Examples of Community and Ecological Fieldwork
Examples of Fieldwork in the First Year
Looking in Darkness: Psyche and Orpheus in Juvenile Hall
Brent A. Blair
Site: Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall
Volunteers from a variety of disparate service professions who work with "high risk" teens are attracting more and more attention as the media reports of youth violence bring this charged issue under increasing public spotlight. Educators, social workers, psychologists and criminal justice experts offer widely divergent opinions on the whats and hows of treating a population of youth whom many lawmakers would rather see locked up for life. Where is the seat of soul in such a chamber of dark hopes and abandoned dreams?
In this summer project the young men and women in HRO (High Risk Offender) units of L.A.'s Central Juvenile Hall participated alongside victims of violent crime, parents of incarcerated teens, volunteers, staff of juvenile halls and religious leaders in a combined effort involving weeks of individual preparation to create personal narratives which peer into the heart of darkness and seek the roots of redemption for the suffering soul. Their narratives were shared through ritual and performance in a healing mass for nearly 700 people within the walls of Central Juvenile Hall as part of the twice-centennial Catholic "Jubilee 2000: In the Prisons of the World."
Later on during this work some twenty minors (boys and girls) examined, deconstructed and reconfigured Greek myths in an effort to find the meaningfulness of journeys into darkness. At the end of this intensive series of workshops over two months, the boys in unit K/L shared their version of Orpheus in a thirty-page original play with the girls of unit A/B who shared their own version of the myth of Psyche. The workshops produced intense emotions, profound poetic treatments of personal experiences of the dark side of incarceration, two stellar theatrical scripts and a dialogue between young men and women on the nature of soul. This project revealed as much about the process of working with incarcerated teens as it did the nature of the soul in dark times. It was, in the end, a testimony to the ineffability of the human spirit to awaken possibility in an atmosphere of such defeat. It challenges service workers to trust this inner light, to trust the benevolent presence of Eros and Euridyce despite the darkness surrounding our clients, the justice system or our own hearts.
Re-embodying Science: Science Practice as Body Practice
In contrast to its image of remote sangfroid, European-based science finds itself embroiled in the politically charged "science wars". Science no longer enjoys its centuries-old defacto privilege. Instead, science is challenged to engage with a multi-cultural, pan-specific constituency and justify its validity. The institutions and culture of modern science derived from a history of colonisation and cultural hegemony contrast sharply with today's social and ecological landscapes. Scientific concepts such as complexity theory are respondent but fail to resolve present socio-environmental issues because they are largely entrained and executed in traditional reductionist patterns. Conceptually, majority culture science has moved from the Simple (e.g., reductionism, determinism, anthropocentrism) toward the Complex view (e.g., holism, biocentric, multi-culturalism) but lacks a complementary shift in practice.
My summer fieldwork has been directed to exploring the development of practices for science which reflect the emerging Complex View. Using the practices of Zen Buddhism and karate as a lens, I describe how the moves and processes of these holistic views can move in alchemy with science concept and method. Science becomes a reflexive process bringing observer and observed in relationship together and a way in which an ethos serving all beings can be developed by the practising scientist.
Outside the Fence: Antinuclear Perspectives from a Depth Psychology Point-of-View
Fieldwork Site: Tri-Valley Communities Against Radioactive Environments
This fieldwork with the local antinuclear group in Livermore, CA, home of one of this nation's two nuclear weapons laboratories, was exploratory, enlightening and transformative. It was a summer of getting curious and involved, of asking questions, of dialoguing, listening, reading, and most importantly, participating in the work of the Tri-Valley CAREs (Tri-Valley Communities Against Radioactive Environments). It was a summer during which my heart began to flutter and my eyes to open -- open wide.
My heart flutters for many reasons. I see the immensity of the problems caused by the insidious toxic and hazardous materials used in nuclear weapons work and power plants -- the radioactive contamination and its effects on humanity and the environment. I see the duplicityperpetrated (and still being perpetrated) by federal agencies around this subject. And I see a local community that is seemingly indifferent, even hostile, to the idea that disasters like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl can happen here.
There are many questions now -- now that my eyes are wide open. How can a fledgling depth psychologist "tend the soul of the world" in this complex community/national/world situation? How can an entrenched system be changed? How can nuclear pollution be brought out of the shadow and into collective consciousness. How can the invisible be made visible?
Turning Psychology's Up Side Down: Gropings Toward an Available Psycholiteracy
Sites: The Foundation for Change and Supportive Parents Information Network
This paper records my fieldwork attempts at two sites in the border city of San Diego, both downtown: the Foundation for Change, a nonprofit grant-writing agency through which I met the heads of five grass-roots activist organizations in need of funding; and the Supportive Parents Information Network (SPIN), a welfare rights advocacy agency directed by an attorney working on a shoestring budget.
Having previously bought into the depth-psychological conflation of activism with acting out, I wanted to explore the following questions: what might an innovative, consciousness-changing activism look like up close? How might its spirit, if not its methods, be transmuted into making free, problem-solving and story-oriented information of the kind I'd used in my anger-management and self-exploration groups available to the poor? By way of contrast, how might the professional depth psychologist's confinement to the classroom and the consulting room constitute an "Aristocles defense," an unconscious Platonism that recreates the split between the artifact world and the natural world while politically neutralizing the psychotherapist from making trouble where it counts out in the community? How might our refusal to get involved in the outside world parallel and augment our culture's drive toward a completely domesticated planet? Is it possible to offer direct support and information while retaining sensitivity to psyche? Beyond that, what does the soul of the world ask of us, not only within our fantasies about the poor and the cast-out, but in the shape of the literal suffering and poverty before our very eyes?
Facing History and Ourselves: The Eternal Examination
Fieldwork site: Facing History and Ourselves, Summer Institute, Presentation Center, Los Gatos, California
This fieldwork seeks to explore the relationship between school history and soul history. It searches for ways of linking our outer experiences of history to our inner lives. It considers five different ways of connecting between the conscious world of school history and the unconscious. These methods arose out of the Facing History and Ourselves Summer Institute, and are shaped throughout by the root metaphor of the Holocaust. The five different ways are: Reflections on a provocative reading about the dangers of racial stereotyping called “Little Boxes”; Creating a personal identity chart; Listening to the testimony of a Holocaust survivor; Working with dreams; Reflecting on education and the history of the eugenics movement.
Drawing from the lessons of the Holocaust regarding the perils of measurement and racial testing, the paper then considers these dangers with regard to current changes in the English Education system. What are the consequences for world soul of, being trapped into a system of eternal examination?
Escalante, Utah (and the area of the Grand Staircase)
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was recently declared a public holding by President Clinton and the impact of this is a story of rupture for those who have lived there from one to four generations. The presidential act signals an end to a cattle-timber economy and the beginning of eco-tourism. Such a rupture is a call to dialogue for all people to enter into a deeper possibility of understanding geographic and cultural history. The struggle also reflects an issue in our time about how we engage the other and hold apparent differences in a light of conflict. The larger picture holds opportunity to understand ancient roots of conflict, and healing for a more sustainable human ecology. Escalante is isolated in the Utah desert in a rugggedly beautiful landscape. It is also thought to be the site of thousands of unexplored Anasazi ruins. The government has declared this the first public site dedicated of education and research. This Summer Field Work Project explores how that is unfolding, and how the American West is adapting to rapid change. Dialogue, wilderness and self are the themes.
Re-thinking our Work with At-risk Youth
Field Site: Male Voices Project, Oceano CA
The project involved entering into my current position as coordinator of the Male Voices Project (MVP), a teen pregnancy prevention program targeting teen males, with a depth psychological perspective. The project followed three threads: personal work with psyche, concepts of depth psychology in the field; and special initiatives reflecting this perspective. The summer program involved twelve boys and included activities such as a menudo breakfast fundraiser, a handball tournament, and men's gatherings. These and other activities served as a backdrop to reflections on the nature of the program, its direction, its specific components, as well as on my own place, or calling, in regards to this work. The experiences also led to reflections on how the lives of the boys speak for the soul of America.
My observations, reflections, and experiences were inspired by the writings of Hillman, Freire, Morales, Gilligan, Meade and Johnson, among others.
Reality of Co-Housing
Responding to my own wound of feeling homeless in our surrounding culture, I visited and listened in to four co-housing communities where members share the common vision of creating community, among themselves and with the land that surrounds them. The four communities span a wide range of history, cost, size, and design, but all hold a common vision of clustering small homes together, sharing meals and labor, and owning land, buildings and tools together in order to lighten the load of their lives on the land around them. There is no screening process for new members in any of the communities - inclusion is based solely on the individual1s desire to join the group. The oldest of the four communities is a solar community begun twenty years ago, and two are more traditional co-housing communities based on the Danish model that was brought to America in the late 19801s. However, the most dynamic and inspiring of the communities for me was Dignity Village, a group of eighty-four houseless individuals who have banded together and created a tent city in Portland, Oregon. Working with City staff members, they are gaining non-profit status to create an alternative to the current shelter system. In seeing and listening in to these four communities, the feeling of exile and the subsequent shame that pervades us and the way in which we live became clear and pronounced. Our exile from Nature, our exile from our countries of origin and our exile from ourselves have been factors in our locking ourselves away in the supposed safety of the suburbs. The overwhelming number of detached, single family homes with a yard, private driveway and individually owned and infrequently used tools, personal belongings and sports equipment weigh heavily on the load of resource consumption of our culture. Those individuals who risk the vulnerability and incredible personal challenges of living in community, of choosing to share with each other the highs and lows of daily life, the desires, needs and insufficiencies, are truly blazing an inspirational path. A path homeward to a more integrated balance with ourselves and the world around us.
Long Term Sustainability
The world and its resources are being destroyed by business practices, governments’ policies, lack of knowledge and popular demand. The carrying capacity of the earth may be stressed to levels that will bring a rapid and significant decay of civilization. Given current consumptive practices, not a single wildlife reserve, wilderness, or indigenous culture will survive the global market economy (Hawken, 1993. p. 3). At this rate, nor will one city, one farm or one developed country be able to endure. The mindlessness and lack of understanding as to the significance of Wholeness and the profound impact of interrelationship leaves the world community at great risk. This summer’s fieldwork was intended to look at issues of long-term sustainability for communities and society. I arranged for Allan Savory, a renowned ecologist and holistic decision-maker, to spend one week on three site visits here in California to facilitate thinking and training in three communities toward long-term sustainability.
Stories in the Land
Site: High School, Avalon, CA
This project developed out of a teaching fellowship awarded through the Orion Society called “Stories in the Land.” The purpose of the fellowship is to help foster a sense of place among local high school students through the use of the local landscape, regional literature, and community involvement at a small public school in Avalon, CA, located on Santa Catalina Island.
During the course of the project, students developed an outdoor classroom, participated in numerous fieldtrips, and created a photo-journal ³sense of place project.² As a result, I have noticed significant growth in students¹ understanding of their home-place, and in the importance of preserving their cultural and natural resources.
Going Home: Community Fieldwork in Africa
Siri Sat Nam Singh
The author traveled with forty other African-Americans, the majority of whom were visiting the African site, Ghana, for the first time. The tour of this West African country was designed by psychologists, Akbar and Nobles, to heighten African-Americans’ awareness of their heritage, roots, ancestry. Documentary footage was taken, notably of the quarters Africans were imprisoned in before they were taken to the "New World" as slaves.
Professional Wrestling: War and Love in the Psyche of American Culture
Professional Wrestling is a cultural phenomenon that has seen a huge increase in popularity during the past year. As a form of sports entertainment, professional wrestling is big business. Yet, professional wrestling is also demeaned as being “fake,” or as not being a legitimate sport, or as being a negative influence on violence among children and the culture at large. And yet, something significant is going on in the American psyche as testified to by the enormity of professional wrestling’s popularity.
This fieldwork took place primarily at the Windy City Pro Wrestling training facility in Chicago, Illinois. The researcher spent three days visiting with wrestlers and personnel at this facility located on the south side of Chicago. The research also included attending four WWF live matches. In addition, web sites, message boards, and chat rooms on the Internet were visited to support the research. The research resulted in discovering a number of key archetypal themes expressed through the drama of professional wrestling and through the stories of wrestlers and fans that make the sport the phenomenon that it is. As a form of ritual metaphor, professional wrestling provides a means of projecting various psychic components into an arena in the service of certain religious needs of its participants and fans. Despite the obviously dangerous representations of self and other depicted in professional wrestling, communitas is built through this ritualizing process, providing a cultural outlet and a potential site of psychic transformation.
A Journey into South Carolina History – In Search of Freedom
Betty C. Tysinger
Site: Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture 125 Bull Street Charleston, SC 29424
The site of my summer fieldwork was the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture in Charleston, South Carolina. The Avery Research Center collects, preserves, and documents the history and culture of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country. Their holdings serve as primary source materials for scholars, researchers and students. Avery has an Archive reading room that is open to the public and provides tours of the historic building in which it is housed and the museum galleries within the building.
My time at the Avery Research Center was spent learning about the Center and its activities, conducting tours of the museum and building, and helping to catalogue a collection for the Archives. In the process, I learned a great deal about South Carolina history, the history of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country, and the cultural heritage contained in the historic events connected to Charleston. My own dream and imaginal life responded to my immersion in the fieldwork. This paper attempts to capture the essence of my experience.
Introduction of a Dialogue Group in a Contemporary, Conservative Jewish Synagogue
Cheryl Hashman Sheinman
Site: conservative Jewish synagogue, North Miami Beach, FL
This project, begun as a result of a call to be in and offer something to this place, brought a dialogue group to a large conservative Jewish synagogue in North Miami Beach, Florida. The dialogue group grew out of a concern for how things were handled in the temple and the author's attempt to share her voice with leadership and other members. The initial phase of the project entailed involvement in one of the synagogue's committees where an observation of practices as well as a listening in to the multiplicity of voices occurred.
The main focus of the project was a group of 12 people who met weekly to hold dialogue in the way of council. The theme of the dialogue group was Jewish values centering on a celebration of Judaism and a consciousness of the workings of the temple. The paper reveals the process and depth of experiences that evolved during the project. The relevance and importance of depth psychological dimensions to this work, such as dialogue and restoration of the world, the idea of resacralization and participation/soul in this world as well as other dimensions that grew out of this experience are explored in this paper.
From Margin to Mainstream: Gay Men at the Leadership Frontier
With the support and encouragement of the gay community center leaders in New York, I brought together a group of gay men, who are self-identified as gay and who are also leaders in the business (or organizational) community. I designed and conducted a weekend-long workshop retreat, with 18 participants, and also interviewed a subset of the participants following the session. The weekend retreat took place in a country setting outside of New York City, where the participants had ample opportunity to dialogue and reflect together, as well as spend time being in nature. The retreat consisted of a wide range of activities, including discussions, dialogue, creating artwork, meditation, visualizations and play. The following "goals" or intentions were incorporated throughout all aspects of the retreat and the follow-up interviews:
Goal # 1--to explore what happens to the very nature of leadership as traditionally oppressed individuals become leaders in the world.
Goal #2--to serve and support the growth of gay men to express themselves fully as contributors--transformational catalysts--in a society sorely in need of change.
Goal # 3-- to foster reform of our patriarchal system and culture, by supporting and encouraging increasing numbers of gay men to take on leadership roles in the world.
Goal # 4-- to expand and re-envision the role of gay men in shattering the myths of our culture, namely, the heroic, masculine myth of achievement, power and control, and the myth of the exalted frontier individualist over against the denigrated feminine (who animates the worlds of the arts, theater and film, as well as community and family).
Within the context of the above goals, the primary research questions of this summer fieldwork were as follows: what are the unique gifts that gay men bring to their roles as leaders in the business and wider community, and from a depth psychological perspective, what might it mean for gay men to "lead with soul"?
Women Transforming Communities
The subject of my fieldwork project consisted of the development and enactment of a three-day, residential multicultural women’s conference entitled, Women Transforming Communities, held from September 6 - 9, 2001 in Malibu, California. Its development involved the creation of a womenís organization called the Sisters of the Earth. Over the course of the development phase, approximately 20 women participated in meetings, seven of which were consistent attendees. These seven became the organizational staff at the retreat. Part of the project involved reflecting on the groupís process as we worked our way toward the conference.
As one of the founders of the group and primary organizers of the conference, I was in a unique position to be in communication with each individual organizer and participant. A diverse group of 86 women were in attendance, including staff and teachers. The diversity was represented in ethnic, socio-economic, and age breakdowns. Approximately one-third of the participants completed both an initial survey in which they indicated their interest and expectations for the event and an evaluation at the conclusion. While valuable, I found that the informal conversations, post-conference emails, mailed note cards, and phone calls debriefing the experience offered a deeper level of understanding of what occurred and why. The conference is considered by all to have been a success. Several women have stated that their lives have been transformed. Yet, there was also a great deal of constructive criticism still to be incorporated into a thorough understanding of the creative process, the event itself, and its implications for future work by the Sisters of the Earth organization.
Kay L. Tomlinson
Site: Alzheimer's Association
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
St. Louis, MO 63108
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, fatal degeneration of brain cells that causes escalating dementia, behavioral changes, and loss of physical coordination. The causes are uncertain, and there is presently no cure. In an effort to understand more about how individuals, physicians, caregivers, and families cope with this disease, I worked as a volunteer with the St. Louis Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, giving public information talks and assisting caregivers on the Association's Helpline. I also regularly attended the professional research seminar series hosted by the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine. It became clear to me that the biomedical model of disease embraced by our culture contributes to the silencing of the person with the disease. I suggest that future work might profitably focus on trying to discover ways to communicate directly with the patients despite their apparent cognitive disabilities.
An Exploration of Prison Ministry
in an Oregon State Women’s Facility
A combination of factors, inner and outer, brought me to my fieldwork. I felt eerily drawn to the new women’s prison being constructed near my home this past year, feeling it seep into my bones, wondering about who would be there. Concurrently, the minister of my church asked if I would start a prison ministry. Over the summer, I have learned about my personal issues of isolation and scapegoating that give me a sister-feeling for these women. I have walked into some of my own shadow in confronting my fear of this work. I have had the experience of a clear vision dimmed by the reality of bureaucracy. I have come to a new depth psychological understanding that our shadow side is all of us. I have renewed my commitment: to the women we serve in this prison; to making changes in our justice system; and to our precious world.
Gathering of Daughters: Listening to Daughters of Africa for our Connecting Stories
Dialogue sessions were held in a meeting room of a Charlotte, NC African American church. Attending these meetings were African American women willing to explore their thoughts, beliefs, memories, and feelings about being a daughter. These women focused on different topics related to being a daughter and their relationship with a mother figure. Each participant was willing to listen with an open heart to the stories told in the dialogue circle.
The purpose of these evening gatherings was to listen for the stories of a community’s mother daughter relationships. The goal was to introduce a new method of communicating, dialogue, and listen for whatever would be offered. The author’s plan was to enter the gathering without any expectations of outcome. One of the first insights happened as the author began to identify her own assumptions. This paper includes information on leading a dialogue group and the quirky role of a facilitator as well as beautiful insights from daughters.
The Children of Moonridge YMCA: In the Shadows of Ancient Gods, History of Land, and Affluent Society
Site: Moonridge YMCA
2001 Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Moonridge YMCA provides multiple services to the children of low-income Mexican immigrants who are working in the Half Moon Bay area in the following industries: fisheries, farms, nurseries. The program offers assistance with homework in an after school homework club, runs a spring, summer and winter camp to provide structured activities for the children, and facilitates a mentorship program to address the intensive needs of particular children.
As part of the summer program, I facilitated separate boys’ and girls’ chat groups, on a weekly and bi-weekly basis respectively. I also assisted the children with self-organizing a talent show that was performed at the end of the summer. The children’s overwhelming desire was to discuss sexuality in all of its aspects. What seemed to emerge were both a desire for information about sexuality and a longing for empowerment through an eroticized lens of the world. Through exploration of the history and ancient ancestry of these children, the Mayan belief in the Moon Goddess gave context to the longings of the children and to the struggles with the issue of belonging and finding a true home within an affluent dominant culture that refuses to acknowledge their own fear of relationship with them.
Seeking Soul with Celluloid Daemons
Site: Santa Barbara Adult Education
Fresh to a class designed to stimulate thought through exposure to films, this project found me attempting to revision the class by overlaying depth psychological tools during class observation and active listening in the interview segment. I was a participating observer. This role fit my sometimes quiet demeanor, and so this spring and summer 2000, as I assisted/co-taught a class in the Santa Barbara Adult Education system titled, “Turning Points in Thought From Film” my role as participating observer was familiar.
As a new instructor I was allowed to recommend some new movies that fit in the program. The Green Mile, The Color Purple, and Sense and Sensibility were three of my recommendations. The Green Mile will be shown during the fall quarter. Each of these movies have powerful images that push people to the edge of some traditionally held assumptions about human relations and identities. The official instructor, Gordon Clough, invited me and Mark Whitehurst to assist/co-teach with him, due to his frail health and his desire for a dialogue with us. There were nine class meetings during this period with an average attendance of 35 people. Near the end of the series students were invited to participate in an interview. Interviews, except one, were taped, and all were transcribed and returned to those interviewed for review and possible modification.
Focusing on these classes I asked, “How are the tools of the imaginal and dialogue being used and what additional potential do they have for opening and deepening folks sense of soul?” I especially focused on Adult Education and movies as cultural phenomenon, and how they work together in this particular setting with the assistance of dialogue and group interaction to open people into their voices and to broaden their empathy and tolerance. The hope was to understand more clearly the twining of movies and education for adults and the potential that the tools of dialogue and the imaginal (as experienced through movies) hold for personal development and understanding.
The Sleeping Lady: The Valley Dreaming
This fieldwork involves the future of the rural agricultural valley and community of Harmony Grove that is presently under proposal for annexation and industrialization by the City of Escondido. This bioregion is also habitat to numerous species of inland coastal flora and fauna. I began by listening to the many voices that impact this situation: the voice of the land, the voice of the residents, the voice of the city and developers, the voice of the past.
Methods for entering the community and more than human community use field trips, photo journals, interviews, attending an action oriented citizen group and participating in planning/visioning group. The project also researches the work of some visionary community planners/authors who have studied the issues of sustainable communities based on a balance of modern development, ecological harmony, ecozoic consciousness, solid planning and openness to our interface with imaginal reality.
This paper is both a personal journey confronting the pain and impact of loss of habitat and the power of restorative consciousness, and also a journey into the process of community building, community identity and community envisioning. It lays out a participatory process for creating a community plan to present to the City of Escondido.
The paper explores the importance of place, anima loci, from a depth psychological perspective and relates this to the concerns of Deep Ecology and ecopsychology.
Women in Transition: A Study of Homelessness in Santa Barbara
Sites: Transition House, Cacique Street Day Center, Santa Barbara, CA
Seeking compelling stories of homeless women and children for a video planned by videographer Kathy Barbini, I became aware of a life below the surface of the life we are allowed to see, and became respectful and admiring of the courage that it takes to live that life. I conducted in-depth interviews with nine women. Five were from Transition House, a shelter and educational facility. The others (interviewed at Hot Spots Coffee Shop on lower State Street and at the Cacique Street Day Center) were three who have lived in RV's for over twenty years, a previously homeless woman, and a woman whose chosen home was the street.
Many women (with and without children), children, and advocates for the homeless shared their perspectives with me. As a witness to their lives, I experienced the alchemy of the interview process. This experience affected me profoundly and I plan to continue my involvement with homeless people as a voice for the unheard.
Combining Stream Restoration and Imaginal Adventures: An Ecopsychological Approach
Site: Northern California Youth and Family Program
During the spring and summer of 2000 I worked with two agencies to develop my summer fieldwork project, the U.S. Forest Service on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Northern California Youth and Family Program, which is a treatment foster family agency. My project combined the therapeutic value of stream restoration with the healing power of a participatory imaginal adventure. Working with two therapists at Youth and Family Program and their boys in a therapy group I participated in a two-phased program involving use of imaginal metaphors. Using a depth psychological approach the therapists and I conducted a series of group sessions involving the book Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone by J. W. Rawlings. The second phase of our sessions included the boys in a stream restoration project on the National Forest which involved the use of a participatory metaphor of our own composition.
From the first phase I learned that the use of shorter stories told in a true storyteller fashion would be more useful than reading a lengthy book, shared personal stories are useful to the "joining" process and the use of the "council" process is highly desirable. The second phase of the project was the heart of the project and the most rewarding. Over a three day period the boys were given the opportunity to be involved in restoring the balance of nature in a small mountain stream. The work involved planting trees, covering bare hillslopes with erosion control material and using logs and rocks for stream stabilization. Interwoven with the restoration work the boys had the opportunity to become participants in an imaginal adventure. The adventure was designed to be a lived out hero’s journey, teaching them not only about the balance existing in nature but also of the balance existing within them. Through the experience of the adventures we shared, the stories told of the earth, and from their own laying hands to earth the boys had the opportunity to learn about the workings of their own souls and of the soul of the earth.
The Hero's Journey: Breaking Depth Psychology Into Prison
Site: a California State Prison
I worked as a creative writing teacher in a California state prison. My students are medium to maximum-security inmates. I conceived the Hero's Journey project as a way to relate their biographies to archetypal energies. I hoped this would begin a process of re-naming themselves and the events of their lives in more positive and cohesive terms. Because I believe that prisons represent the shadow of our culture, I feel a deep urgency to redefine the process of corrections as, in Jung's term, "the- containment-that-precedes-regeneration."
Touch This House and Be Transformed
Site: Habitat for Humanity, Bath-Brunswick, ME
I worked for the summer with the Bath-Brunswick, ME affiliate of Habitat for Humanity building a home for a family of two parents and seven children. The project enabled me to contribute to the volunteer construction effort as well as participating in the local Board and Planning Committee sessions. It was an extraordinary opportunity to witness and to ingest the transformative and alchemical nature of this project. It was a magical process of creating community, witnessing psyche and soul-making as spirit transformed into matter and matter evoked spirit, and watching the profound effect of generosity evident in the giving of time, labor, and matter as it worked through each person who touched this project. The project was rich in image, ritual, community, devotion, commitment and joy. The archetypes of home and builder were prevalent as was the deep connection of place, land and family. It was a personally rewarding experience of fieldwork.
A Depth Psychological Approach to Corporate Culture
Dale E. Stolz
My summer fieldwork site was a medium sized corporation undergoing major industrial deregulation. The fundamental changes caused the organization to commission a study of its corporate culture. My goal for the summer fieldwork, begun in May, was to develop a corporate culture model, a container reflecting a depth perspective, and have it used by the project team. The specifications of this container were to give the project team a tool or blueprint for action and create an opportunity for group unconscious to express itself.
The culture work indicated a number of avenues available to depth psychology, thus creating the opportunity for a fresh perspective of group dynamics. Further, by holding a container for the irrational, for the metaphoric, an expanded sense of corporate self-reflection became possible. The dominant cultural myth of technical rationality was expanded briefly to include marginalized voice of Dionysus.
Katherine Kiggins Taylor
Site: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Campaign Headquarters
Through a series of mishaps, or one very determined and clever daimon, I ended up working in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign headquarters during the height of her election campaign for Senator of New York. By following Woody Allen’s advice that 90% of life is showing up, I showed up there each day to do volunteer work.
I was richly rewarded for showing up. I had the opportunity to work directly with one of Mrs. Clinton’s assistants, first inputting names into their database, calling and polling swing voters, and later being given my own project: attending to all of the email that came in to Hillary through her website, which often numbered in the thousands. I would read all of it before deciding to answer myself, forward it to another staffer, file it under ‘casework,’ or ‘campaign materials,’ or ‘Black Panthers’ or data, to name a few, or delete it.
Through this experience I was given a profound insight into the dimensionality of community. Communities that don’t know they are communities – so are they? We create communities when we stereotype, when we think of target markets, potential audiences, etc. Demographers turn it into a science. But is a community a community if the members of the community do not interact with one another?
When we ‘see ‘ other people in communities in which they don’t see themselves, are we acting as the cog that holds the potential of connecting the spokes (read ‘folks’) in a circle of community? I think there is that possibility. It can be used destructively as it is in service of prejudice and marginalization – e.g. the Nazis and the Jews or the upper class and the lower class. Likewise, as well-documented in The Tradition That Has No Name, a non-existent community of mothers came into existence when someone acted as a cog and ‘saw’ the mothers into a embodied community.
Examples of Fieldwork in the 2nd Year
Songlines of the Valley: Image as Labyrinth
Harmony Grove Valley, Escondido, Ca.
This fieldwork project explores the relationship between the images arising out of living in a specific place and a sense of community identity. I return to the community of Harmony Grove-Eden Valley and its continuing struggle to define its rural character and unique identity in the face of the threat of industrialization. The project rotates around the three components of image, community identity and sense of place. The images arising out of residents’ experience of what living in the Harmony Grove valley means to them are explored phenomenologically and archetypally.
My fieldwork is the story of the creation of a participatory community art project and the development of a community design and learning center. The art project is based on the creation of a large mural of the ancient petroglyphs that overlook the valley and the symbols created by residents expressing their experience of living in the valley. The art project fuses the residents’ dream of the valley with that of the original Kumeyaay Indian inhabitants and the underlying primal structures of the psyche of the valley. The creation of the community learning center, that came to house this art project, is a story of the relationship between implacement and the imaginalis and how community identity might be clarified through the incorporation of the lived images of place.
Journey into the World of Alzheimer’s
Aegis of Napa
My summer fieldwork grew out of my involvement with my mother who is progressing through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. My concern about how to have a meaningful relationship with her became my central research question during my summer fieldwork. I searched for answers to this central question and also to the questions of how to understand and meet the emotional and spiritual needs of people with Alzheimer’s. I interviewed professional staff and caregivers in a residential facility for Alzheimer’s, as well as family members of people who have Alzheimer’s. In addition to these interviews, I volunteered in an Alzheimer’s facility. I learned that meaningful relationships with people who have Alzheimer’s involve attunement to the uniqueness of each person, sensitivity and respect to feelings, and an on-going relationship with someone who is capable of sincerity, constancy, and reciprocity. I found that the spiritual needs of those with Alzheimer’s are the least understood and addressed.
Dialogue and the Creation of Consciousness
Fieldwork sites: Northern Ireland and Florissant, Colorado
Dialogue, sometimes referred to as the way of council, is an ancient method of collective contemplation and profound interchange of ideas within a group. It is being rediscovered, and like most ancient ways that are rediscovered, it is practiced more fervently than it is understood. Writers on the subject agree that dialogue works "magic", but there is little discussion or understanding of just what that magic is. Practitioners of dialogue, even those with long experience, are content to describe dialogue circles in how-to-do-this-yourself-at-home terms. They overlook the opportunity to explore what is happening psychologically as the dialogue circle progresses.
Depth psychology gives us the means and the language to research dialogue by seeing it through psyche. My fieldwork projects (two summers) have included dozens of dialogue circles in seven cities in the US and Ireland with 81 participants. The results indicate that when properly set up and then left to follow its own inclinations, the dialogue circle is naturally propelled toward its fundamental work which, like dream tending and active imagination, is to create consciousness.
The City Revealed; Voices from the Edge
In this project I set out to become an outsider in my own city, approaching people I would not normally associate with or even know, listening to their stories, trying to understand their startlingly different experiences of this rapidly growing city at the edge of the Colorado Plateau. The premise was that far more of my city's psyche would be revealed by those at or near the edges than by those in the mainstream. I looked for invisible presences, the voices we don't hear in civic dialog, the influences we don't see in the city's architecture and urban systems--particularly evidences of the feminine. Running through many stories and discussions like an unseen river were themes of wounding, loss and unexpressed grief in the wake of recent growth and development. The shadow of our upscale urban remaking reveals some of what is being lost; the unique character, multiplicity and eccentricities of this particular place and the mythic landscape in which it is situated. The paper contains a selection of collected dialog vignettes as well as a reflective section that explores issues raised as well as some of my own surprising transference with the project.
Living in Disllusion: Seeing through a Cartesian Colonial World
Site:: American Friends Service Committee
The world we have lived in - the world we have known for the last three or four generations is one rooted in Cartesian rationalism and the political economics of global colonialism. This reality has established a way of being and seeing that affects our basic orientation to the world. Psyche, anima mundi, is in the world and exists in this collective cultural vas. The following is a phenomenological exploration of the psychological-political aspects of living in this environment. It examines the issue of what is the experience of being 'local', i.e. coming from an immigrant lineage but having lived many generations in the Hawaiian islands. What is the relationship between 'locals' and the indigenous native Hawaiian culture? These questions are the subject of a dialogical inquiry with a writer-teacher and an attorney working in the area of native Hawaiian rights.
To Know A Place
Deborah Mac Williams
A small group of women from Bend, Oregon met over the course of the summer to explore the experience of place. The women journalled, took pictures, followed through on experiential exercises meant to increase awareness of the importance of place, and sculpted images during group discussions. Major themes with corresponding images emerged. They were 1)Embodiment as necessary for relationship to place; 2)Severing, displacement and the experience of psychic numbing, 3)The curious search for both movement and holding in the experience of place, 4)The need for Aphroditic cultivation of relationship to things as a way back to place and 5)Archetypal activism as an experience of deep implacement prior to outward, communal change.
"Doing Time": Kairos/Chronus @ Prison.ie
Site: Portlaoise Prison, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Ireland.
Portlaoise prison has particular significance having been home to many contemporary political prisoners over the past three decades. The IRA (Irish Republican Army), the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) and other non-aligned male prisoners were held in special sections of this high security prison. Many were serving life sentences. In addition to the prison officers the army or military are employed there offering extra security evident from the entrance and the immediate prison environs. Under the decisions of The 1999 Peace Agreement known as the Good Friday Treaty many of the political prisoners were released or sent to Castlereagh prison. Men formerly in prisons in England were returned to Portlaoise. Thus the whole life and population of the prison changed almost day by day. This change continues today.
Education in the prison is carried out under the direction of County Laois Vocational Education Committee. A head teacher co-ordinates this work. There are some full time and many part time teachers employed to carry out educational programs in the prison. To their credit many of these teachers have given years of service in this challenging environment which is now experiencing rapid change or transition. Their students, the political prisoners who were expected to be there for forty years and who were engaging in long term programs disappeared almost overnight. Replacing them are ODCs (Ordinary Decent Criminals) who are younger and are serving shorter sentences. Many of these are imprisoned for drug related offences. Levels of literacy are low and morale equally so. The military presence continues as if all prisoners were high security political prisoners.
Over the past year the prison teaching staff and prison officers with responsibility for education have engaged with me in a process of reflection on education and transition. There have been workshops and seminars as they developed their Mission Statement and began to set new goals, develop new plans and work towards the implementation of new programs for a very different clientele. This has not been an easy process.
For several years I have also worked part-time with some of the prisoners exploring Dream work or what Steve calls Dream Tending. This enabled me to experience the prison from the perspective of the prisoner-as-learner. I have known and worked with many high security political prisoners. This summer the prison education coordinator invited me to spend five weeks working in the prison, developing programs of Personal Enrichment for some ODCs and Pre-Release programs for long term, high security prisoners.
The resulting work is a study of the phenomenology of TIME as experienced in this particular prison situation. Aspects of action research are also highlighted as the work continues to unfold for teachers and prisoners. It also charts my own progression from former adult educator to emerging depth psychologist.
Sheltered People: Homeless in Santa Barbara
The needs of homeless people in Santa Barbara are not entirely met by the system of care currently in place to serve them. I sought answers to this shortfall by interviewing care providers, city officials, and the Homeless themselves. Inspired by Paolo Freire’s concept of “conscientization”, an action/reflection process, I hoped to become a liaison between the helpers and the helped. I focussed mainly on the problem (acute in Santa Barbara) of housing. This summer, important steps were taken by the City and County of Santa Barbara to legalize the parking of RVs (which serve as homes for people currently labeled “homeless”) and I was able to participate in this effort in small way.
My principal site was the Shelter on Cacique Street in Santa Barbara where I served food, hung out, observed, and talked to people. Although the Shelter was quiet on the days that I was there, I was aware of the potential for violence and protective of myself in that charged and unpredictable atmosphere. My interviews took place there, as well as on the street, in people’s RV homes, by e mail, in offices, at City Hall, and on the street. I sought to come into an understanding of the difficulties and considerations in the work of members of the helping professions of Santa Barbara, as well as the challenges faced by the homeless population, who struggle to survive.
The Academy of Healing Arts for Teens
The Academy of Healing Arts for Teens (AHA) is a non-profit project of the Family Therapy Institute. The co-directors Jennifer Freed and Rendy Freedman created AHA to fill a gap in our teenagers education of relational and mystical intelligence. AHA began as summer intensive with classes including: Eracism, Mythic Intelligence, Stress Less, Chi Gong, Body Intelligence, Performance Poetry, Acting Improvisation, Yoga, and Listening Council. The program focused on diversity issues, creativity, and social responsibility and hosted 19 teenagers ages 12-19 in classes conducted by over 14 diverse faculty. AHA now continues as an after school training program for teens.
The Interdependent Self and Sustainable Economics: How Psyche Imagines Rootedness to Ecological, Spiritual and Fiscal Sustenance
Sustainability has become a trans-disciplinary buzzword as indicated by our environmental and cultural crises. My project explored the relationship between psyche (the alleged internal field) and sustainability (the alleged external field). My intention was to listen into the longings that remain in shadow as a result of our cultural splits--mind from body, nature from culture, economics from environment, emotion from intellect, rational from intuitive, Newtonian physics from the quantum.
I conducted one-on-one interviews concerning “sustainability” with 20 people from the legal, business, education, agricultural, financial, development, medical, cultural and environmental professions in Eugene, Oregon. I witnessed how “listening into” the field in turn created “third spaces” or provided access into the Imaginal where new meanings and images were generated. My hope was to experience how the act of listening might transform the abstract into the personal (thus collapsing dualisms) and organically make explicate a deepened consciousness regarding what might sustain us--individually and collectively.
Cancer: Metaphor and Meaning
Site: Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center, Pomona, CA 91767
This qualitative study of cancer's metaphors and meaning was approached from the perspective of deep and sacred listening. In addition to working as a volunteer in a cancer care center, I also "listened" to myriad voices from a number of sources: a conference sponsored by the American Cancer Society; a workshop on psycho-oncology counseling, the media, environmentalists, alternative medicine, autobiographies, and my own dream journals. I also drew upon artwork, poetry, and music created by cancer survivors. Results suggest that by listening for meaning associated with illness, and by exploring the metaphors surrounding cancer, we may open up new avenues for healing at the soul level. Perhaps, in a very real sense, cancer can be seen as a metaphor for the rupture that exists within modern society, and as a challenge to us to find new ways of relating with ourselves, each other, and with our world.
Re-membering Ourselves to Place
Site: Catalina Island Conservancy Education Department
P.O. Box 2739, Avalon, CA 90704
Ancient philosophers argued that divine providence, the gods, had filled the earth with an animating presence, which bestows places with their unique characteristics and virtues. If we maintain the perspective that spirits ñ the gods- inhabit place, then it seems likely that where we are born, and the places in which we live, will call us into participation with these spirits. In the tradition of depth psychology, it is when we forget the gods that they become cultural, environmental and personal pathologies. How does one recognize the Gods that inhabit place?
I documented the memories of seven people who are actively engaged with the island, including a local Native American storyteller, a potter, two fishermen, an amateur geologist, a Catalina Island Conservancy worker, and a project manager for the Eagle Restoration Project. I have examined, through a variety literature studies the human history and exploitation of the island. Some of my information came as a result of my experience with the Catalina Island Conservancy during which time I served as a volunteer in the education department.
Call it Home: The House that Humanity Built
Jennifer L. Selig
Habitat For Humanity
This summer I spent two weeks in Taos, New Mexico, building homes with a Habitat for Humanity Global Village team. I was prepared to write my paper on the experience of transformation that occurs within Habitat, both for the families who receive homes and for the volunteers who build them. However, what caught me off-guard was how much the experience was transcendental, as well as transformative, and it is the former that I focus on in my paper. I conclude that paper with these lines: "Finally, if you ask me at the conclusion of this project what is it about Habitat for Humanity that provides a space for such experiences of transformation and transcendence, what I believe to be the miraculous third where the two become one and are increased by one, I might not respond at all. I might break into tears when I recall the beauty of it all, or I might break into laugher when I recall the joy of it all. If I can gather my voice together at all, I might call it Grace, Love, Unity Consciousness, God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Or I might just call it. . . Home."
Leadership and Community Activism
Over the past decade, there has been a great deal of focus and emphasis within our culture upon the notion of leadership in organizational, governmental, and community leadership. From this interest has evolved a significant body of research and literature that has tended to be academic and theoretical or, grounded in the principles of production efficiencies and organizational structures. From these two philosophical orientations, the field of Leadership Studies generates ideas that tend to be either reflection without action, or action without reflection. Effective community activism however, calls us to articulate other forms of leadership, leadership which encourages reflective action and participation.
The goal and purpose of this Fieldwork effort has been to find ways to look and listen more deeply into our accepted conventions and theories of leadership and its relationship to community activism. By drawing upon Myles Horton's workshop models, Paulo Freire's notions of praxis, and David Bohm's techniques of dialogue, we have attempted to begin a process through which a Model for the Praxis of Effective Community Leadership might be envisioned and articulated.
Working under the umbrella and sponsorship of our County Leadership Organization, a day-long conference was organized to provide a format and container within which to begin this process. Groups of individuals from other communities were invited who had been identified as having been engaged in various, specific, concrete forms of community activism. This Conference on Community Leadership then became a day of dialogue and learning that has allowed some of the deeper, more subtle language and images of effective community leadership to emerge and find expression.
We need, I believe, to recognize that "looking" is always an intervention whether we like it, or accept it, or not. Not intervening, turning away, is its own form of intervention. Social scientists, (most notably anthropologists) in the last few decades have noted that their very presence affects the nature of their analysis. We are all actors and this, in the most global sense, is our paso de dos. Our choice is how, not whether, to participate.
Witnessing entails the acceptance of the "heavy weight of sorrow," and it entails responsibility. And its not without its own risks. Se paga por ver (one pays for looking). Like others who write against violence, I too have wished for more options, better scripts, braver interventions. But witnessing, however singular and limited, is vital. It might help broaden the scope of the possible, expand the audience, and allow for a wider range of responses. Thus I join my perspective to others' - internal and external witnesses, historians, researchers, artists - who have struggled with the problem of documenting and representing violence. My role in this drama is not to keep quiet, but to be a better spect-actor. For it is against the diminishment of our complex and interconnected visions that we must struggle. Diana Taylor, Disappearing Acts, pp. 264, 265
Rather than an act of self indulgence, spectatorship might become an act of self-confrontation. It is therefore not a question of communicating across borders but of discerning the force which generate the borders in the first place. The descendants of slave ships and the descendants of immigrant ships cannot look at the same Washington Monument, or Ellis Island, through exactly the same viewfinder. But these historical gaps in perception do not preclude alliances, dialogical coalitions, intercommunal identifications and affinities. The point is not to embrace the other perspective completely but at least to recognize it, acknowledge it, take it into account, be ready to be transformed by it. Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism, p. 359
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