, micro/macrocosmic, negative strange loop field-effects (Pearce; 2012), which are necessary angels (McNiff) or angles of perception, which help me heal and learn to serve others. 
This path I am on is the path or tenderness and fearlessness.  When I say fearlessness, that does not mean I am not ever frightened.  It means, that I know that the only way through, is through.  Like one saying goes, and I don’t remember who said it, while on your journey through hell, don’t stop there, keep going.  Maybe no one said that…maybe I’m the author of that quote.  I don’t know?  And so, despite that I have at times felt isolated, desperately alone, and afraid, I also know that the answers and healing are in the pain.  For too long I tried to wall-off through maladaptive attempts to comfort myself and numb-out my pain, but those attempts only prolonged my problems and self-harm.  Sometimes boundaries are permeable and I do not know if my pain is all mine or if it’s a pain from the collective as well, as if I am experiencing my, as well as the collective’s dark night of the soul.  That feels right.  All I know is that the multiplicities, complexities, nuances, and relentless nature of this dark night is a motherfucker!  Good thing I am a warrior because I need all the courage and energy I can muster to survive the human condition and thrive in this thing called life. 
Anyway, this paper is a living document.  This paper is the next mandala in a sense and it is a further exploration of mandalas rendered in this class, as they continue to speak to and inform me.  I haven’t time or energy to waste on simply hashing out a paper that I don’t care about, so that my work is complete and I can get my grade.  I see that my work will likely never be complete.  There is no end and so onward I travel.  This is not simply a final paper regurgitating information I have read or picked up, although it is a non-linear paper about my profound process as a brave and willing learner trying on the garbs of the wounded healer and acting as if.  Finally, it is my intention to use this paper to forge new terrain on my mission to decode and learn the mysterious language and symbology of my being, my dreams and inner landscapes, and my unconscious, and to die however many times I must die in order to be reborn into conscious awareness and personal enlightenment.
Here we go, down the rabbit hole.
Why is that after an amazing day, yesterday, consisting of sunshine, health and wellness practices, friends and community, our archetypal class’s wonderful final presentations, healing transformation, and me setting down and clarifying my goals for summer break, did I have one of the most violent, horrifying dreams I have ever had?  Perhaps it’s a timing thing?  In my presentation, and in much of my work this quarter, I have explored the concept of healing occurring in the perfect time frame, of experiencing my Soul guiding me toward wholeness, of sensing when conditions are ripe, and of trusting that my Soul does not force me to deal with more than I can handle as I integrate dissociated parts of either myself. My Soul also guides me to integrate the dissociated, bi-directional parts of Self reflected to me from society.  This concept is extremely pertinent and real for me as I do not experience all the degrees of separation I have been conditioned to adhere to.  I believe such bi-directionality, the strange loops Pearce discusses, influences aspects of my nightmare as well as unearths pain I need to feel and process more fully.
My nightmare: it was dark; there were a few evil men and they cut open several children’s’ anuses and sexual organs and proceeded to rape them.  There was a lot of blood.  I heard the children screaming and wailing and saw their eyes and faces in anguish as it took place.  After the rape, one of the men committed suicide with what looked like an old-style shaving razor.  I did nothing to stop this from happening.  I watched in horror then woke in terror.
I woke from this horror, lying in bed in shock; the images swirling and sounds reverberating in my head.  My dog Maggie came into my room, such great timing for my little love to come to me, and needed to be let outside.  I hoped that getting out of bed, walking, and tending to mundane waking-life stuff would shake the nightmare off of me, but it’s one that is here to stay…and I trust for good reasons.  The more I write about it and sit with it, the less identify with it and the less I feel traumatized by it.
So, what is this all about?  How can I decode this schema?  What is my unconscious or the collective unconscious trying to tell me?  What does this mean for me, about my life, about the world, perhaps?  Clearly, after all the healing work I have done, the strengthening and scaffolding occurring in my lifelong learning, has brought me to a place of readiness and stability to deal with whatever is unfolding.  Clearly, I am ready to dive deeper into the abyss and catch the big fish, as Lynch discusses.  While I travel into the unknown, what I know is that I am healthy and have the tools to deal with this.  I’ve walked through different versions of hell and confronted demons before and I can and will do it again if need be.
This jarring nightmare, I believe, is a wake-up call.  I trust my dreams like I trust my art and creative processes.  I know, with a Gno, that my intuition is connected to the sentient and intelligent multiverse, and that important information is unearthing.  While this nightmare was horrific, it is no shock.  The images have so much heartbreaking meaning, represented by sexual assault, which is one of the worst acts of violence and theft that can be done.  The rape gives voice to negligence, abuse and innocence lost, in me, done to me, done by me, done to others and to the Earth, as I and many often stand by watching it all happen in complete shock. 
From another perspective, while I am still questioning what to do with it, and while it hurts so much, the astral event comes as no surprise.  I have been observing my excavation process from the view of The Third, so as the layers peel back, rendered in my mandalas and art-making, I have become ready to deal with another image in my head that this nightmare is linked to.  An image which came about a year ago or so.  It is of a family member handling my baby/toddler self inappropriately and sexually.    
I do not know if this image is a real memory, or is like my dream, a schematic attempt to give expression to the abuse I endured during the first ten years of my life which were in ways just as bad as sexual assault. They caused some of the same repercussions and maladaptive behaviors in my life that often occur in the lives of victims of sexual violence.  I do not have any declarative memories of being violated as a child, not sexually anyway, so I hope that means that sort of abuse never happened.  Sometimes, some people do not get to know the full truth about the harms they have experienced and they must live with the wondering.  I do know that I do not have to know the details of the harms which have happened, to heal and to author a story of resilience and thriving. That said, victimization, remembering, putting the pieces together, and surviving trauma or any kind, are scary waters to navigate.  I trust I will be shown where to go and what to do next.  It will be interesting to see what truths and directions my dreams and other aspects of my knowing point me toward.  I trust that as I travel through this darkness, I am not alone; there is guiding light and it is in me.  I will continue to use the dialectic, scaffolding, and culminating processes of making mandalas as I awaken, learn, and heal. 
Meditation, Shamanism, and Soul Retrieval
Suddenly, as I write this paper, I image Humpty Dumpty, the archetypal figure who was shattered and could never be put back together.  I feel heartened to know, with a Gno, that Humpty’s fate will never be mine…that I am the Great I Am, that I am whole, and I am putting the pieces of my Self and my life back together.  Everything that has happened increases my sense of purpose, ability to serve others, and personal power.  Each of the guided meditations caused me to travel my inner landscapes.  I can see them all in my mind so vividly still and I am sure I will never forget the details of such regression and progression.  The meditations have increased my awareness of the shamanic path and of my, and Spirit’s, ability to heal me by traveling into myself; into my sorrow, anger, anguish, and trauma; into my body’s wisdom; into my love; and into the unknown. 
As I have shared in class and in my final presentation, as well as have documented in several mandalas, I am now quite clear that I inadvertently experienced Soul Retrieval, thanks to you, Heather, and to the art-making and meditations.  Despite all the healing work I have done over the years, I did not have the language to define my experiences quite appropriately.  Gradually, I am developing that language now through this MA program and study of psychology.  For example, I had not realized just how dissociated many parts of me have been because of not being protected and valued as I deserved to be when I was a child and then how that neglect influenced much of my unskillful adult behaviors.  I knew I felt lost, hurting, and isolated with a bird’s eye view at times, but I did not understand these experiences as forms of dissociation.  In a way, certain parts of me, before they even had a chance to develop into the me they maybe could have been, were stolen and scattered to the winds through abuses I endured.  
This quarter, I have experienced a miraculous 52-card pick-up on a very unexpected and soulful level.  During meditation, class discussion, and further contemplation on my own, I was shown that birds, for many years, have been images and medicine carriers that appeared in my art work and music as angels coming to help me gather the pieces of myself so I could be put back together.  In the sacred heart meditation, I heard falcons and saw them hovering and communicating with one another.  Then in Sardello’s heart meditation, archetypes such as The Magician, The Lovers, and The Alchemist appeared and The Alchemist was also a falconer sending his falcons out to chase down my dissociated parts and to bring them home into my heart.  I know that I am and embody all three archetypes.  They are proof of the human spirit doing what it does best, living.
I have felt so much more stable and integrated since that experience.  All three archetypes showed up as necessary angels helping me to reign in and unify all the parts of myself.  The outcome is that I am living my personal fairy-tale, which is the divine, alchemical marriage I have longed for since girl-hood.  It’s not about meeting my prince and him saving me.  God, I love to hate that story…but I wanted it and hoped it was my solution.  Throughout my whole life, I have looked to someone else to provide this sense of unity, love, and belonging for me, but through Soul Retrieval, and the help of my bird and archetypal healers, I can provide that for myself.  I feel confident that this union in me will likely manifest in other areas of my life too, and I feel excited about those possibilities.
On another note, another inner journey, the inner teacher/inner curriculum meditation, caused me to travel into The White and into death/deathlessness.  This journey tool place on a day of intense grief I had tapped into in a therapy session.  In this experience, I felt the sadness in my heart, and the organ itself so palpably, as I journeyed through the facades of Petra, into emerald and ruby studded caves, and soared through cosmic dimensions, as well as all the chakra colors.  I experienced premonitions of my own death caused by heart failure and just felt a lot of anxiety in my body, until I stepped into The White which seemed to be complete nothingness.  I stood in The White and looked around and felt a little sad that nothing was there.  I asked Ray if he was there and he was not.  There was only white all around. 
Interestingly, I am just now connecting that to the heart attack Ray experienced, which was induced by vomiting blood and seizuring.  Once the heart attack occurred he was without oxygen for too long, which caused severe brain damage, which took him into a coma, and eventually caused his body to shut down.  The doctors said all his movements, thus signs of life, were involuntary reflexes, but I know he was present a few times and knew I was with him, because he responded to me during important conversations we had.  Ray and I had a very special connection and I believe some of the trauma I have felt stuck in my body is connected to our separation and to traumas he experienced in his dying process.  During his final days, he was embraced by so much love and healing.  It was both beautiful and horrifying.  When he died he was set free, but I, until recently, have not allowed myself to be set free. 
Because I was unable to attend Ray’s funeral, I was called to design a funeral for myself, so I could move through some of that trauma.  While this experience was different, and involved no birds in my art or meditations, Baby Bird had been an archetype of sweetness in our marriage, and meant a lot to both Ray and me.  We named my bicycle Baby Bird and she showed up sweetly in jokes and many parts of our relationship.  We held her in our hand and tried so hard not to crush her.  Even though we didn’t make it, I think she learned to fly anyway.  I believe Baby Bird’s essence showed up to help Ray’s spirit soar off into the cosmos and is also staying with me, as a harbinger of renewal, helping me gather parts of me that have felt so hurt and scattered during these years of loss and grieving.
Light Figure
Archetypal Psychology in conjunction with Archetypal Psychology have paired miraculously well.  I feel my life and Soul healing as I have engaged in some deep work this quarter and couldn’t be more grateful that both classes occurred at the same time to support my scaffolding process.  The journey began with the past-life regression/journey into the unconscious activity in Consciousness.  In that process, I ventured into a lush forest and experienced myself as a centaur, my top half was a naked woman and bottom half, a horse’s body.  I was so surprised because I noticed while looking down at what should have been me feet and seeing hooves instead.  Through observing the witness aspect of myself experience my consternation in that process, I realized I was not contriving a story and took it very seriously.  It wasn’t a bullshit fantasy I was making up as I went.  I then saw a unicorn drinking water and it looked at me!   Later, I traveled deep into a cave and found a little girl sitting inside by herself.  She was not afraid or sad, she just sat there in her baby-doll dress and she held a golden lasso.  It seemed like she was waiting for me.  She mounted onto my back and we left the forest and entered a vast desert and headed toward the Great Pyramids which were in plain view.  This journey is the first of many saga-like adventures into my psyche I embarked on and the rest are just as vivid and epic. 
The Light Figure and collaborating with David Bowie has brought so much support to me as well.  This partnership surprisingly, magically, and cohesively enhanced the work I did in archetypal class.  Bowie was a master of archetypes himself as he cultivated and explored theatrical personas and stage characters which he fully and unabashedly embodied.  Bowie used these characters to express parts, conscious and unconscious, of himself and to observe and reflect on society and the human condition.  He often explained in interviews that fragility of identity is something to be sought rather than feared and avoided; that it is healthy to change and to flow with life, releasing false illusions of self and dancing with the unknown.  Bowie inspired me so much that his presence and our collaboration allowed me to open psychically and I had a Eureka! experience (Laski; in Pearce; 2012).  One day, from out of the blue, as my Eureka! experienced happen, I saw a vision for my final presentation, which would be a funeral for Ray and our marriage, in perfect detail.  I embodied Bowie’s audacious spirit and creativity, channeled and connected to Ray as best as I could, and because of this sacred psychodramatic space and event, I was able to deeply mourn my losses in a productive and useful ways.  I also experienced degrees of closure while being held and witnessed by my peers.  That act has allowed me the somatic experience of journeying into the trauma and grief of losing Ray, of giving my pain opportunities for expression, and of moving some of the stuck trauma out of my heart-mind-body.  Like Bowie, by using theatrics and slipping into a character, I have accessed profound creativity and fortitude by inducing, through a death ritual, a birth and shift allowing me to let go of an old identity so I may reinvent a new Self.        
Character, Destiny, and Learning
            These experiences: mandala-making; meditation and journeys into the realms of the unconscious; dreams and nightmares; deaths and births; collaboration with angels, spirit guides, and healing archetypes; and confrontation of demons, have coalesced as a dialectic, Golden Triangle of promise and healing.  In addition, I have felt so empowered by Rilke’s words regarding living in the questions so that perhaps one day, I may live into the answers.  The culmination of all this deep, intentional work is doing just that for me.  I feel I am living into the answers, into my unique and beautiful answers, yet the journey also feels like it has just begun, which produces more questions and mysteries to lean into.  My guess is that such is life.  Surrendering into and accepting uncertainty is the hero’s and the tender warrior’s path of the heart and that is my journey.   

            At this point in graduate school, I feel especially motivated to use these powerful experiences and realizations to actualize myself as the change I wish to see in the world, via my work as an art therapist, advocate, and educator.  My projects, focus of study, and personal healing have shown me how called I feel to use the arts, which include visual, musical and performative, as well as somatic styles of therapy, which include spontaneous and expressive movement, dance and yoga, in my practice.  Having traveled my own path of healing and delving into my own depths and transformation feels affirming and I feel I can support and walk with others as they bravely delve into and heal themselves.  This is a great honor and responsibility that I look forward to and take very seriously.  As hard as it can be for me to stay positive or remain hopeful in a world and human condition with as many problems and as much pain as ours, I will, however, continue to place my faith in good works and in endeavors which heal the planet, one gorgeous human at a time.  And let it begin with me.

Um...what are we doing?

Okay, here goes... (real quick because I have a paper to knock out)

Unconscious/collective unconscious/whatever...why after an awesome day yesterday: final presentation, goal setting, health/fitness/sunshine, friends and community, personal greatness and you have the scariest, worst nightmare ever?

I saw...

darkness...evil men cutting several children (seemed like girls and boys because it wasn't gender specific) open (anus and sexual organs)...then raping them..

I heard...

the children screaming and sobbing...then afterward, one of the men committed suicide (using a sharp blade; seemed like on old style shaving razor)

I saw...their sad eyes and faces in anguish as they wailed.

I woke up terrified...laying in my bed unable to get the images and sounds out of my head.

What am I to do with this?  What has it come to teach me?  What does this mean for and about me, if anything?  What does it mean?  Whatever it is, I'm a warrior and I am going to take this on and I am going to win! That said, perhaps the dark night continues...such a relentless motherfucker!

I've walked through different versions of hell and confronted the demons before and I'll do it again.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Summer Goals...

  • rest and relaxation
  • volunteer at therapeutic horse riding center and begin riding lessons 
  • lot's of outdoors activities: swimming, hiking, day-trips, camping, star-gazing, sunshine... 
  • FUN!!!
  • date (it's time) 
  • dance (dates with dancing involved) 
  • yoga
  • paint and draw/sketch in nature
  • play music/guitar
  • focus on health and exercise 
  • work full-time/save money for the winter and pay bills
  • chip away at GA hours 
  • read and study for pleasure  
Finished part one of my MA in art therapy and have been working so hard!  I feel pleased and see my hard work panning out and I'm so glad to have a little freedom to enjoy.

It's gonna be an awesome summer! I'm so excited!!!

Some days I'm over it...and some days I'm in love with it.

Today, I'm in love!!!

I'm doing some heavy lifting in my off-the-mat-yoga practice, so to speak, so I'm surrendering and softening into the discomfort, pain, difficulty, and unknown, and loving the outcomes...besides when I don't.  It's not easy being a tender warrior/wounded healer, but I and the communities I will and do work with are worth the challenge!

Now, where is my kiss from my bown-eyed man for my reward?  Love his sweetness and soft beard on my cheek.  Ooh la la...sigh...

Thursday, June 8, 2017

fried and fed up

It's been a productive and positive quarter in many ways, much less arduous than last quarter, but no matter what, SWC has SO much bullshit, SO many egos and "spiritual" crap, outdated research, and crappy teaching at times, to sift through, deal with, and sit with....

Two more classes, a ten page paper, one final presentation, the core curriculum exam, and a GA meeting discussing summer work I have to do to chip away at hours...ugh...

Sometimes I hate school...I'm over it.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

feedback from instructor

  • she reflected back that she had a sense that I am island-like...that didn't feel very good to hear, even if I said I'm island-like first
  • that while I am highly capable of being there and giving to others, I am island-like in being able to receive 
  • she said she felt I wouldn't let her in, again, island-like...and I'm wondering, do other students confide in teachers and seek a lot of help/guidance/attention?  I didn't know I needed to do that.
  • I come across like, "I got this," "I can do it by myself," "I can forge my own way..."
  • and I admit that I have had trouble being held, afraid I'll get dropped, so she's not wrong but I don't see how that's been so relevant in class, as I have participated 100% 
  • while I learned a lot, I also feel kind of analyzed and judged, and it doesn't feel good, even though she had "positive" feedback too...feels a little yucky and I wonder what that's about
  • also, I was hoping she would comment on my work more.  she offered to meet with us and give feedback, so I thought she might say more about my work, my writing, the skills I presented in class, and have more direction for the professional directions I'm's where I probably got the type of feedback I got because she's really a therapist and not trained to teach...big differences. I and other students run into this all the time at my's annoying...good teaching is an art. just because someone is knowledgeable in a field does not mean they can be good teachers. 
  • while I like her, there were times I felt singled out, bored, and falling asleep in her class...I forgot about that stuff and should have included that in my evaluation of her and her class. oh's so much easier just to focus on what worked well...what worked well, what worked the best, is my hard work and willingness to do deep work
  • that therapists aren't just giving to clients, they have to be feeling with, really taking in and receiving what clients are sharing...that makes sense and I am on track with learning empathic attunement and understand the the therapeutic alliance is healing because clients feel felt
  • I also feel like once again, she and other people, assess me when they don't know me.  That was our first time to talk and I asked her for feedback because I trust and admire her and think her skills are pretty on point, but even then, I still feel that he assessments are premature.  I share a lot in my papers but I don't didn't feel right...I'll pay attention to that flag, follow it, and explore it.  She isn't totally wrong, I just really dislike being sized up so early on and I try really hard not to do that to other people.  You can't know someone from limited interaction in a group/class environment, no one-on-one talking, and just from reading one page reflection papers.  Her feedback kind of hurts my feelings.  I feel judged.  I also felt like she was changing her assessment as we talked, seeing I'm much more available, connected, and open than she thought...too late, the judgments were already laid out.  I feel like this has been going on my whole's annoying to experience feeling misunderstood and defined, until others open up themselves to give me a truly fair assessment.
  • I love collaborating and hearing from others, but I have to sit with the feedback they share...and from a teacher, it's more grading...the one-wayness, like the therapeutic alliance too, is annoying, but I understand why the dynamics are the way they are, but getting graded by or assessed by someone who probably has their own shit feels weird and off-putting
  • I'm learning to take it in, use what is helpful, look at my flaws with compassion, and continue on the healing journey  
  • also, instructor disclosed two interesting facts which give clues about her thinking and assessment of me:  1) the drawer where student's papers are stashed, along with any other message the school or other students might leave is where this teacher puts our papers after she's graded them.  Well, I always forget to check my she mentioned that today with wonderment.  I'm guessing she might have thought I don't value her opinion of my work since I don't retrieve my stuff.  That's not the case at all!  I always want to see how instructors respond, even if I don't love to be graded. 2) apparently someone gave pretty harsh feedback on their mid-term evaluations, and she thought it was me and pointed it out today in our conversation as if it were true...and I let her know it wasn't me, that I've had overall a pretty good experience with this class...then she back peddled and said she thought I had so she's wondering why she thought it was, okay...whatever...
  • again, something I've learned a lot at this school, and in school in general, is what NOT to do...very valuable info although it sucks learning in the process 

Consciousness 2: Final Paper

            David Robert Jones, also known as David Bowie, was born January, 8th, 1947 in Brixton, South London, and left his body January, 10th, 2016 in New York, NY.  Although born into a working-class family with several members deeply affected by mental illness, and during a post-war period in England, Bowie’s artistic and musical talents, aspirations, and dedication to his crafts would cause him to soar through a vibrant professional, albeit spiritual, life extending for five decades.  Bowie surprised the world once again when he died of cancer, which he kept private for years, and his passing occurred just two days after releasing his final album, Blackstar.  Bowie lived and died as an artist exploring the realms of life and depths of the psyche/soul.  
        Many of his fans, including me, believe he changed the world!  Bowie’s career navigated and blurred the lines between singer, songwriter, producer, actor, visual artist, and in my opinion, humanitarian.  He is known for his stagecraft, musical story-telling genre originally inspired by 1950’s Black American Rock and Roll, and he created audacious theatrical personas like Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom, Alladin Sane, and the Thin White Duke.  Bowie’s characters and performances were influenced by Japanese Kabuki; humankind’s missions to outer space; psychology, psychosis, and spirituality; traveling the world; various cultural traditions and archetypes; gender and identity fluidity; exploration of sexuality; art and literature; contemporary artists like Andy Warhol; and much more.  Furthermore, Bowie considered himself to be an apolitical social observer witnessing the world and humanity changing over time.  He used his art to document and comment on historic, current, and future events as well as patterns and constructs within the human condition.
            While I have been a Bowie fan for many years, I have been surprised at how working with him as my Light Figure has touched me so profoundly and has transformed my consciousness in ways my heart has longed for.  I feel like my openness to channel Bowie allowed his spirit to swoop in like an angel and help me pick up and place certain pieces of myself back together.  I also appreciate that the significance of his presence, preciousness, and meaning to me, is also a mirror of the parts of myself that are resilient, creative healers capable of and primed to use and sculpt pain in productive, skillful, and beautiful ways.  The Light Figure project in conjunction with Archetypal Psychology, mandala-making, meditation, unplanned soul-retrieval, shamanism, synchronicities, and much of the reading in both classes, has literally baptized and healed me.  I feel like a new version of myself; that is the best way I can describe it.  The Heart-Mind Matrix (Pearce; 2010) and Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness (Sardello; 2008) describe preparing one’s self for spiritual openness or entering Silence as an evolutionary and spiritual falling-forward, where the practitioner steps out in faith trusting that a ground will materialize before and underneath them.  They also describe such direct experience with trusting Spirit and the unknown as clearing and allowing of one’s self to be moved or breathed into by Spirit.  This can also be interpreted as a Eureka! experience, unconflicted behavior, living in constant astonishment, and personal authenticity and genius.  
Well, I completely relate to these ideas and language and feel so supported and validated by the living literature taking me deeper into gnosis!  In this instance, the synergistic wholeness of me and my work this quarter far exceeds the sum of all the parts or processes I have experienced.  In a way, my growth feels magical, but on the other hand, there is also a solid feeling of groundedness within a brave, new reality culminating as a sense of integrated Self and wholeness.  Perhaps magic for me is becoming more essential, embodied, real, and awe-inspiring in a centered felt-sense, and less about fantasy and story.  Hence, my experience with feeling so rooted and stable, even as I navigate rough, stormy, and strange inner and outer landscapes.  I believe I have come to this point on my healing journey because I am ready.  The conditions are ripe.  I have full faith in my psyche/Soul’s guidance to take me where I need to go in the appropriate timing and to not give me more than I can handle.  Consequently, I couldn’t be more happy and grateful because my life has been much harder than I was able to know or express.  What humans live and die through amazes me!  The tender warrior in me has battled many dark forces, and I am not only surviving, but I am thriving too!
Being shown that Bowie is my Light Figure happened in an interesting, non-linear way.  I feel that I chose him and he chose me too.  Essentially, this project has been a collaborative, artistic endeavor, auspicious in every way.
Bowie died less than one month after Ray, which was a time of intense mourning for me and for a larger collective.  Ray, like Bowie, is/was musically talented and was a creative, audacious innovator.  The timeliness of both their passing was both heartbreaking and synchronistic.  I started listening to Bowie’s music a lot, feeling his spirit and creativity and connecting that with the replaying of my life with and loss of Ray, and I set out to learn more about Bowie’s life beyond his work too.  It is hard to explain, but this time and space with Bowie and Ray felt so alive, sensitive, surreal, painful, exquisite, and contemplative.  I felt like I could dive into and swim in my grief; it has been so deep and palpable.  Thus far, my journey has been to not hide, to stay present, and to feel everything, and I have, little by little.   Working with Bowie and Ray on this project has further concretized parts of my knowing and connections with Spirit.  Death is an interesting phenomenon, one I believe is not the end, but is the beginning and or rite of passage into a world of new relationships and dialogues for both the deceased and the living.  If anything, this project has taught me how thin, perhaps nonexistent, the veil between worlds and planes of consciousness are.  The concept of Oneness is really evolving for me.
As I researched Bowie and learned more about why he was so deeply loved by his fans, many personal accounts state that fans felt individually seen, understood, and loved by Bowie.  His music and theatrics seemed to single you out and talk to you.  While much of Bowie’s work explores concepts like subjective isolation, his work also seemed to travel beyond the beyond, landing in the fan’s personal experience with the music, letting fans know they are not alone in this existential experience of being a weird and freaky, vulnerable, perhaps hurting, human on planet Earth.  I totally relate to this view on his work, have felt him reaching out to share and hold the pain of the human condition with me, and have felt so surprised by the level of communion Bowie and I share.  Bowie changed the world and rock and roll, and inspired so many people because he was willing to be unabashed, strange, fluid, flawed, and fragile in front of others.  I feel so grateful for his spiritual and energetic generosity and for making spaces to be more fully human, engaged in the nuances and complexities. 
Because of this project, I aspire to be more brave, bold, vibrant, sensual, healthy, transformational, powerful, unabashed, and unapologetic in all areas of my life.  I know I am a unique individual with purpose, have important services to offer myself and the world, am the flower of my ancestral lineage and sacred fortress for my familial mandala, and I am clearing and cleansing myself so that Spirit can breathe into and move me as it deems necessary.  This is warrior work and I’m up for it!  My work is to dive into myself, catch the big fish of the unconscious, like Lynch describes, and to allow my unique light to shine.  That, I know, is part of my job here on planet Earth and I take that responsibility very seriously.  Otherwise, what else is there to do?  I also understand that my psyche/Soul guided me to do this work with Bowie because the qualities I love about him are qualities I see and love in me.  My work is to cultivate those qualities and be the best, most brilliant me I can be!  Know thy self.
Bowie knew himself:
“How many times does an angel fall?  How many people lie instead of talking tall?  He trod on sacred ground, he cried aloud into the crowd (I'm a black star, I'm a black star, I'm not a gangster).  I can't answer why (I'm a black star).  Just go with me (I'm not a film star).  I'm a take you home (I'm a black star).  Take your passport and shoes (I'm not a pop-star).  And your sedatives, boo (I'm a black star).  You're the flash in the pan (I'm not a marvel star).  I'm the great I am (I'm a black star).  I'm a black star, way up, on money, I've got game.  I see right, so wide, so open-hearted pain.  I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes (I'm a black star, I'm a black star)…” 
            One of the things I love about Bowie is that he was and was not a mensch.  He was so eloquently human, dark, flawed, was confrontational and defiant, yet he and his light empowered and lifted others up.  Interesting, because these are qualities I really loved in Ray.  However, later Bowie was completely clean and sober and was a full-on philanthropist raising awareness and funds for humanitarian projects.  Such transformation I always wanted for Ray, but his demons were too strong.  I co-dependently longed for Ray to sober up and utilize his talents for the greater good, then I started awakening to the fact that I needed to focus on doing that myself. 
As far as Bowie is concerned, for example, just through being himself and making his art, his music is part of the driving spirit which eventually dismantled the Berlin Wall.  Again, his humanism and expression reached out to people, helped people retrieve themselves and their souls, I believe, and they felt he was talking to and singing for them.  Music is that powerful!  And so much that Germany has a reality consensus that his music helped to liberate their nation with the song Heroes, which was about lovers separated by the Wall.  Art and music have always been and always will be revolutionary forces generating truth and liberation movements.  Now, Bowie never intended on making such waves…but what he did do was allow the Spirit and Muse to use him and move through him.  “Never play to the gallery.  Never work for other people.  Always remember that the initial reason you started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you co-exist with the rest of society.  I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations and they generally produce their worst work when they do that.”  This explains why Bowie is a mensch in his own rite…and I adore him and the artistic bravery he inspires in me.
Speaking of adoration, my experience with intimacy has evolved in exciting ways, not blatantly, per se, in the spawning of relationships.  Although, actually, that has happened!  I feel a richer connection and intimacy with myself, with life, and with others.  This intimacy does feel very romantic, very pure and kind, very trusting, connected, available and present…it’s lovely.  It feels like me and what I am capable of.  In the past, I have been what Tatkin refers to as an Island-type, in his book Wired for Love (2010).  He codified personality types which are attachment-style-based.  Basically, there are Islands, Waves, and Anchors.  I came by the island-like tendencies and behaviors honestly through different harms I experienced, and there are even some interesting strengths, creative/artist temperaments and tendencies I developed from being island-like.  Now that I am pulling through my dark night, it’s all coming out in the wash and I am learning to be an Anchor. 

One big, huge, realization I have learned through the Light Figure project, and from other exercises and materials covered, the Drama Triangle specifically, is that I have been more trapped in the patterns of the Victim or Orphan archetype (Pearson; 1998) than I was aware of.  After acting out The Funeral for my final presentation, I was hit with an aha! that I have been possessed with a demonic sense of entitlement that keeps me ruminating in victimhood, sorrow, regret, feelings of unfairness, preoccupation with rejection and abandonment, and more.  As soon as the aha! hit, I felt enlightened with healing, insight, energy, joi de vivre, spaciousness and freedom!  I felt like I was a Super Mario Brothers character who just ate the magic mushroom, gained a new life, and saved the Princess!  Clearly, awareness around entitlement issues, like, ‘how dare the Multiverse for allowing bad things to happen to me,’ especially when I have only experienced a touch of the miseries others live with, will be helpful to me in many ways.  Harnessing and transforming this attitude can help me be happier and healthier and can help me develop more intimacy and trust in personal relationships.  As a therapist, my awareness will help me better support clients by being a present, authentic, compassionate witness, available to walk with them on their healing journey.  
In conclusion, I must speak directly to my friend, angel, inspiration, and Light Figure, David Bowie, who I think is a version of or conduit for Ray, or who I need Ray to be, acting in my Life.  Thank you (both) for all you have done for me as I heal and blossom in our collaboration.  Thank you for being such audacious, defiant, brilliant, glamorous, loving, eternal light beam soaring through the Cosmos!  Thank you for being black stars and for helping me to be the star that I am too!  I love and honor you!  My commitment is to use this energy to follow my dreams, live to my highest potential, and be of loving, generous service as a therapist, friend, community member, and artist.  I still need you, so please stick with and lucidly dream with me—we’ll go places and do magical things together!  It's going to be awesome! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 10 Archetypal Reflection

            As I mentioned in my last reflection, I love The Heart Mind Matrix now!  I can totally relate to the evolutionary process of becoming ready to advance to the next level of consciousness Pearce discusses when referencing Darwin’s work.  It has taken ten weeks of “falling forward” and stepping out with faith that a ground of some sort will materialize before me and beneath me, and it has and is.  I am experiencing spiritual evolution in many areas of my life and it’s awe inspiring, humbling, affirming, and exciting!  There are so many points I read about that I’d love and need to respond to, and I’m excited to re-read this book and see what happens as I cultivate a better understanding for the holistic education on so many topics, all which are connected. I’m also excited that Pearce mentions Sardello’s Silence so much.  His referencing Sardello really helps me to complete or travel full-circle, a mandala, for this class, as Silence has been and will continue to be extremely helpful for me.
            “…if the Spirit says move, and we move there and then, the movement of Spirit in our life “makes all things new moment by moment.” We then live in a state of “constant astonishment,”….” (Pearce; pg. 163)  One next step I feel Spirit moving me to take is to read Castaneda’s shamanistic book on Don Juan!  Other than that, this statement and practice of living and acting with “unconflicted behavior” are exactly the style of living I seek to abide by.  It is a practice of willingness and courage, and I just love living with such presence and bravery!  The more I do it, the more I know it suits me, especially in my art-making and how I feel called to use certain practices in my work as a therapist.  When I practice Silence and surrender to the “soft-will” of the heart, living in such inspiring and aspiring integrity is easy!  I feel called to do and say things, to go places, to meet certain people, and I am affirmed that listening to this intuition is the only way for me to live. 
The affirmations come to me in all kinds of signs, signals, and through intimate dialogue with life.  The more I live in such integrity and alignment, the more the perpetuating strange-loop, mirroring field-effects occur, and the more I hear the callings and follow the guidance given me.  It feels magical, and I trust my felt-senses very much, so I believe in the magic.  In other words, I feel supported by a caring, sentient Multiverse and benefit from, as well as contribute to, an evolving consensus reality that also supports me and my healing and growth as well as the healing and growth of others.  This train of ideas is really helpful for me as I negotiate the complexities of how these dynamics work within grief, loss, historic trauma, oppression and other challenging/dark parts of the human condition.  This is just another full-circle or mandala indicating that I’m evolving on the right track. 
I just want to add that I have so many feelings, thoughts, and experiences regarding Pearce’s discussions on lucid dreaming, the possibility of the continued heart-mind even after death, traveling through demonic realms after dying, ability to connect with loved ones who have passed, and more.  This book is so validating to me and what I have been through and know.  It’s really blowing me away and like Silence is giving me a leg to stand on, language, and steps I can take in the future to continue my learning processes. 

Like how Tibetan monks chant, pray, guide the spirit of their loved one through the realms of the dead, I did that with my loved one as he was transitioning.  Although I was not with him when he left his body, it was such a powerful experience nonetheless, for him and for me.  I felt it was the last, perhaps not the last, especially when considering some of Pearce’s discussions, deeply loving way I could be there for Ray as a Soul partner.  It took the responsibilities of loving him, of friendship, and of being his wife to another level.  I learned a lot!  Sharing such an intimate experience with a dying/birthing person was really beautiful.  Supposedly he was brain dead and unable to connect with those of us that were sitting with him, but I experienced otherwise many times.  I know he knew I was with him at certain points and we did some really big, healing work together.  
Having had that time with Ray helps me to forgive and know that all is well.  Designing a funeral for him and us was powerful too!  Little by little I am able to let go of the past and fearlessly open up to the vastness of possibilities that life wants to offer me.  I know I am not meant to live in grief and that relationships continue to evolve even preceding death.  I know this because Ray visits me sometimes and my knowing of his presence is a profound felt-sense knowing.  He helps me in my personal healing work, joking with me and poping up humorously in interesting ways in the physical world and in my thoughts/dialogue with life.  We meet in dreams too…really beautiful dreams, usually.  I know that he is alive and happy.  This is a fresh new start for him and for me too.  I’m just learning to trust what I know and to move forward.  It’s all still so surreal…but I’m learning more and more to live in the soft-will of my faith in love and allowing the Spirit to move me however it needs or wants me to move.    

Note to Self:

if I watch, read, or listen to David Bowie material I get to dream about him! Ooh la la!!! It was wonderful...Oh, I love him (an no disrespect to the Goddess Iman because it wasn't a sexy dream)!  I feel like I know him for real now though...dreams are so wild!  I worked with him AND we were good friends and he's such a kind, deeply thoughtful, creative and honorable man.  The dream sort of copied the documentary I watched last night by saying that few really got close to Bowie, that he was very private, and in my dream he and I were friends.  He let me in to his heart as I let him into mine!  It was a lucid wonderland of Laura and Bowie!!!!  We danced and hugged too!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Learning to curb "the Brat"

Week 9 Reflection

                Allow me to preface with a brief and humble statement of realization about myself as a learner regarding Pearce’s Heart-Mind Matrix.  This quarter particularly, I have noticed students, and at times myself, picking apart the literature, getting annoyed with non-linear and frequently non-evidence-based writing styles, and some students refusing to even read the book.  Thankfully, I have remained open enough, mining for the treasures I wish to find, but I have also given blistering reviews of some books.  That especially goes for The Heart-Mind Matrix and not because I am closed off to the intelligence of the heart but because I just had a hard time with his language and delivery, which is fair enough...or maybe because I was just having a hard time in general.  That said, I have noticed that when I am learning new ideas, and this doesn’t always happen, I notice that I can get frustrated and analytical.  I can come up with reasons to build a case against something and then refrain from taking it as seriously as I perhaps I should. 
Perhaps this is a coping or defense mechanism and I’m being a brat?  Maybe I just did not fully understand the points Pearce discusses?  Maybe I was reading when my head was tired and full?  And, maybe I did not understand because I wasn’t ready to, because my psyche wasn’t quite ripe for the conditions of cultivating and contemplating some of the topics he covers?  Maybe there is a reason for that too?  I feel humbled—not humiliated—and I feel compassion for myself as a learner doing the best I can with the tools I have.  I am learning that timing, and not human linear time frames, is everything.  There is an intelligent cadence driving my journey and my cosmic dance, and that intelligence isn’t all mine; that I trust.  So, today when I picked up Heart-Mind Matrix, it now makes profound sense and I love it and feel inspired to reflect on and respond to many ideas shared.  I am also making the commitment to re-read the books which have challenged me in one way or another.  I will view the flags of annoyance as indicators that something special is happening in me, maybe even possibly transforming my consciousness, and I will pay even closer attention to what arises so I don’t miss important information.  Obviously, I can only do that to the extent that I am able to, but my commitment is to notice the nuances and to do my best to lean into the challenges, not make excuses to avoid them. 
Now onto my actual journal where I will attempt to weave a few points from the reading together.
                “And here we arrive at a paradox: for mind-as-emergent to “escape” and move beyond these ancient survival instincts, it must fully accept and embrace the concept of death itself (Pearce; 2010; pg. 129).”  Pearce further explains that mind emerging as an extraction out of abstractions, allows mind to move beyond “all known physical functions and their restrictions.  This, of logical necessity, includes the phenomenon of death…(pg. 129-130).” 
                So, where am I going with this?  Um, well…
                Recently, a few weeks ago I experienced what Laski codified as the Eureka! experience (Pearce, 2010).  In the past I have referred to these experiences as aha! moments, but I did not know the phases in which these insights or experiences develop, or how the mind is operating, or isn’t in this case, when Eureka! experiences take place.  The Light Figure project had been percolating in my heart/head since before I began my studies at SWC and during the time I was researching the school and deciding whether I wanted to attend.  As Consciousness 2 approached, ideas percolated and I scanned lists of awesome, inspiring deceased humans in my mind.  I eventually selected David Bowie, which happened in an auspicious way where I too felt selected by him, but then I would need to also design a final presentation where I channeled the spirit of Bowie, a task which at first felt daunting.  I felt stumped as I thought and thought and thought about what I ought to do and what would be cool and authentic.  Then I gave up and let it go completely.  One day, I don’t remember what was going on, which makes sense because Eureka! experiences occur when the intellect is turned off, and the perfect presentation was shown in vibrant detail to me.  I experienced my insight and ideas as divine providence gifted me by Bowie and perhaps my late husband Ray because the ideas didn’t come from me, or did they.  Either way, I was shown that my presentation would be a funeral because I had not been able to attend Ray’s actual funeral.  Okay…
                Fast-forwarding, I was shown the steps to organize and perform the funeral to a T.  I gathered my supplies, mapped it out to a degree, translated the vision into actual plans of action, which incorporated miming; face-paint; an alter ceremony; the scattering of ashes; the entire performance non-verbal and done in silence; identity fluidity represented through costume change and gesturing; and then transforming into my Bowie glam phase and putting on a show by singing a Bowie and an original song while playing guitar.  I was even shown the importance of documenting the presentation so I can look at it later for learning and healing purposes, so a friend videoed my presentation.  I would have never come up with all of that!  These ideas seemed to come from out of the electric blue, and they did, perhaps like Mozart’s creations came from the fields of potential and reception which he tapped into and which Pearce discusses.  Clearly, I’m no Mozart, but this collaboration with Bowie and the ways this art piece came together, and the healing it has brought me, is an indicator of how future experientials with art and healing can take place in me and in clients.  I know that my job is to trust the process, to not over think ideas, and to open myself up to cosmic fields of inspiration and aspiration. 
                In conclusion, it’s just interesting to me that it was in a death ceremony that I have experienced so much magic and freedom.  My Soul knew that it needed ritual and closure and so it guided me to carrying it out in the perfect way.  My work touched my audience deeply too, which begs the question of whether my Soul and the Souls of my colleagues were in cahoots, setting up an exorcism or something?  While I was given, and gave myself, the opportunity to fully mourn in the safety of community, and through fully engaging my unconscious and creative impulses, I ended up also attending my own funeral, which was an unexpected, unplanned outcome in this project.  As a result—and this was just last weekend—I am, or my mind is rather, escaping certain abstractions and restrictions as Pearce discusses. 
For example, I am now aware of the sense of entitlement I felt which caused me to further feel that I did not deserve to experience heartbreak and all the loss, challenges, abuse, etcetera, which have come my way in my life time.  Because of my awareness of these feelings of entitlement and coming to terms with how toxic they are, I learned that I could change my perspective and that’s exactly what I have done.  More than ever, I see my heartache and challenges as gifts that I needed to grow and heal, and/or to help others on their journeys.  I believe these events had to happen.  Now I feel more whole and I don’t feel like an abandoned victim anymore, which is huge and so empowering!  I also no longer believe that Ray’s death, or our marriage ending, is a symbol of a battle lost or as a failure.  Yes, it’s true that he died because he lived hard and had been in a lot of pain for a very long time.  Yes, our marriage could not withstand the demonic complexities that accompany addiction, but we aren’t losers just because there wasn’t a happy ending.  We ended and he died because that had to happen for us to grow and heal.  Ray died because it was time for his spirit to move on to the next phase, which means he has a fresh new start and wins the battle.  His death was not a punishment or indicator of failure.  Because of the healing that happened to me in the funeral, I know that things are not always as they seem and death isn’t the end. 
Designing and conducting the funeral gave me firsthand experience with the magic of gestalt and psychodrama and it has surprisingly opened my psyche up to the path of shamanism, which feels extremely pertinent to me as I experience the thin veil between various levels of reality and consciousness.  Shamanism is also teaching me how to get to the energy behind illness, life challenges, conflict, death, loss of all kinds, and to learn to use that energy to heal myself and to support others on their healing journeys.  Shamanism isn’t a path of transcendence and bliss, as life is wrought with aging, sickness, conflict, and death.  Shamanism is a path of warriors, hunters, and seers willing to go straight into the pain, into the mouth of the wolf, and into the belly of the whale.  I may not have been able to hear the calling to the shamanistic path if it weren’t for all I have been through and for my willingness to face my relentless dark night over the years.  My experiences primed me and transformed me into fertile ground, ripe for precious, life affirming conditions and work opportunities, which I would never have suspected, at least not to such a profound degree.  My new awareness could not have come if it weren’t for the harms (pleasures and accomplishments too) which I have experienced, the dissolution of our marriage, Ray’s death, the light figure project, the funeral, and in experiencing certain parts of myself dying too.

Finally, bringing this reflection to full circle, I have also noticed that I am picking up reading material that has felt off-putting for one reason or another, and am getting so much out of the material now.  The funeral or my ceremonial death of personal history and labels which do not serve me have caused me to advance to a new level of seeing, knowing, and gnosis.  I feel that the funeral, in conjunction with the powerful meditations, mandalas, and soul retrieval in this class, catapulted me into a new paradigm.  I encounter books that piss me off and I realize it is probably just a delayed trauma response or is just me being a brat because learning and growing are hard.  I’m excited to see what will happen next as I learn to harness these energies and understandings further.  I’m also excited to know that I can re-read material that has triggered my defenses and can mine for more treasures.  I feel like such a grownup!  

Art and Soul/Archetypal Psych

"Art and Soul' Howard McConeghey- founder of Archetypal Art Therapy

FEATS (Formal Elements of Art Therapy)

James Hillman, founder of Archetypal Psychology

MicNiff's work
Jung and Shamanism 
The Ally 

Black Lives Matter, Healing, and Spirituality

Hey Friends, 

RE: the engaging class conversation from two weeks ago involving spiritual/quantum physics concepts such as "law of attraction", spiritual bypassing, and concepts of oppression/historic trauma. A friend in another class shared this podcast and I wanted to pass it on. It's about the spiritual movement which the Black Lives Matter Movement indeed is.