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Summer Solstice

Michael shares his thoughts about the complexities of clinical relationships and that of the Solstice.

Dreaming the World

Summer_SunsetHere in the Northern Hemisphere we’ve arrived at the summer solstice, the sun having traveled as far north as it will this year. The days are long and warm, and the nights brief; twilight seems to last forever. In the country, fireflies fill the air above the hay fields.

It’s a good time to gather with others and acknowledge our passage through the warm times. This evening we host a gathering of friends and others who wish to place themselves in community, both with other people and the natural world. Tomorrow we will participate in an interfaith celebration of the solstice, and life’s journeys, at the Unitarian church.

On the Medicine Wheel, as it is understood by many here in the Northeast, we have arrived in the South, the place of summer. The South is the place of noon, fire, and the plants and mammals. Often we just say that…

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Michael shares his experience in being faced by stairs (twice in two days) and the challenges that the arts communities face in finding easy inexpensive accessible spaces. As of late, I have realized how deeply this focus is for my/our work. We look forward to your comments.

Dreaming the World

Park_SunsetYesterday, we went to Montreal, a marvelous, if notoriously inaccessible, city for the day. We had planned to be in a workshop focused on using puppetry for working with businesses. Montreal is about two hours from here, so we were up early, aiming to leave by 6 o’clock. We finally made it out of the house about 6:30. The drive up was uneventful, and traffic in the city was delightfully negligible.

Usually we can find our way around Montreal with relative ease; yesterday, perhaps because we were already feeling a bit crunched for time, we were unable to find the workshop site. Even using a map, our destination proved illusive; we found ourselves driving around in circles, passing old haunts, and running into newly one-way streets and, this being the season, construction.

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Reflections

In February, 2o16 I traveled back to India, stopping over in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates  first, to be part of the First Arts Conference at the University of Sharjah, which is outside Dubai.  Organized by the Prasad Foundation of Oakton Virginia,(which sponsored my and others travel and participation), George Washington University, the University of Mississippi, and ATIC  (Art Therapy International Centre) and the University of Sharjah.  Presenters included art therapists from the UAE, USA, and music therapists from South Korea. I presented on the use of Playback Theatre and drama therapy to support communication in difficult times.  In the next few blogs I will post some pictures to try to convey some of the experience of being in these interestingly cultural diverse countries. While Ive been back a month now, I find that the trip still rolls deeply in me and I continue to process.  Below are a few pictures to describe my experience of being there.

 

 

 

DSC03684Near the university there were many gardens- An oasis in the middle of the desert.    The flowers were beautiful. The university itself is beautiful, and  well kept.

 

 

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Another view of gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC03659Over 200 people attended this first event. It was both wonderful and heartwarming as the need and desire is clear to have more of this kind of training made available. Fortunately the university appears to agree.

 

 

Dress varied from western style (long sleeve and skirt or pants) to Arabic and full Burqa for women.

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Two men talking at the Medical School

 

 

I really love the architecture of the UAE. DSC03664

 

 

DSC03726Not the most elegant picture, but I saw an awful lot of sand.

 

On our tour to the Humanitarian Centre, A  playground using all recycled materials! Hyun Ju checked it out.

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DSC03685Evening time in Dubai.  Sunrises and sunsets were clear, and pure,  making great contrast between light and dark.

Getting ready to go

I’m preparing to travel and teach!

Looking Through The Picture Frame

I just received this in my inbox from the Psychology Network, an online forum for psychotherapists and thought it was interesting:

“We all think we know ourselves and are convinced that we know others just by reading body language, the way they speak, write, look.

As I get ready to go back to Asia I am aware that thisDSC00656 statement could potentially be rather dangerous for me to follow given where I am traveling to. In fact, I find it deeply insensitive for many reasons.

While I have traveled extensively now through out Asia,  there are a variety of social and cultural norms that go from the more liberal (western clothing acceptable in the cities men and women able to be together in one space and work together) to more

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Whether you can be her in person doesn’t matter. Feel free to join us from where ever you are at 4pm est. Blessings

Looking Through The Picture Frame

Healing Ceremony This SundayP1000940

The past few weeks have witnessed great upheaval and suffering around the world. Mother Earth, herself, is struggling as are many of her creatures. As the prophesies of many peoples have said, these are difficult times.

Please join us Sunday afternoon for a time of sharing and ceremony, as we join our hearts, minds, and spirit to offer healing. We will gather around the Medicine Wheel to share our hopes, visions, and concerns. Then we will perform a Despacho ceremony (we will create an artwork of beauty that will carry our prayers and intent to Mother Earth and the Spirits), drum, pray, and meditate, sending Reiki energy and  healing to Mother Earth and all beings who wish our aid. At the conclusion of the ceremony there will be an opportunity for anyone present to request a healing.

Date: Sunday, August 3rd

Time: 4:00 p.m.

For those…

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I am reposting this from my other blog “Looking Through the Picture Frame” that I posted on Sunday.

 

Summer has blessed us with its fecundity.  In the past few weeks, I have  been working in the garden, and planting a second round of veggies, including Spinach, lettuce and chard. Beets, Nasturtiums, Kale, Broccoli, carrots, and Squash, which  are in full splendor. The Squash appears to be taking over the garden in a rather ‘Body snatcher’ like way. There is much humor to be had in watching the garden grow, and a lot of discussion with the unwanted varieties of insects. Flowers too! Our window boxes now burgeon with multicolored petunias. Begonias and gladiolas and Dahlias grace our front walkway. The world is clearing, cleaning  and  plentiful.

P1080286The world is experiencing a deep wounding and cleansing that has, up to now, seemed  unimaginable. I sometimes think now, that the unimaginable is in fact the new norm, and we must expect what was once unpredictable as predictable.

On the heals of all the craziness in the world, the Middle East has erupted in probably the worst fighting I have seen in decades, if in my whole life. In the midst of the constant fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war torn areas, and in the midst of the unbelievable but becoming predictable shootings in the US, the climate continues to warm, and new illnesses are plaguing us (in in some cases, literary plaguing us, as the Plague is back in some areas). Water has been shut off to  a quarter of the Detroit community.  This is a lot to hold, and the weight of the world is often heavy. I find myself distracted and wondering what I can do.

It is at these times that I retreat into the garden and feel the quiet presence of its growing goodness.  I converse with the Squash, the Cukes and the Broccoli, and help to define space for each so that none are crowded out. This year, Michael and I created a Medicine Wheel behind the garden.  I have found it a powerful, daily reminder of the closeness of Spirit, and the need for me to go within to find the path inside.

 I wish I could offer a magic something that would allow people to see clearly the pain that is being created by the ignorance, greed and anger of our world. I know  each of us must come to this awareness ourselves. Meanwhile, we need to some how stop, look and listen. Sometimes the stopping is the first hurdle in being able to assess. It is for this reason that I hope – no pray – for there to be a Cease fire in Gaza. In our crowded world, we all need a place to be. May both the Palestinians and Israelis find a way to be at home on the earth and with each other.

Stop, look, listen. I try to remember this.  In my ignorance, I keep coming back to the idea that we are not so different from each other, and, with a little effort, we might be able to see the small and rich things that are trying to bless us with their wonder.

A few weeks ago, I was at the 45th annual conference of the American Art Therapy Association(AATA). We met this year in San Antonio Texas. It was my first real trip to Texas. (Previous trips include traveling through the Dallas airport. I never left it, so I’m not sure that really counts.) I was interested in seeing what Texas was like. Coming from the north (and I am truly a northerner, as well as a staunch New Englander), I was interested in seeing the architecture, and learning about the area. I wasn’t disappointed. I was there, in part, to take part in a book signing for our new book, Using Art Therapy in Diverse Populations: Crossing Cultures and Abilities (Jessica Kingsley Press, 2013).

In the first day welcoming Plenary, a video was presented about art therapy and San Antonio. No where in the video, created by a wonderful and creative art therapist, was there mention of the Native roots of the area. There were horses, and the Lone Ranger made it into the video, and many wonderful concepts about our artistic roots, but some how the Native roots of our land were omitted, as were Native stories of the land; this was disturbing to me. One of the highlights of the conference was actually being able to sit with Grandmother Emma, an Apache storyteller and Elder. She had come to present a workshop at the conference, and at the last moment (or at least after the program was printed) was included in the second day plenary; she was asked to offer a blessing for the conference. Sadly, this wasn’t announced in any way prior to the second day, so the audience was small for most of her blessing. People came in at the end mainly to see the keynote address. I was aware again, of the ways in which we slight people, and communities. 

After her blessing, and at the beginning of the plenary, I decided to go out for tea and saw her sitting by herself. I went over to greet her and thank her coming to the conference, and I found out that she was on her own until her workshop. So I invited her to tea with me. What ensued was a wonderful hour and a half of conversation about her past and being Native in Texas. She told stories about her relationship to the land and the challenges she faces ( she is raising her great grandson right now). We spoke about how our children often do not realize the importance of maintaining ties to the old ways, nor the reality of what happens when stories are not told. Telling stories is what keep us connected to ourselves, and our past, present, and future. Without stories we forget. As I sat with Grandmother Emma, once again I realized how important it is to keep our story alive.