Archive for the ‘soulcraft’ Category


An early graduation present!

December 19, 2010

So in the midst of all the craziness of our lives… my husband was invited to San Francisco to give a talk. I was so worried it would interfere with my graduation… but everyone was accommodating. Thank you!

You see the last time I “walked” for one of my degrees was 1976!

I now have a BS, MS, MA and EdS and it is for this degree that I was willing to participate in a public ritual – not of my design!

And it was wonderful! Both the trip before and the experience of being hooded for this accomplishment.

Feeling so very grateful as we wax towards the winter solstice!



July 26, 2008

“I believe we each carry true wildness, and, thanks to that wildness, our lives need not be determined by our biological inheritance or our prior experience. Perhaps our lives are most creative and fulfilling when we have accessed and embodied that wildness, our deepest individual potentials, the destinies for which we were born… our souls.”

Bill Plotkin – Nature and the Human Soul

Many of you who visit here are familiar with the archetype of the wild woman as described by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women who run with the Wolves. Recently I met a young woman who was trying to read the book and she couldn’t “get into it…” When I first encountered the book – I was unable to find a way to hear her at first – and then I got the CD version and listened to her mesmerizing voice – over and over she told the stories of La Loba – and I was able to activate the archetype through the use of sound.

Today someone sent me a recording of a trance session. There is the sound of the drum and then the sound of two women talking over each other. The effect is powerful – and after a minute or so, I gave up conscious listening and just let the sensation enter my consciousness and activate my unconscious.

I supposed I am musing about wildness and sensation today because of the four ways of knowing – imagery, thinking, and feeling, sensing is my least developed function.



May 26, 2008

Psychoanalysis – analysis of the Psyche.

Psychosynthesis – synthesis of the Psyche.

One of the more common search strings that people enter and arrive here is “Loyal Soldier.” I learned of the LS from Bill Plotkin and Dianne Timberlake when I participated in the Sweet Darkness Intensive with the Animas Valley Institute. Of all the courses, workshops, intensives, classes etc. that one continues to reverberate in my psyche. During that time I was introduced to the work of Angeles Arrien and David Richo among others. Although I had heard of Jean Houston, it was here that I learned to practice becoming my larger story. Arriving at the intensive, I already had a deep relationship with the soul poets – Rilke, Rumi, Oliver, Whyte, Wagoner. Being with a community of seekers allowed me to share those emerging parts of myself that I had yet to claim. I came away with the seeds of a four direction practice that I continue to use. AND I came away with a fascination for psychosynthesis – I just didn’t know what it was yet.

A few weeks ago I came across the work of Richard Schwartz in Internal Family Systems. There was an immediate zing! of recognition. Reading his work I felt myself coming home to myself. He speaks my language. As I began to gather more information – I read that his roots are entwined in Jung and Psychosynthesis! No wonder I felt so at home.

Salmon boy once teased me and said “We are all multiple personalities” when I was trying to work something through with various subpersonalities. In IFS – Schwartz refers to these as parts. There is a part of me that wants to do X and a part of me that is afraid of X and the crux of the work is to disidentify with the parts to make room for the Self. The Self is that wise part of us that acts in our best interests – not in the interest of our ego – even if it is a healthy, differentiated, individuated ego!

This is the same Self that speaks in dreamwork – the part of us that always comes in service to our mending.

In IFS, subpersonalities can be managers, firefighters, or exiles. Just the words chosen evoke archetypal imagery for me. There are parts of me that manage anxiety, rush in during emergencies, and parts of myself that are cutoff and languishing in the shadows – exiles whose energies are not available to me – exiles that keep my manager parts and firefighting parts really busy!

One of the things that appeals to me about the psychosynthesis model is the incorporation of a gratitude practice. Instead of exterminating, killing off, disowning, or maiming the parts of ourselves that cause us interpersonal difficulties or intrapsychic pain, we befriend them. We ask what they need from us. We thank them for protecting us – that is what a Loyal Soldier does – protects us.

The Loyal Soldier is the internal part of ourselves that developed at a young age to protect us from the vicissitudes of an uncertain world where our literal lives depended on us figuring out how to conform. It is such an ancient part of our being and so ingrained and entrenched, that it often becomes invisible to us – we think it is “just who we are.” And it is! It is a part of who we are – and there are other parts. AND this part of us needs our gratitude AND this part of us needs our adult Self to help it grow up and learn to be of service to us in a different way – a way more appropriate to our lives as nurturing parents or generative adults or wild indigenous explorers.

There are no shortcuts! There is no Bluebeard in the psyche that can be exterminated and then we are free! Gratitude practice takes patience and persistence and devotion and practice, practice, practice. Did I mention this is a practice?

Psychosynthesis is one of many paths to Self and it is path that resonates and reverberates with my worldview – we speak the same language and use the same shortcuts for ideas and ways of being.

What path calls you to devote yourself to a daily practice?
PS Although I first heard of the Loyal Soldier subpersonality from Dianne and Bill – I believe that Molly Young Brown was the first to use the story of the actual soldier to create the energy of the subpersonality. Does anyone have different knowledge?


Romancing my shadows

April 15, 2008

Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.

Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

Rainier Maria Rilke

As I prepare to go see the Baba Yaga later this spring, I have been looking through some of my journals from a few years ago when I was actively amplifying fairy tales and working with the archetype of the Shadow. Sometimes when I find something I wrote a few years ago, I am pleasantly surprised at how meaningful it is to me now. Then I wonder why I learn something, only to forget, only to learn again… lather, rinse, repeat.

In my kinder moments, I tell myself, each lesson, relearned, is taken in at a deeper level.

From a distance, the pieces I write are wise, poignant, and meaningful Рbut when I am writing them, they often seem too  personal, rambling and disorganized, and in my harshest moments Рirrelevant to the greater world in which I live. Seems to be that I need some distance in my self-viewing.

Taking distance, I ask myself – OK – so what the hell am I projecting onto the Baba Yaga that I need to have reflected back to me so I can reel it in and claim its gold?

The answer will only come as we get closer…


Unfolding Self

December 6, 2007

I have not been listening to my own good counsel – or as a new friend called it – having lazy ears. I like that imagery – what are my ears tuned in to and what are they tuning out. Have I forgotten how to listen to my Self with the ears of my heart?

What a miracle a little bit of mirroring can be when the timing is right and the teacher is wise. Today while avoiding writing a fifteen page paper – I am watching the snow, decorating for Yule and the solstice and inviting the imaginal world to be visible. I got out my drawings from the Deep Imagery intensive which led me to looking for my journal from the intensive. Before I could get that far – I found this quote…

When I am living a purposeful life, caring for myself and others, I am able to co-create a place for others to do the same. I relinquish fear and a need to control.” ~~~Molly Young Brown

When I began my recent round of graduate studies – I was naive to believe that the INSTITUTION would throw open its arm to me and say Welcome! Eat! drink! Somehow I hear David Whyte saying that – it must be on one of his CDs or in his keynote video that I have on VHS tape. Instead – the INSTITUTION told me – submit, learn our ways, let go of your wisdom tradition and learn things that are EBT (evidence based – I don’t know if the T is theory or therapy). Of course that isn’t all they have told me – it is just the part that I am struggling with in this moment.
As a student of the ineffable who lives in the land of liminality – what is the control group and what is the experimental group and what are the variables by which my work can be weighed and measured?

That is the question isn’t it?



December 5, 2007

Last night as I closed down the computer and prepared to go read – the phone rang. I heard my husband say – she is going to want to talk to you! I wondered who it might be – and it was the woman of the lake surrounded by timbers calling me by my true name.

Reminding me of my gifts, gently guiding me back to the unmarked path that is mine to travel. Hearing her warm voice, her laughter, her deep wisdom I could see her in the eye of my mind and her eyes were twinkling.

Crowded close all around her – were her guides and companions who she had introduced us to in the spring during our Deep Imagery gathering at Seven Oaks. Some perched on her shoulders, others stood behind her, still more were in the shadows – not hiding – just watching and witnessing – creating and holding sacred space for our conversation.

Sometimes a person comes into your life and transforms you in ways that change your life’s trajectory. Dianne Timberlake, my mentor, my guide, my mirror is one of those people for me. Even though a continent’s width separates us and our contacts are infrequent – knowing that her soul walks the path of the Rainbow means she is always with me.

I first met her at an AVI program that she co-facilitated with Bill Plotkin – Sweet Darkness. I was deep in my mourning process and wasn’t sure I could be in a group setting. What I found was a “safe enough” holding container that allowed my full and complete expression of all my selves. For the first time, I was able to touch my deep sense of loss and feel the unbearable pain. No one comforted me or tried to fix me. Allowing me the space to find my own path in my interior wilderness. Towards the end of the intensive – I ran straight into joy! My heart was light, the weight of sorrow lifted, I emerged from the underworld blinking into the bright moonlight and later greeted the dawn. This intensive (Sweet Darkness) is where I learned to flower ecstatically in the garden of my soul.


~~~Soulskin is shimmering~~~

November 28, 2007

I needed to take some time to tend to my sealskin. Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks of a woman’s need to periodically moisten her sealskin/soulskin and for the last several years – this is an annual practice for me.

I spent some time reading, writing, doing a bit of art – not as much as I would like to. I walked the forested dunes and swamps between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. I bathed in the light of our moon mother and joined her as she beckoned the tides to creep higher and higher onto the sandy shoreline.

Walking, breathing, thinking until my thoughts were gone and my mind still and empty.

Re-reading Joan Anderson’s A Year by the Sea and An Unfinished Marriage.

Laying in my sleeping bag, watching the moon peek through the clouds and then hide her face.

I chose to do this retreat on my own – even though it meant I missed Weaving Soulful Community. My tribe of fellow questers were in my heart even though I wasn’t at Seven Oaks to join them. Perhaps next year…