Depth Psychology & Poetry: One Response to Yesterday's Exploration

It was a delight to attend the 'Depth Psychology & Poetry' webinar yesterday . I haven't been in touch with Bob Romanyshyn [in the waking world] since 1994 when I finished my last re-search classes at Pacifica Graduate Institute. From 1991-4 Bob inspired me as Teacher and Writer. In my dream world, Bob Romanyshyn has often shown up over the course of the years.

Following the end of classes and the beginning of working on my doctoral dissertation in 1994, I received a dream--Bob Romanyshyn is playing alongside me--there are acrobats, trampoline artists, puppets, and clowns. After waking up! (from that seminal dream)-- I knew, in that moment, that I was to dance and produce an arts-based performance video as part of my doctoral work and that my purpose in the world was to bring the gifts of play, creativity, and laughter to others. Play in the everyday, from wherever we are.

Play that helps us create a life that comes from the heart (individuation).

Synchronitically, I've been reading poems in our weekly dream group, attending poetry play-shops with the WA state poet laureate and others, writing, and just yesterday, before the webinar, I listened to a remarkable interview with one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.

Mary talked about her work as 'Listening to the World'. What are Bob's, Brian's, Bonnie's, and your thoughts on 'Listening to the World' as a way into poetic sensibility? [I wrote this question last night but we ran out of time for answer).

I'd like to share some reflections after last night's webinar: (I have already written directly to Bob, Bonnie and asked Bob to pass on my reflections to Brian Tracy):

1) Brian shared references to Hillman and Campbell. I would like to hear about Brian's experience as a poet. Like Mary Oliver, what title would Brian Tracy give to his work as a poet? How does he see that title/naming in the light of depth psychology & poetic sensibiilty?

2) I felt that the exploration last night was limiting in that the exploration centered on psychologists & depth psychology....psychologists & poetry....for the most part.

Bob mentioned the need for the marrying of depth psychology & humanities, applause! what about depth psychology and poetics in science, teaching, arts-based forms, creative endeavors, politics, world events, the bleeding of our planet, ....there is so much to explore.

When I completed my classes at Pacifica I found that there was so much to explore and play with through a depth psychological view than I had ever imagined up to that point. Since my dream carried me in playful living and teaching, I have been working toward finding ways to teach, write, and speak-perform through a pairing of depth psychology and play-based philosophy. Jung and many others write about the importance of play--our dreams and our poems are filled with play, play in the every day.

Bob's example of his grandson, Jonah's visitation with Spider, mirrors my experience with my grandchildren and with children in nature play groups. My grandson, Chase, repeatedly brings me to visit with Tree who is speaking to him, Rock, Water....environmental intelligence and Reverie.

Well, sharing some initial responses. Didn't want to let this moment go by without reflecting and sharing on the treasures explored.

Yesterday's webinar created a rich, vibrant environment filled with metaphor, nature's wisdom, intellectual body. I believe, as I'm sure you do, that there is so much more!

Thank you Bonnie, Bob, Brian, and larger Depth Psychology Alliance community for your participation. Play=Peace, Mary Alice

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Comment by Mary Alice Long on February 13, 2015 at 12:29pm

Thank you everyone for your responses. We are all playing together and co-creating new poems in community.

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on February 8, 2015 at 8:20am

Good morning Mary Alice - the other day I sent you some of my thoughts following the webinar and sent them to you on this post site.  I notice you are not posting them [cool you edit your blog site], however, would you be so kind and send my post back to me for I have been on a long [your last name!] sojourn and am in a precipice...for which I am keeping a log of my arising thoughts concerning places[spaces] visited long ago...thanks for opening this blog space when my words landed and I can only hope you send them back to me.  Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Bonnie Bright on February 7, 2015 at 1:27am

Thank you, Mary Alice, for this delicious and rich post. I just wanted to acknowledge how much your bringing nature into the conversation appeals to me. I immediately experienced a sudden cognition of my body in ready your words about your Grandson who takes you to visit each of the nature people. 

Perhaps the beginning of listening to the world is "noticing," with the senses, in a very present way. When that happens, suddenly we are infiltrated with the deep sensibility that we are part of the very fabric of that nature; that we have the salt of ancient oceans running in our veins as Thomas Berry says, and the elements that literally came from far off stars in our bones. I think in that moment of listening we actually begin to hear the breath, the movements, the sighs of that two-million year old [hu]man in each of us that Jung talked about, even as the wind sighs around us and we plant our feet on the ground of an earth that is constantly in motion.....

Well!--you got me started. I feel like I could go on and on.... So much to do, but what a lovely and refreshing break it was to take a few minutes to respond and sink into those reflections. Thank you!

Comment by Mary Harrell on February 6, 2015 at 8:00pm

I enjoyed your post Mary Alice.  So interesting that you shared a dream in which Robert Romanyshyn was both dream image and invitation for your life's work!  I also had a dream in which he and Veronica Goodchild were symbols that psyche sent to encourage me to complete a book on imaginal figures.  How inspiring that the passion and commitment of others can enter our imaginal landscape, being participants and guides even when years have past since we experienced them in their concrete forms. I also follow the work you do even if we are 3,000 miles apart.  It is evident to me that your work has great meaning to you and certainly to the other who play with life's material under your guidance.  You are welcome to join me anytime for conversation on my blog page at  maryharrellphd.com  Keep on going!  And thanks for the interesting blog on last evening's webinar. 

Comment by Brian Michael Tracy on February 6, 2015 at 6:11pm

Thanks, Mary Alice for these thoughts. So glad you enjoyed the interaction. In April we will have 3 sessions (8th/15th/22nd) and there is sure to be a wider exploration then. Interesting you should ask about a moniker for my poetry. I just recently put up a new web site (brianmichaeltracy.com) and there you will find it: "Poetry is the informed translation of the speech of soul." Regards, Brian

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on February 6, 2015 at 5:31pm

Good evening Mary Alice - I have been watching the video "Antartica" narrated by Robert since November 2012 which continues to touch me so deeply no words have formed to date.  It was amazing to listen to the dance of words between the psychological and poetic stations and following the webinar, this is what I wrote to two beacon association members...it saddens me that you two believe you are unable to speak to many of the issues I placed on the agenda.  What?  Is this fear talking?  There's that silence barrier being resurrected once again, however, I disagree and choose to believe we can speak.

I will always follow my heart and eliminate myself from any unsafe ground I walk on that is pounded into the concrete [stone] where there is no breath of fresh air nor light - no room to move or grow.  I can easily retreat back to being the underground counsellor I was, stop publishing, being grateful I had the opportunity.  I shall return to the depths with those seeking healing.  I emerged 2 years ago and am in a choice point now...so not to worry...I will make right fitting decisions...I just wanted to talk, share with another human voice...no one talks about what matters anymore...I return to the video Anartica.  Thank you Robert.  Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Donna May on February 6, 2015 at 3:51pm
Mary Alice, I enjoyed last night's conversation between Bonnie, Robert & Brian. My only "complaint" was that it was too short; however, more is to come and I am looking forward to a deeper discussion on depth psychology and poetry.


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