Dreaming the World

It is clear off towards the lake, and cold. Clouds lie thick over the hill to our south, obscuring the sun for now. When it does appear, it will be the wan sun of the winter solstice.

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I’ve been asked to train trainers in Egypt, Kenya, and India in 2018. I’m incredibly excited and honored. Working with the arts and with Playback Theatre has always been the powerful bones of my work.

In January 2018,  sponsored by The Global Alliance for Africa, a non-profit in Chicago Illinois, I’ll join several arts-based therapists working with artists, therapists, and gaasaf4community advocates who are aiding orphans in Karen, a town outside Nairobi. We’ll be in conversation with local professionals as we learn about their work, understand their needs, and share ideas. It is everyone’s expectation that the arts-based tools we share will greatly benefit workshop attendees, enhancing their effectiveness as therapists and educators, and enriching both their work and ours. In this work teachers and participants are all both facilitators and learners.For more information on GAA and their work:  Global Alliance for Africa

Educators and therapists around the world have expressed a great hunger to learn arts-based tools that support clients and address complex issues such as trauma. In my last trip to India in a psychodrama for Playback practitioners, we heard stories about DSC04302strength and resilience of people who experienced deep violence. I expect to support in creating this kind of safe container again, when I go back to Bangalore in June 2018 to work with the Actors Collective and Yours Truly Playback Theatre troupes both renowned and awarded companies.

And, in March, Im very excited to be working with Ben Rivers at the Dawar Arts Center 23000157_372336273178874_211023708324059649_oin Cairo, Egypt.The Dawar Arts Community in Cairo, Egypt has invited me to facilitate two trainings. Directed by Ben Rivers, Dawar “utilities participatory theatre, therapeutic drama and other arts-based processes for healing, dialogue and societal transformation from the grassroots up.” I’ll be working with therapists, caregivers, and other professionals seeking ways to integrate the expressive arts into their projects, practices, and communities. The first training will explore issues related to burnout using narrative therapy and the expressive arts; the second is an overall introduction to the potential and practices of expressive arts therapy field.


Because I volunteer much of what I do, I need to fundraise for travel. Please feel free to check out current fundraising project at FundMyTravel  Many hearts and hands can help, and if you donate, you can become part of  my travels too.No donations are too small. Thank you in advance!

High Holy Days

Dreaming the World

Each year, here in New England, Fall creeps down the mountains to the lakes and the ocean. A couple of weeks ago the weather was cool and damp, and our autumn color change was progressing rapidly. Then summer-like warmth and dryness returned and the change stopped abruptly, replaced by browning leaves and sudden leaf drop.

Something similar happened last year when, after a soggy first half of summer, drought set in. By mid-September we were pretty certain there would be no autumn color. Then, at the last moment, cool, rainy weather arrived saving the season. We’re hoping for another miraculous turnaround this year.

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Michael and I just came baqck from a 2480 mile road trip to the Midwest and Canada. Here he offers some thoughts on what we experienced, particularity at the McMichael Collection outside Toronto.

Dreaming the World

We’ve been traveling. Over the course of past ten days we drove out to Illinois to visit family, then up to Toronto to explore the city, its museums, and the natural world that surrounds it. Yesterday we drove the nine hours home. The drive home proved stormy, yet we somehow stayed ahead of the rain most of the way; a couple of hours east of Toronto a tornado formed behind us, touched down briefly, then dissapated. Today,  the storms have arrived here, repeatedly drenching the landscape.

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Dreaming the World

Yesterday was a perfect summer day, very much fitting of the 4th of July. We kayaked and picnicked, then went walking along the lake shore, or rather Jennie walked while I rode my scooter. I’ve finally decided I appreciate the scooter and the flexibility it offers; of course, in true Polio fashion, it has taken three years to arrive at appreciation.

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Ethical Quandaries

Dreaming the World

It is cold; really cold. The new pattern seems to be we receive our deep cold weather in March, rather than January and February. We could use some snow as the bare ground is subject to thawing which is tough on the garden. We also need more snow to get us through the summer as summers have become quite dry. A storm is forecast to come up the coast in a couple of days and bring some snow. The past two winters these storms have mostly missed us, depositing their moisture on the coast. Southern New England is in year five of  drought and can use the moisture. But then, so can we.

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Showing Up

I arrived back from another fruitful collaboration in India at the beginning of February.  I  focused the work and time with two Playback Theatre troupes in Bangalore (the Actors Collective and Yours Truly theatre companies),  attend and support the Indian Art Therapy Association Symposium on Using Art Therapy with Children and as well offer an introductory training of Expressive Arts Therapy to Master level clinical psychology students at Christ University. It was a full 3 weeks for sure.  Each time I go to India, I learn something new both about myself and about the work, and of course about India. One of the things that I learned about myself was actually that I know what I’m doing and I was able to structure the trainings from that place rather than ” What do I do? How do I do it? Do I really know how?”The  trainings felt different and energetically flowed in an organic way.

Since being home, I have thrown myself back into work, and local,  community politics.Admittedly, I find that I do not have the energy or bandwidth that I once had, and so am being far more judicious about what I actively work on, and spending more time at home,with family and in the studio. I do what I can with the energy I have. I show up where I can and now try to not make decisions to others that I cannot keep.

I now am getting good at making phone calls to my representatives in Washington. I sign a lot of petitions. I raise a ruckus on social media. I try to attend things in person, and find that my in person protest /social action work needs to be balanced with my in person work as a therapist. There is so much to be done and so very much needed.

This morning, as I voted for change  and watched in dismay at the national news of how everything I hold dear is getting gutted, I had a vivid memory come to me from grade school. School was always a deep challenge for me. Thanks to the Special Education Bill S91(that my mother was on the team to develop), I was able to mainstream at the local school. However, I stuttered, I lisped, I walked funny, and I couldn’t write very well. I left class each day to be in the “special needs ” class which clearly earmarked me, often in not a friendly way.  I was not considered the brightest bulb, and  I remember how incredibly painful it was to simply show up.

Anyway,   In 4rth grade during gym class one day, we were running laps and getting timed. These were probably 1/4-1/2 mile lengths.  The teacher divided us up in pairs. I was paired last with a young woman, named Susan who struggled with her weight. Clearly we were paired for a reason, and I’m sure that we were thought to be the slowest of everyone. I’m not sure that the teacher thought either of us would be able to finish.

One thing I could do, and do well was run. And that day, I ran as hard and fast as I could even though I knew it meant leaving Susan way behind. I felt bad about that in a way as I didn’t want to show off. But I needed to show up. I had finished those three laps by the time Susan was beginning her second.

I remember people teasing us as we began. I remember people cheering as I, then she finished. I went up to Susan after and slapped hands. I wanted her to know I saw her. That she had finished even though it had been hard. That she showed up. We didn’t talk.

I’m not sure much really changed after that day.I still got bullied, and in fact left that school the next year. But I think for me, it was an important day in which we showed people, to question assumptions. That regardless of appearance or intellect, we had skills that were there waiting to be seen. We showed up.