The principles of meditation and therapy that underlie the experiments in the book have come not only from my teaching experience but from the many years spent as a student myself. My university art teachers Roland Reiss and Don Wygandt honored the principles of meditation as they supported the unique style of each person. The workshops in Sensory Awareness led by Charlotte Selver and Charles Brooks were dedicated to the same sense of uniqueness and opened people to the wonder of their own nature. I have witnessed repeatedly in their classes the transformative power of simple awareness.
Watching the therapists Natalie Rogers and her father, Carl Rogers, work with clients in her Person Centered Expressive Therapy workshops was like watching a wonderful dance. Thoroughly interested but never controlling, they respected the inner wisdom of each person. In the same attentive way, Virginia Veach combined meditation, therapy, and art to access deep feeling states in healing and personal relationships. Personal therapy with Gilda Meyers and Susan Carabello gave me the support to explore deep feeling states. The advice of psychotherapist Leon Siegel deepened my understanding as well. Lawrence Le Shan demonstrated the creative potential of psychic healing. Working with Ann Armstrong and Sandra Mussey in psychic counseling affirmed the power of intuitive listening. Sandra’s work with tarot cards and the I Ching demonstrated the mysterious power of chance, chaos, and synchronicity. The coaching of Wendy Palmer in the practice of aikido gave me the courage to enter the Peace Movement.
Authentic movement with Janet Adler demonstrated the power of witnessing, as a creative act in itself. Movement improvisation with the healer/dancer Anna Halprin, Gabriel Roth, and Lynn Hassan, and sound improvisation with Hannah Woods, Emily Derr, Rhiannan, and Christine Hodel brought healing and creativity together in new ways. Katarina Burda’s classes in ethnic dancing demonstrated the universal language of movement, carried for centuries without words. The love of words expressed in the classes and books of the poet John Fox not only encouraged my poetry but my early struggles in prose, as well. The books and teachings of Suzuki Roshi and Trungpa Rinpoche, and the solid presence of meditation teachers such as Jack Kornfield, opened the deep lineage of Buddhist practice, the creative power of attention.
Many of these teachers have written books. Sensory Awareness: The Rediscovery of Experiencing by Charles Brooks, The Creative Connection by Natalie Rogers, Meditation by Lawrence Le Shan, Finding What you Didn’t Lose and Poetic Medicine by John Fox, and Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Suzuki Roshi are especially relevant to this book. Through these different books and teachings I have learned to trust the wisdom of each person and the remarkable capacity for positive change through creativity and awareness.
As I write of these human resources, I can see the autumn glow of leaves out the window and am reminded of the great resource of the natural world—my primary teacher and creative source. The intimate connection through drawing and painting has opened me to the forms and rhythms of the earth, from the changing shapes of the nearby creek in the different seasons to the changing tides and spacious meetings of ocean and sky. I have been privileged, year after year, to watch the morning sun move into noon and finally give way to twilight on marshes, hills, and mountain peaks. The connection with this larger reality has supported and sustained the creative discoveries in the book, reminding me of the abundance of own nature, and our enduring bond with the earth.