IN PERSON Summer Intensive
June 24 – July 12, 2024
In person, Portland Oregon
100 hours, three weeks
immersing in processwork community
gorgeous summer Portland
not to be missed
In person, Portland Oregon
100 hours, three weeks
immersing in processwork community
gorgeous summer Portland
not to be missed
Processwork Essentials includes six mini-intensives January – June 2024 covering Structural Skills, Depths of Dreaming, Body Dreaming, Relationship Interventions, Altered and Extreme States, and Group Facilitation.
Part 1: Jan. 31-Feb 2nd, Structural Skills
Part 2: Feb. 28-March 1st, Depths of Dreaming
Part 3: March 27-29, Body Dreaming
Part 4: April 24-26, Relationship Interventions
Part 5: May 22-24, Exploring Altered and Extreme States
Part 6: June 19-21, Applications, Challenges, and Interventions in Group Facilitation
Dawn invites you to join one or all of the series and co-create a learning community across borders. Each mini-intensive will include opportunity for practice as well as theory and community conversation.
In the Structural Skills online mini-intensive, part 1 of the Processwork Essentials Series, we deeply investigate process structure within the framework of Processwork. Over three consecutive days, Jan. 31-Feb 2nd, 10am-12noon Pacific, we uncover the subtle intricacies and complexities inherent in various process manifestations and dynamics. Dawn will focus on the complex area of dreaming up and how to make the therapist’s experiences useful. Attend live sessions or catch up with recordings on demand. Ask questions in the private online discussion space. Participants develop confidence in identifying, comprehending, and effectively engaging with these intricate structures, gaining practical skills for real-world applications. Through interactive sessions and discussions, this course aims to enhance practitioners’ abilities in discerning and navigating the nuances of process dynamics, empowering them for more adept professional practice.
This mini-intensive and the full series is meant for students of Processwork, whether you are enrolled in a program or have been exploring on your own and just want to learn more. A basic understanding of Processwork is assumed in order to appreciate the depth of material that we will cover.
$240 per Mini-Intensive, or Bundle the Series of 6 for $1,200 and save $240.
PWI recognizes the global and systemic forces that unequally impact people’s opportunities to participate. If you are from an emerging economy or carrying the burden of systemic inequality and impacted by financial disadvantage, please choose the equity rate ($168) by registering with this link:
Dawn Menken, Ph.D., certified Process Worker, (she/her/hers) has been working in the field of psychology and facilitator development for 40 years. She is an internationally respected educator, facilitator, therapist, leadership coach, and conflict resolution specialist. She is a co-founder of the Process Work Institute, where she co-created its masters programs and served as academic dean for more than a decade. Her most recent award-winning book, Facilitating A More Perfect Union: A Guide for Politicians and Leaders, introduces new ideas to support leaders, particularly those in the public sphere. In all of her endeavors she is moved to improve social discourse and inspire more meaningful civic engagement.
Dawn is a thought leader and change agent who brings her gifts to a variety of sectors. Her parenting book, Raising Parents Raising Kids: Hands-on Wisdom for the Next Generation, offers a groundbreaking approach to parenting and has been described as “… a must read for everybody who cares about the state of our relationships and our world.” 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 more welcoming school communities. She is a passionate teacher and facilitator with a special devotion to relationship and building sustainable community. She is based in Portland, Oregon.
by Jon Biemer
Ghandi reportedly said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I wear it on a couple tee-shirts. I believe in it. My particular focus is environmental action. How do I put this advice into practice? How do I motivate others to do likewise?
Processwork offers some powerful strategies to consider.
In addition to hearing and seeing, Processwork tells us that relationship is a channel through which we communicate at a deeper level. Just by openly sharing environmental values, peers influence each other.
My local business association values me as a good facilitator who also calls himself an environmentalist. Because of my involvement, our annual celebration featured the Johnson Creek Watershed Council pitching its cause.
The church I belong to devoted one collection a month for a year to support environmental justice causes. We raised $4000 while learning about a dozen worthwhile organizations, including Outgrowing Hunger (community gardens), Sustainable Northwest (rural development), and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon (“training the next generation of movement leaders”).
My friend Kenneth urged me to address food in my book about sustainability. Energy is my career expertise, but thanks to his relationship-channel influence, I learned about regenerative agriculture, what an organic label means, and the importance of perennials like fruit and nuts.
My wife and I regularly influence each other in our environmental practices. When Willow wanted to turn our lawn into a food forest, I did most of the sheet mulching with cardboard and woodchips. My book on sustainability was almost ready to send to the publisher, when Willow told me how she replaces disposables with reusables and toxics with non-toxics, and how she avoids petroleum-based clothing. That became Chapter 2, “Little Things Add Up.”
Community is an extended form of relationship. When I wanted to give away two filing cabinets, our next-door neighbor posted a notice on the local Buy Nothing Project Facebook page and found someone who needed them. Two neighbors on our street were inspired by our food forest to convert their front yards into gardens. Within walking distance of our house, we now have three tiny libraries perched like birdhouses on street-side posts.
Processwork advises that we follow the process. Rites of passage definitely offer opportunities to embrace our environmental values.
How about when you go to college? I know of three young people, daughters of my friends, who chose environmental science majors upon leaving secondary school. Honest.
In 1975, I became disillusioned with my job in aerospace and frustrated by a non-existent love life. One day a manager invited me to come to his home to a talk about the problems with nuclear power. This proved to the moment when I found my calling to work on solar energy and energy conservation. My social life improved remarkably as I followed that path.
The kids leaving home and retirement also invite creative responses. My wife Willow and I moved to a much smaller house when my youngest son moved out; that reduced our monthly payments enough for me to accept a Voluntary Early Retirement from the utility company where I worked. I chose to call it a “graduation” – and broadened my work in sustainability. This led eventually to my recently published book. Melanie Platt, a pediatrician who retired, translated her organizing skills into a new career with 350PDX.org. She leads their Fossil Fuel Resistance Team.
Another Processwork teaching is we have the attributes of those we admire.
John James Audubon helped us love the environment with beautiful pictures of birds. Is there an environmental artist inside of you? Muhammad, founder of Islam, forbade killing animals for sport and felling trees in the desert. He set aside areas where native plants could not be cut and wild animals could not be hunted. What prophetic environmental message are you called to share? My wife is on a mission to avoid plastics.
Howard Zahniser shepherded the Wilderness Act through sixty-six rewrites. The Howard Zahniser inside me persevered through innumerable rewrites and queries to bring my book to fruition.
Rachel Carson, in writing The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring, successfully combined her career in science with her love of writing. This emboldens me to believe I can do the same with engineering, spirituality and writing. In fact, Processwork suggests that we dance with seemingly conflicted energies until one dance emerges.
Advice From Your Future Self
Another Processwork exercise goes like this: Visualize yourself at ninety years of age, satisfied with leading a fulfilling life. As you look back to this point in time, recognize that this was when you made a decision that made all the difference. What did you do?
Let’s tease your environmental action out of this exercise. What action of yours could ripple out to help the world and/or ripple forward to give you satisfaction in old age?
Being a Climate Action Counselor
A recent Processwork class paired me with another student to learn about our unique facilitator styles. Using his facilitator style, he shared this observation about me: You might be more effective as a counselor than an expert. Hmmm… I am not an expert on your situation, but I can ask helpful questions;
In offering such questions, I ask people I meet to dream. Processwork teaches us that dreams, whether sleeping or awake, are powerful. They lead us to action.
By Jon Biemer,
Photo credit (Jon): Tode Oshin
Jon Biemer earned a Certificate in Process-oriented Psychology in 2014. He is the author of Our Environmental Handprints: Recover the Land, Reverse Global Warming, Reclaim the Future, published by Roman & Littlefield. It offers 178 Handprint opportunities to create a more sustainable world. For details check out Jon’s website at www.JonBiemer.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit (landscape): Martin Damboldt
By Agnieszka Olszewska–Kaczmarek
In everyday life, we often meet people who are in relationships that bring them more suffering than benefits. One of the parties, despite repeated injuries and a sense of unfulfillment and even unhappiness, remains in the relationship or walks away just to return in a moment.
On the other side is a partner who is addicted, notoriously fails to keep promises, and may even commit physical or psychological violence. This partner may also cheat, mentally humiliate, and rarely if ever appreciate the other partner.
Gender Norms can Contribute to Disfunction
Gender configurations are changing and the hurtful behaviors themselves can be further strengthened by cultural patterns defining what is okay, acceptable and even desirable in the behavior of a woman or a man and what is absolutely “not appropriate”.
Entanglement can also take the form of constantly waiting for someone who is unreachable or returning in memories to someone who passed away many years earlier. Looking at such an image from some distance, we wonder how this is possible.
The Relationship High Dream
Of course, there are many reasons for such pattern developments: the family home, economic dependence, low self-esteem, cultural messages, lack of contact with one’s own feelings and needs, guilt etc. One of the elements of this puzzle, to which Processwork draws attention, is the high dream (a term coined by the founder of the method, Dr Arnold Mindell).
Simply put, in the context of relationships, this is our deepest vision of the desired relationship. Each and every one of us has our own unique version of such a dream relationship. For one person, it will be a constant mutual motivation for development; many hours of intellectual discussions and trips to the mountains. For another, raising children together and mutual daily care.
Someone may dream of emotional quarrels followed by equally fiery sexual intercourse. There are as many relationship high dreams as there are people in the world, and each of these dreams is a complex mosaic of behaviors, features and moods that we deeply desire.
The High Dream Points to Our Deepest Needs
A high dream is connected with our deepest needs, which is why it is an integral part of ourselves, and it demands fulfillment. When we fall in love, we often attribute the object of our feelings with the characteristics of our dream.
Someone has a strong presence or personality or dream figure and we associate it with care and providing us with a sense of security. Someone else smiles impishly and we can already see through our imagination how we run together lightly in a meadow away from all the world’s problems. We get gifts or compliments and we are filled with a sense of importance and uniqueness.
In some relationships the bond deepens over time, in others the initial incentives disappear in the face of disproportionately more frequent injuries. The need for love, the desire to fulfill the deep dream that we carry in the middle of our soul can cause us to persistently stick to the person with whom our dream emerged.
Exaggerating the Positive
We focus excessive attention on a positive event, exaggerating its significance, while ignoring a whole series of negative experiences. We consciously or unconsciously choose to ignore, overlook or rationalize obvious red flags. A bouquet of flowers given in the morning cancels another multi-day drinking binge. A nice text message annuls weeks
of silence. It may also be that there is nothing good any more, but we believe that if we try harder, the dream will come true.
Therapy Using the High Dream
Therapy can help you explore relationship high dreams and get closer to their realization. In the process of building a satisfying life, it is often important to stand firmly and embrace our high dream. If we fully recognize that we deserve good experiences, it is easier for us to consciously assess whether what we desire really happens in reality.
On this path we will probably meet beliefs that stand in opposition to our high dream: “There are no such sensitive men.” “I’m too old.” “The role of a woman is to sacrifice,” etc.
Memories of negative experiences from our first relationships with caretakers may come back. The therapeutic process helps heal old wounds and build new, favorable mental, emotional and psychological patterns.
Embodying our own High Dream
At the same time, and sometimes surprisingly so, we discover many of these beautiful features that we attribute to others are parts of ourselves. These areas are ones that have long demanded to come to our awareness. In this way, we also become a fulfilled dream about ourselves.
By Agnieszka Olszewska–Kaczmarek, MA, MAPOF
Agnieszka Olszewska – Kaczmarek is a psychologist and psychotherapist. She completed her master’s in Processwork at the Process Work Institute in 2020. She lives in Poland and works in a psychiatric hospital for children and teenagers and at the Center For Women Rights and has a private practice. Agnieszka is also a singer-songwriter, performing under her stage name Back To The Ocean.
Learn more about Agnieszka’s therapy practice:
And hear some of her music:
This article first appeared in Polish at Psycheexpert.pl on 4/23/20. This English version was edited by MaryJo Radosevich, MBA.
Photo Credit: Maria Orlova https://www.pexels.com/photo/young-multiracial-women-leaning-to-each-other-4906336/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
by Rhea Shapiro
All of us with an abuse or trauma background, especially in early childhood, live with the remnants of these parts of our lives in different ways. A common result is an inner voice that is anything but kind or supportive. This voice echoes the tyrant or “ism” that we lived with and endured with no power to stop them. If we have survived into adulthood we have that tyrannical and critical voice inside us. It doesn’t stop. We have to work it. We have to work against it and with it.
This is a mythic challenge represented by the “wrathful deity” of Tibetan Buddhism. We can learn to interact, wrestle, kill, re-educate, change and finally even love this inner part of ourselves. I recall Pogo, the comic strip character’s famous quip: “ I have met the enemy and it is me!” which is completely applicable here.
How do we notice, work with, and transform these voices, including the habits and repeating loops we develop? After all, these critics usually have all the secondary powers our primary identities are searching for.
The process of creating a more fluid inner ecology takes time; working back and forth, up and down, in and out, repeating, forgetting, re-repeating and slowly our inner atmospheres can shift.
Noticing Comes First
For many, this voice actually hides in its everyday form. We are so used to an inner climate of negativity that we don’t question it. We are hypnotized by the normality in our inner world; not expecting to do well or to be liked or loved; actually expecting to fail or be rejected; never doing well enough to satisfy this voice.
Where once this voice might have kept us safe from an abusive adult that frightened or negated us – we learned not to speak out, disagree or rock the boat – now it is just this old familiar loop that no longer serves us. It keeps us from actualizing our full potentials and enjoying a life that a human being is meant to live.
Pulling back our projections is also noticing. A good rule of thumb (because we internalize oppression); if it is happening outside, it is also happening inside.
Creating Relationship: Wrestling
The inner critic usually operates in the inner auditory channel, through our often unconscious ideas and thoughts about ourselves. Creating a new relationship with this inner role means engaging this voice and practicing inner relationship work. This includes standing up, fighting with that critic and recruiting allies, real and imagined. We use our creativity and all perceptual channels here: movement, sound, language, art and feelings – both body and emotion – as we create a more fluid relationship with this spirit.
These critical voices are not used to being challenged and can be quite rigid and mean. Up to this point, it has been top dog in an open field with little resistance. Keep going.
The critic is an inner role that can shift. With time and work, you can create a new relationship with it, and a more fluid and sustainable atmosphere inside yourself. Remember, as a 4 year old once announced to me: “I am the boss of myself!”
After challenging – and challenging and challenging – the inner critic, we can begin to dialogue with it. We find out what exactly it is saying, thinking and feeling. Critics are often too general, and when really challenged they get to the edge of their known world.
Working at that edge to create more specificity brings change, and power can shift. To do this one must learn to really enter the critic’s role and walk in their shoes. This is phase three of Arnold Mindell’s Four Phases of Conflict.
We are working to embody the energy of the critic, not the Consensus Reality figure from our past. We explore the characteristics of the critic as a path to that energy.
Re-educating the Critic
As we begin to allow ourselves to embody the outer aspects of the critic, – masks and theater are helpful here – we may get to know the stories and feelings behind its meanness and small mindedness.
Critics hold our suffering in a different way than our primary identities, which usually identify as victims of the abuse. Inner critics have internalized the power of the abuser.
Just as the victim can practice fluidity and begin to more consciously use the power of the abuser, so can the inner critic shift, develop and change. This fluidity needs to be imagined as a possibility. Then, in fits and starts, it can be introduced into the inner relationship between the victim and critic. This is a good example of a “Path Made by Walking”, which is also the title of a great introductory book about Processwork, by Julie Diamond and Lee Spark Jones (now Caroline Jones).
As it says in the I-Ching; Perseverance Furthers!
You will be rewarded as this critical inner figure slowly develops into a critical awareness that works with you, supporting you to process your life experiences.
Practicing with the Essence Level
This is the inner elder who uses Big Mind and Great Compassion – phase four of conflict – to create more spaciousness and friendliness inside. Working with the essence level tunnels underneath the polarity created by the critic. There you find its essence, and you can use that to work with the critic itself.
There can be relief from the critic’s meanness when you dance the energies in the victim/critic polarity, and move into your nature spot and out into a universe dance. (See Arnold Mindell’s The Universe Dance.)
The World Channel
Work in the world helps to integrate our newfound powers, as we use our critical awareness to process world problems and energies.
We all have the power to shift and grow this inner figure and develop a more fluid inner ecology. May the force be with you! And may you realize this great journey to yourself.
By Rhea Shapiro, Dipl. PW
Rhea is a longtime processworker living in Portland, Oregon. Processing is her life’s continual joy and challenge. Rhea’s favorite quotes from Arny Mindell are; “Oh boy, we’re in a mess now!” and; “Each of us is a full-time group-process.” These quotes remind her to remember process when working with clients and herself. They bring an overall engagement, patience, compassion and even a sense of humor when working with so much life experience.
Image credit: Sergey Noskov, Fine Art America
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.
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
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.
Please take a look at our upcoming courses. https://www.processwork.edu/upcoming-courses/[ESPRESSO_CALENDAR event_category_id=upcoming]