Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wroxton England

Well all, I am in Wroxton England with the likes of Virginia Ryan and Charles Schaefer and the list goes on. I still am not sure how I got invited to participate in this international study group but it is interesting. There are reps from around the world.
In our small group discussions -a well known Japanese therapist said that he has rarely had clients over nine build anything but static worlds.. I couldn't resist.....
So I showed him Gisela's web site and he asked me how one might respond after a person builds a world instead of just having them talk about how the world connects with their life... He was quite surprised that one could ask the builder to , SHOW ME HOW THE MOTHER WOULD GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. ETC.ETC. in order to enliven the characters in the world.. unfortunately the computers here could not open the pdf files, but don't be surprised Gisela if you get a call from Japan. They need you...trying to connect with Liz but she has moved because she is now the ED of a non profit agency here... congrats to her. 2008 has been such a year of opportunity for me.. hope all of you are well.

Thinking about you Rachel - hope that the weather is not too hot where you are.. your baby must be growing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sandtray with Quaker kids

Hi, folks. I just figured out how to post a blog. You have to be signed in first! Fancy that....

I wanted you to know about the very fun hour I spent with 9elementary aged children in the Quaker meeting, ranging from 5 years to 10 years. I had only an hour, so knew it was going to be just a taste of sandtray for them. I borrowed a tray, took two of my own, had spent weeks asking the adults of the meeting to donate small items (I gave them a list) and took some of my own, along with a great deal of sand and ten small plastic salad bowls in the shape of lotuses. There was one other adult in the room with me.

I demonstrated how to witness building while one of the children played, then had three children to each tray: one builder, one scribe/witness, and one to hold the builder "in the Light" (a Quaker practice). They were astounding! Very focused, very interested, very respectful of each other's play. Even the little ones were able to wait and take turns. Because not every child got to play in the big trays, for lack of time, I saved some of the time at the end for the children to each create a small tray that they could take home, and I talked with them about how they could change the tray from time to time when they had a problem to solve or had something on their minds, or wanted to celebrate a special event.... Again, astounding, beautiful, deep, incredible worlds emerged. Three boys especially stood out as being exceptionally open to the sand play, all brothers. One was very dynamic in the sand, and the other two were very focused and aware of the significance of their work.

After the time, while I was cleaning up, the dad of these three boys came and helped me sweep and carry the heavy stuff out to my car. He was exceptionally considerate, and I was very thankful. Later the woman who assisted me, and who coordinates the "First Day School" program, told me that his three boys had been real hellions in the program and that the teachers had met that morning to discuss what to do about them. Unbeknownst to me, they had all been sneaking out of their own classes to watch the children work in the sand, and were amazed at what could be accomplished with these very "difficult" children! In fact, I had considered them my "star" pupils because they had each gotten so much from the worlds they built.

I have pictures that I will post at a later time, but wanted you to hear this story about the power of sandtray outside of a therapeutic setting. Lots of love, Merry

The Hike of My Life!

Hello to all and a special "thank you" to all of you who supported my efforts with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Hike For Discovery program. On June 7th I completed my hike of Mt. Lady Washington in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. It was, by far, the hardest thing I have ever (willingly) done... well maybe not so willingly... because if a helicopter had come by and offered me a ride off the top of the mountain, I would have taken it! What I expected was a hike. What I got was a climb! So now I can say I have climbed a REAL mountain (not like those imitation 4 to 6 thousand footers in the southern appalachians... this one was 13,281 feet)!

OK all you Sand Tray experts... guess who the wolf on that mountain top represents???

With a triumphant howl of my own,