The Beating Heart of Standing Rock: Walking The Great Mystery With All My Relations

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 7, 2017 1:42:50 PM

A guest post by Joseph Bobrow, Roshi, Ph.D.

From April 2016 to February 2017, tens of thousands of people journeyed to Oceti Sakowin, Seven Fires Camp, in Cannonball, North Dakota in support of the water protectors on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in a momentous gathering of tribes, their allies, and people from all walks of life and all ages, standing in solidarity to put a halt to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and protect the water of 17 million living downstream. They won a major victory when the Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit to the builders (Energy Transfer Partners) and insisted on a thorough Environmental Impact Study. Soon after Donald Trump took office in January, 2017, he ordered that construction resume without the study [1]. The pipeline sprung leaks even while being tested. Now, it is in full operation.

The impacts from the remarkable community of solidarity and action at Standing Rock did not end when camp was closed, the teepees and communal structures razed, and the holdouts arrested. Other protest camps are springing up around the country, including Camp White Pine in Pennsylvania, where residents are working to stop the Mariner East 2 pipeline, and in Louisiana where a multifaith alliance is organizing a camp to block the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The ripples from Standing Rock was also felt on July 4, 2017, when tribes gather in Black Hills, SD for “Reclamation of Independence.”

To convey and keep alive the power and joy of Standing Rock, I want to share my experience as part of an action by 524 clergy on November 3, 2016. At Standing Rock multifaith spiritually-informed direct action was the interplay, in a remarkable contemporary context, of the principles of Native spirituality: The Great Mystery (Wakan Tanka, also Great Spirit) and All My Relations (Mitakuye Oyasin).

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Posted in: Trauma, Social Justice, community psychology, Pacifica Events

Displacing Boundaries of Race and Politics of Space in Los Angeles

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 30, 2017 3:36:39 PM

This article first appeared in the 2017 edition of Hearing Voices. Displacing Boundaries of Race and Politics of Space in Los Angeles by Alisa Orduna, Dissertation Student in the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization.

As the Mayor’s Director of Homelessness Policy, our City’s homeless community of 28,000 residents is my primary constituent base. For far too long, L.A. has addressed homelessness and poverty through policies of containment- isolating persons with severe mental illness, substance use disorder, sexual minorities, and African Americans – in “designated” spaces of the City. Homelessness and poverty were also addressed through therapeutic models that focused on assimilating the individual into a biased model of a “productive citizen” of society.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Pacifica News, Pacifica Students, community psychology

Pacifica represents at the 2017 Biennial Conference for the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jun 21, 2017 3:44:53 PM

Pacifica represents at the 2017 Biennial Conference for the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)

This team of students, faculty, and alumni largely represent the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization of the M.A./Ph.D. Depth Psychology Program here at Pacifica.

We are excited to share this amazing body of work that our students, faculty, and alumni are engaging with and wish them well presenting at the University of Ottawa, in Ontario, Canada where the conference is being held.

Here is a list of Pacifica community members presenting at the conference:

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Posted in: community psychology, Pacifica News, Education, Social Justice, Ecopsychology

Racism, Cultural Violence, and Conscious Change: How The Truth Telling Project is Transforming Society

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 12, 2017 2:09:18 PM

Racism, Cultural Violence, and Conscious Change: How The Truth Telling Project is Transforming Society
An Interview with The Truth Telling Project Co-Founder, David Ragland, Ph.D.
A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Historic African American Malcolm X, leader who spoke out for black nationalism famously said, 'I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against.” This quote, featured on the home page for The Truth Telling Project speaks volumes about the mission of this unique and important organization.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Current Affairs, Social Justice, Pacifica Events, community psychology

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Romania

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Apr 5, 2017 4:22:15 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Romania, An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Erin O’Halloran
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Erin O’Halloran grew up watching Peace Corps commercials on TV which featured footage of volunteers serving in Africa and young children in grass hut houses. Even though the images were somewhat romanticized, the pull toward a life of service was always strong for her, and she always knew it was something she wanted to do.

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Posted in: graduate school, community psychology, Connecting Cultures, depth psychology

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Jamaica

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 21, 2017 2:22:47 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Jamaica An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ross Dionne
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

The first night Ross Dionne and his wife spent with their host family in Jamaica, they were served chicken foot soup, he remembers with a laugh—probably on purpose so the family could see their reaction. Neither his wife nor he picked up that foot and “sucked off all the skin and meat like people do when they eat chicken foot soup” he recalls. Even though he never particularly came to like things like cow skin soup much, making the effort to try the food was one of the best things they could do to build connections with people—something Dionne appreciated very much over the course of the two years he spent in the Peace Corps.

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Posted in: graduate school, Ecopsychology, community psychology, Connecting Cultures, depth psychology, liberation psychology

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Guinea

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 15, 2017 10:45:20 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Guinea An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Hilary Braseth
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Only about one third of individuals who apply to the Peace Corps are invited to serve. For Hilary Braseth, applying to the Peace Corps in spite of the odds was a necessary step in her journey. Born and raised in a “bubble town” as she describes it, an area that was primarily white and middle class, she feels she was always aware on some level she was not being exposed to certain facets of society. She has always maintained a certain curiosity about why she was born into her particular body, which affords her certain opportunities, as opposed to others who have different ones.

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Posted in: graduate school, Ecopsychology, community psychology, Connecting Cultures, depth psychology

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Niger

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 6, 2017 2:16:26 PM

Peace Corps Meets Pacifica: Stories from Niger, An Interview with Paul D. Coverdell Fellow and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Stephanie Steiner
A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Sometimes I’m shocked to wake up and realize that it’s 2017 there’s still so much conflict and suffering in our world. We need more and better ways to provide aid, education, and support for developing countries and for those individuals who are struggling due to poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor access to clean water, disease, and violence, among many other challenges.

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy took a giant step in the right direction when he created the Peace Corps[1], whose mission today focuses on providing hands-on, grassroots-driven initiatives, including developing health campaigns, building schools, improving agricultural practices, boosting local entrepreneurship, and teaching digital literacy, just to name a few. And while there is still a long way to go to eliminate suffering and to better the lives of those in need of help around the world, hundreds of thousands of Peace Corps volunteers have stepped up in 140 different countries over more than five decades to be of service.

Some of those volunteers have found their way to Pacifica as recipients of the Paul D. Coverdell fellowship [2], providing financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers pursuing graduate work. To honor the anniversary month of the Peace Corps, Pacifica is spotlighting some of the Coverdell Fellows currently enrolled in graduate programs at Pacifica through the Discussions in Depth Psychology interview series.

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Posted in: graduate school, Ecopsychology, community psychology, Connecting Cultures, depth psychology

Waking Up From Trauma

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 3, 2017 2:59:12 PM

A guest post by Joseph Bobrow, Roshi, Ph.D.

“To sit at a table... and bear the full force of our anguish.” —Lucia McBath, Mothers of the Movement group consisting of women who lost children to gun and police violence.

When trauma ripples through the zeitgeist, as it has since the November 8 elections, relationship and community become vessels for repair, revival, and transformation. Our inner lives and our sociocultural lives are intimately intertwined. Our own well-being arises in concert with the well-being of others and of our earth. My peace, understanding, and freedom do not exist in a vacuum; they express themselves in action that promotes justice for the many.

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Posted in: Trauma, Social Justice, community psychology, Pacifica Events

Land, Language, Silence: A Depth Psychological Perspective on Working with the Navajo at Black Mesa

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Oct 19, 2016 4:38:54 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When Jonathan Rudow goes into a community to conduct research, he is highly conscious of the fact that he arrives with a particular lens—a lens we each develop individually over the course of our lives evolving from our personal experiences, family values, and cultural conditioning. That lens never allows for the full picture, Jonathan insisted when he sat down with me recently to discuss his work with the Navajo (or the Diné people, as they refer to themselves) at Back Mesa in Arizona. The term “Diné,” meaning—“the people”—is a preferred descriptor for the tribe, Jonathan learned, because in the worldview of the Diné, amongst the many varied animals and “figures” in the world, “the people” are considered just one more of those figures that make up the world. The name “Navajo” was never a name the Diné took upon themselves.

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Posted in: community psychology, Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology