The following article is the full length version of the excerpt from the May Firelight newsletter. Scroll down to find the pickup point.
I’ve just returned from a weekend at the Upland Hills School in Oxford Township where I attended a weekend works shop, The Wizard of Us, with the great Jean Houston. I thought I would simultaneously capture some of my impressions, thoughts, and notable events during this workshop while sharing my experience with you.
Jean both opens her book and the workshop with the phrases: “We are living in the most unique time in human history. Other times in history thought they were it. They were wrong. This is it.” Throughout the weekend Jean tried to instill into us the understanding of the special circumstances, the slim odds that we were born, and are living, in these times. It’s not just coincidence; we are here for a purpose, and a very urgent purpose at that, for nothing less than to save our world.
She took us on a journey through the mythology of The Wizard of Oz – truly a myth for our times. We moved through the classic hero’s journey – in this case the heroine’s journey – through the portal of a paradigm shift (with the spiral, the twister, playing no small role), and back home again, transformed. Of the many aspects of what is required for this paradigm shift, she spoke specifically about the equal partnership of men and women. She also spoke of the recognition and valuation (my words) of the heroine’s journey. One of the differences is that the heroine always brings a team. She gathers allies on her quest, where often the hero is expected to go it alone. In her book, she states that
“Women have always been and continue to accomplish heroic feats with the difference that their emphasis has tended to be on process rather than on product – making things cohere, relate, develop, and grow. While the heroine may be less strident, she is nevertheless courageous and brings a new focus to the inner experience being of equal value to the outer action.”
There was also importance placed on the integration of the whole self, the need to continue to grow into what Houston calls the Possible Human. It will take our development into Possible Humans in order for us to design and manifest the Possible Society. As our own Leah (Lambaria) Myers keeps reminding us, developing our whole selves toward our possibility, our latent potential, requires play and creative expression. We did some powerful exercises to activate the internal senses and then apply those slightly more honed senses to imagining into manifestation a project or solution. I practiced with imagining a home for New Myth Works. We kinesthetically practiced overcoming some of our own barriers. I practiced asking for help from a place of power, free will, and higher good - rather than from the place of ego distortion from which it is often filtered.
In the final Q&A session, someone asked Jean Houston what we can do for her, since she has done so much for so many others. She was emphatic, “Continue the work!” On Margaret Mead’s deathbed, Houston promised to do whatever she can to cultivate teaching/learning communities. For Mead, and others believe that herein will lie the keys to our survival and flourishing. She gave advice for creating such communities and I was all ears and heart for New Myth Works. She said come together over food and deep conversation, create some ritual, even if it is a silly song that will help tie you all together, (I giggled at our hokey-pokey), take the psycho-therapeutic out of it, that will kill it, and make sure that there are projects that help the community so that people can turn the energy of connection into positive action. Thank you Jean.
Before I close I wanted to pass along a few other notable experiences and reading recommendations made more than once by Dr. Houston. Touted as “supporting players” for the event were Allegra Fuller Snyder (already mentioned), the grammy award winning cellist and composer, Eugene Friesen, and Kenya and Gabriela Masala from Source Consulting Group. I was able to spend a few moments with Kenya Masala discussing the unique work they are doing through their consulting agency, bringing in kinesthetic and percussive tools to organizational consulting. I spoke briefly of our budding Sirius Sense, which on a similar line is engaging wisdom tools for organizational transformation. We spoke of some of the translation difficulties with our feet in two paradigms, and Kenya and I agreed to coordinate further conversation after the workshop. With Eugene Friesen, I was many times mesmerized and blown away by his work. His cello was the undercurrent of the whole weekend, and on Saturday evening he performed two of his pieces, one a composition played with the backdrop recording of a whale song, and the second a piece without the bow modeled and inspired by African instruments. I know that I personally will be purchasing some CDs. There were several books that Jean Houston recommended, but two that felt relevant to pass on. The first is “Upcycle” by William McDonough. She looked me square in the eye both times when recommending. The second was a book on Consciousness and Energy by a Michigan woman, Penny Kelly. Houston touts it as the most interesting and “new” take on the subject she has seen. “Better than any science fiction!” I’ve recently started reading this and it is as intriguing to me as promised.
I came away from this experience thoughtful, resolute and centered. There are more tools in my personal toolbox, and an even greater sense of surety of the potential impact of New Myth Works. The outcome of connections made during this encounter are yet to be seen – but I certainly felt some seeds being planted.