For those that might not know, I serve on the Art Forum Board for Grand Central Art Center. If you haven't been to the Santa Ana Artist Village, the first Saturday art walks are a blast, and a great opportunity to get out and see some of the best art OC has to offer. This Saturday night will be rockin at both GCAC and across the street at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. Here's a little video I did of fellow board member and Bowers Museum maven Julie Lee letting you know where the best art buys can be had.
"If there is one word that makes creative people different from others, it is the word complexity. Instead of being an individual, they are a multitude. Like the color white that includes all colors, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves. Creativity allows for paradox, light, shadow, inconsistency, even chaos –and creative people experience both extremes with equal intensity."
Was in conversation with a friend today because "psychological homelessness" came up during a talk by Ken Hardy (great). I was telling her how I have been feeling adrift for the last year, longer really. Places that I thought were home are no longer that, people that I thought would be friends forever, gone. I wanted to say so much more, but couldn't find the words.
Then on the drive home it struck me that I have always felt adrift, never really grounded. I'm used to this..
Hey Everybody! I'm hosting a fundraiser brunch at my home on March 5th for the wonderful organization Survivor's Truths. All the information is below and I would love to have you over, so you can see firsthand how stories can change lives. I hope you can make it!
Ernestine Greaves (photo) will be visiting us here in Southern California March 5th through 8th. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to hear directly from her:
* Her story of courage and hope in the face of incredible difficulty * How participating in Survivors' Truths Liberia project has impacted her * Her thoughts for what is needed to promote lasting peace and stability in Liberia and other places affected by conflict.
Please join us at one or more of our planned Los Angeles and Orange County-area events. Proceeds will further our efforts to support grassroots peace education in Liberia.
I have a new post up over at the OC Metro. This article begins a series on Appreciative Inquiry within organizations.
In Ken Gergen’s wonderful book Relational Being, he describes Appreciative Inquiry (AI), as valuing broad participation in organizations. Too often when managers are faced with problems, or problem talk, they move quickly to look outside their businesses for solutions. This approach typically leads to more top down initiatives that continue to diminish collaboration, and fail to produce coordination or commitment, leading to organizing that actually moves against your business goals...Read More Here
At the conference I attended last Friday there was a workshop titled Cognitive-Behavioral/Narrative Therapy Group Treatment for.... I didn't attend. It has been my experience that there is a wide interest in learning about narrative therapy, but very little opportunity to learn narrative practice and theory in any rich, meaningful way. So what eventually happens is that when someone learns I practice narrative therapy I'll hear comments such as "so you're not the expert" or "externalizing is a nice technique" or "works great with kids." Thin descriptions of narrative practice tend to be the rule, rather than the exception.
So needless to say I was delighted after reading Narrative Therapy, the new book on narrative theory and practice by Stephen Madigan. Madigan's new book will be definitive text on narrative history, theory, and practice for sometime to come. Damn, It's worth the price just to have Foucault made understandable. There really is something for everyone here, from deep history and theory, to a wealth of potential questions, and an understanding of why you're asking those questions, for those that want to walk away with something they can bring right to their practice.
Recently I was at a conversation with David Epston where he mentioned that "Foucault never sent an email." I love that quote and have been carrying it with me for a while. If there's one thing that I find missing in the book, it is how technology and mass/social media will play a large part in the future developments of narrative practice. I mean, who writes a letter anymore? Our world is changing fast, and so will our practice, look at what mass/social media has brought about in the Middle East, astonishing.
There's so much in this new book by Madigan that I'm sure I will read and re-read it many times over. If you're interested in nothing less than the complete celebration of the other. Give it a read.
I came across this interesting podcast at the Secular Buddhist of a conversation with Dr. Walter Bera, Director of the Kenwood Center, where he discusses his journey into Buddhist practice and narrative therapy. It's really worth a listen and he covers a lot of territory, I especially liked his take that the future of Buddhism in the west will be lead by women, a much needed shift from Buddhism's patriarchal history, and his dissatisfaction with current Buddhist Psychology literature. Give it a listen.
Today I finally got around to watching Bodhisattva Superstar by media artist Michael Trigilio, with the recent events, it is a timely look at Buddhist practice in the west. Trigilio takes a look at how consumerism and power operations has influenced Western Buddhism. Trigilio also confronts American popular culture's habit of addressing the subject of religion with alternating degrees of deluded piety or flippant scorn. I'm still digesting the film, but I look forward to it's screening at the Buddhist Geeks conference this summer and the conversation that will take place afterword. The trailer..
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. Howard Zinn
Today I attended and presented at the 1st annual AAMFT-CA Student Conference. It was quite a successful event with nearly a 160 people registered! I would like to thank both Dr. Ben Caldwell, and Dr. Naveen Jonathan, and all the volunteers for pulling this great event together and giving me an opportunity to talk about some stuff I'm interested in. Thank you to Dove Pressnall and Coutney Olinger for their time and wisdom. I also want to thank those that showed up for support, and those that provided creative inspiration. I think it went OK, and I got some great feedback, some of which was conversations around entering a Ph.D program. I have a lot to think about. I look forward to next years event. Here's a few pics..
Join me in conversation as I begin to unpack the values and practices of the postmodern executive. My hope is that this blog will provide readers with a map to a new way of organizing careers and organizations, and in the process provide inspiration and resources to what is now known as appreciative organizing.
So if you're interested in approaching your work and career in new and exciting ways, bookmark my blog and come back often. Thanks!
This Friday I will be presenting at the first annual AAMFT-CA Student Conference at Alliant University in Los Angeles. The topic I will be tackling is titled Social Entrepreneurship & The MFT. I will be sharing my story of how I discovered this alternative career path available to MFT's who are interested in impacting families and communities in a multitude of alternative ways. A couple of the MFT's who are impacting communities in creative ways that I intend to highlight, include Dove Pressnall (top left) and her organization Survivors' Truths, and Courtney Olinger (bottom right) and her project Re Spectrum Community. I will also share some ways to get started if you are interested in heading down this path, and will look to have conversations about the pitfalls and rewards of this particular approach. If you are interested in attending the info can be found HERE. I hope to see you!
The reason why we want to be cautious with any social explanation is for the simple fact that hidden variables have become packaged in such a way that there is no control window to check what is inside. Explaining in 'instant sociology' has become a cinch, much like 'instant psychoanalysis'. Their accounts have become as impossible to probe and repair as a black-boxed electronic appliance. It's because the very success of social explanations has rendered them so cheap that we now have to increase the cost and the quality control on what counts as a hidden force. - Bruno Latour
So I'm a quarter of the way into Bruno Latour's Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, and having a good time. What struck me about his idea of social explanations and instant sociology is how easy it is for a narrative therapist, who is mindful about the discursive relationships a person is bringing into the therapy room with them, might easily fall into this trap. It struck me how often I might jump to 'instant sociology' about a person, based on my knowledge of, or position on discursive fields. Now, I understand the difference of location as opposed to 'instant psychoanalysis' but am I going far enough? Am I going past dispersion and deconstruction, as Latour would propose. I believe that in narrative practice, we can be accused of throwing around heady discursive explanations in a way that does cheapen them, or in this attempt to stabilize the social, we step out in front of the people who consult with us.