Some of My Influences

“Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.”

Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Somatic Therapy

We experience the world through our senses and then we interpret these experiences with our mind. Sometimes the interpretation is incomplete or stuck in a narrow definition because of any number of reasons and this causes suffering. We can begin to expand our interpretations when we slow down and pay attention to experiences. In somatic therapy, we explore sensations rather than thoughts. For example, “I feel…” is about your senses, whereas “I think…” is about reason and analysis. One is not better than the other; they both have value. However, somatic therapy excels at those times when you’re seeking to discover what you feel and to feel stable with your feelings.

Jungian Psychology

Lions and tigers and bears – oh my! Give me mythology and archetypes and shadowy creatures all the livelong day. Have you noticed there are overarching stories that cross the bounds of time and culture? You will find that within these ancient narratives are endless clues as to who we are today. Jungian psychology is more akin to the creative arts than intellectual discourse (although that’s there too) and it’s a rich source of contemplation, recognition, and integration.

Feminisms

This is a big one, hey? I was raised by a feminist, but until my late 40’s I didn’t identify with feminism because it wasn’t for me. By that, I mean it wasn’t doing me any favours. I was not experiencing or witnessing any sort of equality. Feminism was some lofty academic theory that divided and excluded those I felt closest to.

But my understanding is no longer my moma’s feminism – it is much more expansive and intersectional (hence the plural ‘isms’). It is focused on systems of oppression, such as capitalism, colonialism, ableism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. Thank you Kimberlé Crenshaw for teaching me this term and making feminism relevant in my life.

My feminisms are not about my liberation alone nor is it focused on individuals like it was before; my feminisms are political now and focused on disrupting the status quo. Please know that we will talk about these systems of oppression in our counselling sessions because they contribute to and often cause or perpetuate your suffering.

Philosophies of Faith

I have spent my life enamoured with monastic practices and for almost 20 years I was an ordained Third Order sister. That means I took vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience although I didn’t wear a habit or live cloistered. My faith community was in the Anglican church and I worked as a peer advocate with a support agency for women living with HIV/AIDS. I have since renounced my ordained vows, yet my fascination with monasticism continues. My philosophies draw from many sources as long as they are grounded in compassion and liberation. I’m working on not bristling at new age or self-help jargon.

Some of the People Who Rock My World

In no particular order, these people have taught me and touched my heart in different ways. The list is, of course, much longer than what I’m presenting here (and ever-growing).

  • John O’Donohue
  • Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Hildegard von Bingen
  • Sharon Salzberg
  • bell hooks
  • Ursula Franklin
  • Vikki Reynolds
  • Angela Davis
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Octavia E. Butler
  • all my kith and kin, and every little furry creature I’ve had the blessing of sharing my life with – thank you