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Befriending Spiders: Corona and Unpredictable Fields

by Peter Mascher

When the school and kindergarten in our small village was closed on March 13th this year, the practical consequences of the Corona pandemic reached us as well.

I have to say that Heckenbeck, a village of 500 inhabitants has not experienced a single illness to date, so I am writing from a very privileged position, with only a partial knowledge of how much other people are actually affected, up to and including an existential and health threat.

The Fear Everywhere Feels Like War

The news affected me and even more impactful is the fear that was constantly felt everywhere, that is now arising anew with the approach of autumn.

The baker in the neighboring village spoke of a war situation and there were plenty of slogans of perseverance.  However, the “enemy” was hardly to be grasped and could only be felt when one was already infected.

It is like a completely unpredictable atmosphere, a field that reminded me of some documentaries of Nazi Germany.  When the Gestapo, the secret state police, knocked at the door, it was too late for escape.

Again, people today are manipulated with this fear of unpredictability, driven out of their inner balance and thereby fall into existential distress.

My Childhood Dream

This reminds me of my first recurring childhood dream.

It was short and clear: many spiders were running towards me approaching me from several directions.  I was very scared.

I woke up and called for my mother, who then calmed me down so I fell asleep again.

It wasn’t clear in my dream which of the spiders would possibly bite me, it seemed more like an extended threat, like a “web” from which I couldn’t escape.

In my inner work I connected this dream with my family environment at that time, which was characterized by tensions between my parents.  These tensions unconsciously transferred to me as a child and escalated in later years.  The role my mother took was also ambivalent; she reassured me, but she was also the source of much of the tension in our family.

The experience of an uncertain field around me seems to have accompanied me all my life and has now been revived in these Corona times.

Integrating the Spiders’ Powers

Over many years, with the help of wonderful Processwork therapists, I developed a positive relationship with the spiders and sufficiently integrated their strength and message.  There is a certain power in these animals and the ability to build webs and thus provide for themselves.  In some of my more lucid dreams I enjoy flying around like Spiderman.  This heroic cartoon figure and I make sure that dangerous figures are safely wrapped in nets.

I learned something about my task in this world, to create webs of support that are virtually invisible and nevertheless constantly available to us humans everywhere.

On the spiritual level these are blessings, or “stardust”; the subtle messages of the universe, which we often ignore during our daily activities and simply wipe away.

Is it possible that the corona virus wants to teach us to perceive more of the subtle signals and structures of our complex reality?

Would it be possible to encounter an unpredictable field so early that there is less powerlessness and fear?

The Sentient Message in the Virus

Now I remember the Big U; the possible path of love, as I think of Arnold Mindell’s words in the context of a second training seminar in Tokyo in 2004.

I go deep into a sentient practice.

Since the virus brings with it an engagement with sickness and death, I follow this energy and go into minimizing impulses and into the perception of subtle signals.

In my imagination, the virus penetrates me and changes something inside of me.

During this time my breath is also minimized and I move into stillness.

It is a journey into the deep essence of my being.

Just like the spiders from my childhood dream, the virus is no longer my enemy.

The message becomes clear: “Accept change and learn to trust your fine sensory perception; your sentient awareness.  It leads you to your wise inner place and at the same time far out into the universe.“

The fear of illness and death disappears in me.  I feel a deep connection to the processmind, a non-local intelligence that permeates all the processes of my life and constantly provides for change.

Does that help in the practical handling of the corona field?

Yes, I allow myself to be manipulated much less by the fears and beliefs of other people without ignoring the “consensus reality” of the actual events.  I also feel much more connected to the people who actually need help.

Relating to my Inner Child

My relationship to myself has also changed.

I asked myself, what part of me is actually having the experience, and what part of me is particularly evident in the inner work?

It is not the adult in me who is afraid of corona, but the child in me who is afraid of this unpredictable danger, as in my early spider dream.

My “inner child” remembers the uncertain situations in my childhood and now wants to be noticed and held.  I experience it as essential that my “adult me” from the closeness to the essence level offers my “inner child” a space of acceptance and a feeling of being well cared for.  It is my experience that my inner nurtured child helps me to better engage with the challenges and conflicts of life.

It is not only my adult identity that accepts the challenge, but the child within me appears as an inner dream figure and sets a process in motion that would otherwise have remained hidden and secondary in the background.

As soon as our early childhood roots experience healing in this way, our “tree of life” grows with new strength in a wonderful magic way.

“Children we love become adults who love.”  It is never too late for that!

 

By Peter Mascher, Dipl. PW

As a professional musician for over 30 years, Peter Mascher has had a lifelong affair with his beloved instrument, the viola.  During that time, his self-realization as a musician grew into a spiritual quest.

He is passionate about working with people and supporting them to contact their personal wisdom and essence states of consciousness.  His non-dual perspective of our world forms the core base of his training for conflict resolution, health and relationships.

He has his own practice in his home village, Heckenbeck/Germany working as a facilitator and innovative coach with clients and groups within the private and business sector.

His book, “Dreaming Rocks-Journeys on the Inner Mountain” will be released this fall.

You can read more about Peter and his work at, www.seedplanters.net

 

Photo Credit: Egor Kamalev

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Intervening in Racism; Key to Cultural Change

As Black America stands up and refuses to take any more government licensed brutality, joined by other people of color and white allies, all of us are called to assess our values and what we contribute to immanent cultural change.  Over the past four years, I have been pessimistic about the direction of that change.  Now, the abundant energy of the Black Lives Matter protests, fueled by the financial deprivation and confinement of the Covid crisis (which disproportionately hits African and Native Americans) gives me real hope.

Racism

Racial oppression, beginning with colonialism, genocide and slavery, and continuing with mass incarceration of people of color today, is an integral part of US and global culture.  It shares common roots with all the scourges of our world: misogyny and rape culture, homo-and-transphobia, capitalist greed and poverty, cultural genocide, ableism and environmental destruction.  It is far broader than the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others.  Everyday racism, from physical violence to microaggressions that white people don’t notice on systemic and personal levels, is a constant pressure on people of color.  It is a massive public health crisis.

Racism has been with us a long time.  It is taking, and will continue to take, a lot of work to uproot and change.  White people need to step up more, face our responsibility and work harder for that change.

Cultural Myths

C.G. Jung worked with individuals on lifelong patterns through the lens of a life-myth, symbolized in an early dream or memory.  In Processwork, we also apply this to groups, organizations and whole cultures.

Our cultural myths appear in the stories we tell.  Novels, movies and songs can be seen as our collective nighttime dreams, while the bigger tales; religious texts and origin stories are symbolic of our cultural trajectory.

Old Stories

In the oldest stories, humans are part of nature.  Other species have equal importance, and spirit is present and inseparable from the material world.  Native American nations of the southwest tell how Coyote creates the world.  In the northwest it is Raven, who also brings light.  In Indigenous Australian wisdom Dreamtime gives rise to our reality, co-created by animals, plants and rocks.  Nature is sacred, and humans are dependent on her.  Ancient Celtic stories, and old stories from African and Asian countries contain a similar profound reverence for all life.

The essence experience of wonder about existence, the awe and understanding that another being – whether flower or human – is as amazing as ourselves, is key.  When we live from this place, debasement and impersonal violence are not possible.

Myths That Disconnect Us

In contrast, the Judeo-Christian-Islamic story of Genesis places humans above nature and separates out spirit and wonder.  Many interpret Adam’s stewardship of other species as license or even a mandate to use, abuse and destroy.  Too often white people extend this to humans they see as different from themselves.

The elevation of white European style culture over nature and other peoples can also be understood from the many stories where a Christian figure destroys a wild beast.  These stories include Beowulf and Grendel, St George and the Dragon, and St Patrick expelling the snakes.

Until recently, science hasn’t given us a better alternative.  Our current materialism tells a sterile story of the big bang and a meaningless, chemical origin of life.  It’s a short step from this to nihilism and apathy.  Senseless consumerism and numbing to disaster and harm to others are not a necessary consequence of scientific materialism, but without dedication to humanist ethics, it is where many of us live.

New Return to Old Wisdom

It’s time for a new cultural myth, or return to old and indigenous ones.  There is room to reinterpret Genesis as God entrusting humans with responsibility to care for nature, not dominate her.  Christians can refocus on Christ’s actual core message; equality and love for all.

Quantum science and many psychologies are re-centering consciousness in our understanding of life.  Reflecting back wisdom present in Indian traditions for thousands of years, as well as indigenous knowledge the world over, new science tells us consciousness is the foundation of existence.

If we choose to live and relate from knowing all things are conscious, we will have a wondrous relationship to everything.  It will be much harder to cut off our innate sense of empathy, the curiosity and sense of connection that all children show.

We need to adopt global cultural myths that guide us to actively care what other people experience.

Practical Tools

On a more practical level, Processwork also gives us tools for understanding and working with the roles present in oppression.  These roles are similar whether on a systemic level, in a specific situation, or even within an individual.

Roles

The roles of oppression are victim, perpetrator and witness.  In systemic racism, those roles are inhabited by people of color, white supremacy groups including corrupt police and other agencies, and the public and political systems.  It is not enough that only people of color and some white people bear witness and understand racial oppression.  All white people need to shoulder our responsibility, be present and make change.

When the witness goes beyond observing and intervenes in the abuse, they change the whole story and shift us from the myth of disconnection into our essence of caring for all life.  They connect us to our new and ancient myths and create sustainable cultural change.

Role Transformation

As the witness tranforms into the intervener – and in the case of systemic oppression the public and political systems are by far the most powerful part – the oppression is halted.  The victim role can begin to transform to the thriver, and the perpetrator also has the opportunity to change.  If they decide to, the perpetrator can use their power for the common good instead of against it.  St. George, instead of slaying the dragon can choose to be a noble protector.

Inner Roles

These roles also live inside us as internalized oppression.  In her excellent TED talk, Zed Xaba describes working on internalized racial oppression.

White people who work to be allies also have racist parts inside us, as well as our own internal oppression, which comes out unconsciously and harms people of color.  We have to do our inner work too.

Inside the white supremacist, these roles also play themselves out.  It is traumatic to teach a child to hate other humans.  The adult that child becomes must continuously oppress their innate sensitivity to maintain that hate.

Change is Coming

In this moment, as I hear helicopters again over the protests in the city of Portland, our cultural witness role has stepped into the intervener against systemic racism.

Everyday people are flooding the streets of 430 US cities and many other cities worldwide in sustained response to the brutal murder of George Floyd.  Many city and local governments are responding to this call.  Our current federal government may not be able to hear, care or shift, but as described in the Chinese classic the I Ching, in times of change, what is too rigid will eventually break.

 

Take Action:

Please consider donating to Black Lives Matter, or to a local organization such as Don’t Shoot Portland

Support black owned businesses countrywide and local to Portland

Further Resources:

Join this online anti-racism training by Raggi Kotak, Challenging the Dynamics of Racism

Learn about racism as a public health crisis at Right to Health

Learn about internalized oppression from Zed Xaba

Reading and other resources, and other organizations to support can be found here, here and here

 

 

by Elva Redwood, MA, PW Dipl., Managing Editor

Elva Wolf Redwood is a Processwork Diplomate practicing with individuals, couples and organizations in Portland, Oregon, USA, and on-line.  They are a writer and a lover of dogs, fermented foods and knitting.  They repeatedly commit to intervening in oppression of all kinds, wherever they find it, and to work on climate justice.  They are drawn particularly to work with artists, activists, culture changers and anyone addressing developmental trauma.

Pronouns: them/they/their

elvaredwood.com

Deep in your heart, deep in the quietness of the night, your grandest visions include hope for the future of humanity and the planet earth. Formulate those grand visions now …

After thinking of these visions, consider how you can model them in all that you do.  Imagine right now using your vision, and see yourself modeling it.

 

Amplify your vision with the following ‘addition’: n

ature moves us; our job is to make these movements conscious and useful. Dreams and emotions, love and anger happen.

 

Our job is to guide these feelings so that they enrich our own and everybody else’s life, the life of all sentient beings. This ‘addition’ to your vision implies that life itself is a sacred event, even though it sometimes seems impossible.

 

Life is not just a problem, but a kind of spiritual fighting ring, a temple requiring your utmost ability and wisdom. Nothing less than the grandest part of you is needed in an ultimate situation. The present moment is an opportunity, not only a threatening catastrophe.

 

Amy and Arnold Mindell. (2003). Short recipe for resolving conflict crises. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 1(1), 64–68.

Why Manifestation Doesn’t Always Work: A Process Perspective

By Jeanell Innerarity

If you’ve engaged in personal growth work in the last fifteen years, you’ve probably dabbled in “manifestation.”  Manifestation hit the mainstream with the 2006 release of the documentary The Secret, which featured celebrities, philosophers, and even scientists talking about how they create their own reality by acting like it’s already real.  The movie claims that some of society’s biggest names have used this “secret” to get to ahead, and the rest of us can do the same.

Life is more Complex

If tuning in to the vibration of our goals is the only thing between us and our ideal reality, then why aren’t we there yet?  Did some of us stick the wrong images on our vision boards?  How come manifestation sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t?  I believe the missing piece in this conversation is PROCESS!

Process, if you know how to track it, is no secret.  The word “process” can be a noun or a verb and applies in many contexts, but it always implies that something is emerging naturally from what came before it.  As a Processworker, I track process by noticing what is more obvious or consciously known (primary), and facilitating opportunities for the less known (secondary) aspects of awareness to emerge.

The Secondary Process

How do I apply this when a client comes to me and says they want to “manifest” something?  The term manifestation gives me a clue: there’s a primary aspect of their awareness which has a goal, and a secondary aspect which has another plan entirely!

A client once came to me with enormous career goals.  Already the leader of an international organization, they wanted to manifest more power, money, and status.  However, they were exhausted.  Their shoulders were tied up in knots.  Their relationship and libido suffered.  They had been betrayed in a business deal and felt unable to trust.  Their primary process was success, but their secondary process was rest. 

What they thought they wanted to manifest was one-sided and oversimplified; it did not honor the complexity of their life and character, and was impossible to maintain without serious consequence.  When you marginalize significant aspects of your experience in order to manifest something, the secondary aspects of your process will eventually sabotage your efforts!

All the Isms

But what if what you’re honoring your full experience, yet you keep running into roadblocks?  When clients describe this scenario, I often find that classism, racism, homophobia, or other institutionalized biases are at play.  A person tries to manifest their dreams, and the world pushes back against them.

Does this mean they can’t get there?  Absolutely not!  With these clients (and within myself) I bring to light the process of internalized oppression—the way in which we repeat to ourselves the same critical and dangerous stories the world has fed us.  In this case, we must first fight the inner oppressor and pick up its power for ourselves!  The outside world may not immediately change, but when we stop agreeing with its insidious and abusive voices we can act with more confidence and at least avoid self-sabotage.  After we’ve laid a foundation for a less hurtful inner dialogue, we can strategize about how to take action, build alliances, and even change systems in the wider world.

If you experience societal oppression and believe—as many do—that manifesting your dreams is based solely on your own ability to visualize, then you will feel like a personal failure every time your dreams don’t come true.  In this case, the culture of manifestation becomes abusive; it tells people that the big isms—sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, etc.—are easy to overcome, thus erasing the pain, challenge, and grief of someone’s experience.  Not fertile soil for manifestation!

You Can’t Go Against Your Needs

It’s also nearly impossible to manifest an intention which overrides a fundamental need.  A classic example shows up in the field of weight loss.  How many millions of people have spent billions of dollars trying to lose weight, only to fail at the outset or gain back more than they lost?  If you eat to “be big” or take up space, to feel safe in your body, to feel free of the sexual gaze, or to experience comfort, then no amount of focusing on thinness will manifest your vision until you can feel these things on your own terms.  Additionally, the cultural emphasis on weight loss is a type of social oppression all its own, so it’s important to explore why you might want to lose weight in the first place.

Your True Nature

And finally, there’s destiny.  Processwork proposes that we each have a unique path in life: a certain type of trajectory, tendency, and dreaming process which shows up in our earliest childhood dream (or memory) and cycles back throughout our lives.  A sort of personal myth.  To harness the power of that myth is to live out your destiny!

In my earliest childhood dream, I disturb the status quo and wake up terrified of my own power.  Predictably, when I try to conform to the mainstream in my waking life it comes back to bite me;  it’s against my nature, which is to use my power to wake people up!  I can’t manifest something lasting if it isn’t “me;” when I’m true to who I am, extraordinary things manifest themselves in my favor.

Because of the impact of the secondary process, societal oppression, unmet needs, and personal destiny, manifestation doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does!  Sometimes, with astonishing quickness and accuracy, you wish for something and get what you wanted.  Is that just dumb luck?  Maybe occasionally!  More often, I’d say it’s akin to “going with the flow.”  When you learn to track and unfold your own process, when you align your choices with your true nature, and when you notice and act on synchronicities, you get out of your own way.  When you honor your needs and take back the power of the internalized oppressor, you open up possibilities for the intelligent universe to shower you with blessings!  It’s just that those blessings might look nothing like what you intended to manifest….

By Jeanell Innerarity, MAPOF, LMT (#22490)

Jeanell Innerarity facilitates personal healing with global impact.  She specializes in integrative work to help clients better understand their personal power through the lenses of ancestry, Earth connection, and somatic awareness.  She is the Founder and CEO of The EcoSpiritual Education Center LLC, where she provides group workshops, one-on-one counseling, and online education focused on personal development interwoven with ecological and social sustainability.  She holds an MA in Process Oriented Facilitation, a BA in Environmental Studies, is certified in Permaculture and Ecovillage Design, and is a Licensed Massage Therapist.  She recently completed her first novel.

Learn more about Jeanell’s work at Ecospiritual Education

Image credit: Jeanell Innerarity

TRU 2020 (July 13-17, 2020)

This 5-day intensive workshop is for teens aged 14-18 who want to develop their leadership capacity, build new friendships, impact their communities, and have fun doing it!

Teens will engage in creative activities to increase personal power, find their unique gifts, build communication skills, strengthen relationship and facilitate conflict within themselves and in groups.

We support youth in their own leadership by teaching them to believe in their innate creativity, to appreciate internal and external diversity and to forge real relationships across differences. We teach them the skills they will need in order to recognize, work with and resolve conflict.

TRU Youth Leadership Intensive July 13-17, 2020

Download (PDF, 83KB)

Upcoming Courses

Please take a look at our upcoming courses. https://www.processwork.edu/upcoming-courses/

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Process Work in Practice: Free Introductory Classes

Join Dawn Menken for Process Work in Practice: Free Introductory Classes

These free one-hour classes will present a Process Work approach to working with a variety of themes that emerge in our lives and in private practice. These short sessions are meant to introduce the public to a variety of Process Work applications but will also include ideas that can enhance learning for students and practitioners. These drop-in classes will occur monthly on-line.

First Thursday of each month

5:30-6:30pm Pacific Time

Online @ https://zoom.us/j/417364317

April 2 – Engaging with Dying, Death and Grief

Dawn Menken, Ph.D., is a conflict resolution educator, counselor, facilitator, and workshop presenter. She is a senior faculty member in the graduate program at the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon and was co-creator of its masters programs, serving as academic dean for ten years. She is the creator of Teens Rise Up (TRU), a cutting edge program that empowers and educates young people to step into their leadership, engage in honest dialogue, and co-create a more welcoming school community. She is the author of the award winning book, Raising Parents Raising Kids: Hands on Wisdom for the Next Generation. A dynamic teacher with a sharp mind and playful spirit, Dawn enjoys working with people from all cultures and backgrounds.  For more information see her website: www.dawnmenken.com

Winter Intensive 2020! January 19th – February 20th, 2020

Join us in 2020 for the 35th Annual Winter Intensive!

The Process Work Institute invites you to join us for our 35th Annual Winter Intensive Course to be held at the Process Work Institute in Portland, Oregon.  

January 19th – February 20th, 2020

EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 1st 

The course offers a unique opportunity to learn Process Work in an intensive format and within an international group setting. The course includes Process Work’s many applications and its most recent developments, and it is designed as an adult learning event. Participants will learn and study together by means of theory, experiential exercises, and group processes. Since the course attracts students from many nationalities, ethnic groups, and religious backgrounds, issues such as multiculturalism, diversity, and community building are part of the learning experience.

 

For more information and to register please visit: https://www.processwork.edu/public-programs/winter-intensive/

 

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