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Previous Public Programs

Selected In-Person Programs (2013 - 2017)


February 18-19, 2017

Bodhisattva Transformation: Leading Lives of Sacred Purpose

with Jean Houston

A Two-Day Workshop in San Rafael.

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  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us.

January 21-22, 2017

The Integral Practitioner Lab

A Two-Day Workshop in Boston.

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  • Susanne Cook-Greuter, Meridian Faculty, is a founding member of the Integral Institute and is considered a leading authority in ego development theory and structural text analysis.
  • Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is a sociologist, psychologist and futurist and the President of Meridian University.
  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us.
  • Zak Stein, Ed.D. is the Director of Assessment and Student Development at Meridian University and co-founder of Lectica, Inc.
  • Katie Heikkinen, Ed.D., has a strong background in research developmental psychology and integral approaches to education. 

October 1-2 & 15-16, 2016

The Integral Practitioner Lab

A Two Day Workshop in the Bay Area and Berlin.

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  • Susanne Cook-Greuter, Meridian Faculty, is a founding member of the Integral Institute and is considered a leading authority in ego development theory and structural text analysis.
  • Dr. Joel Kreisburg's work is based on 28 years as an integrative physician, 20 years of innovative program development in healthcare and several years as an Integral Master Coach™
  • Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is a sociologist, psychologist and futurist and the President of Meridian University.
  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us.
  • Zak Stein, Ed.D. is the Director of Assessment and Student Development at Meridian University and co-founder of Lectica, Inc.
  • Other presenters included: Marc Fabionar, Benjamin Joon, Nico Roenpagel, Lisa Baumann, Felix Falkenhahn, Elke Fein, Sabina Abdulajeva, Barbara Meibom, Mounira Latrache, Alain Gauthier

July 23, 2016

Harvesting the Bodhisattva Imagination with Jean Houston

A One-Day Workshop at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa.

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  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us.

July 16, 2016

Leadership and the Shadow: Exploring the Development of Self-Identity with Terri O'Fallon and Aftab Omer

A One-Day Workshop at Meridian's Oakland Center.

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  • Terri O'Fallon, Ph.D. is a researcher, coach, and spiritual director with 52 years of experience teaching all age groups and a faculty member at Meridian University.  
  • Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is a sociologist, psychologist and futurist and the President of Meridian University.

May 21, 2016

Imagination and Social Healing: Learning to Share Our Worlds

Participatory Symposium in Berlin

A day-long symposium guided by a team of 10 presenters. Conveners: Aftab Omer and Martin Michaelis.

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  • Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is a sociologist, psychologist and futurist and the President of Meridian University.
  • Martin Michaelis is a licensed Mediator and Leadership Coach who works and lives in Berlin, Germany.
  • Mike Kauschke is managing editor of evolve magazine for consciousness and culture, and also works as a translator of books about an integral worldview and spiritual transformation.
  • Gisela Wendling, Ph.D. is Vice President for Global Learning and Senior Consultant at The Grove Consultants International and leads The Grove’s new Global Learning and Exchange Network (GLEN).
  • David Sibbet is Founder and Chairman of The Grove Consultants International, a full service organization development firm based in San Francisco
  • Thomas R. Henschel is the Director and Founder of the Academy for Mediation Berlin (MAB).
  • Elizabeth Debold, Ed.D., is the founder of One World in Dialogue, a virtual space for learning and cross-cultural connection from the emergent awareness of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.
  • Thomas Steininger, Ph.D., studied philosophy at the University of Vienna, specializing in consciousness and social evolution using the work of Heidigger and Wilber.
  • Dennis Wittrock, M.A. (philosophy, English, art) co-director and visionary of the Integral European Conference, is co-founder and board member of Integral Europe.
  • Scott Bolden is a trans-disciplinary designer, engineer, artist and event producer who relocated from New York City to Berlin in 2010.
  • Clara Dorothee Hahn studied movement at the Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem.

January 23, 2015

Jean Houston and Aftab Omer in Conversation
On the Way to Integral Culture: The Rising Feminine

Event Co-Sponsored with the Impact Hub Oakland.

An evening with Meridian's Chancellor Jean Houston, in conversation with Meridian's President Aftab Omer.

  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us;
  • Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is a sociologist, psychologist and futurist and the President of Meridian University.

October 21, 2014

Beyond the Green Economy:
Charles Eisenstein and Aftab Omer in Conversation

Event Co-Sponsored with the Impact Hub Oakland.

The concept of the Green Economy seeks to align money with ecological values. As such it is a positive step, but it ignores deeper forms of social, cultural, and spiritual hegemony. Increasingly, it is at this deeper level that we are called to act: a transition not only in our institutions but also in our ways of thinking, knowing, and relating.

  • Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, is a speaker and writer focusing on themes of human culture and identity.
  • Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is a sociologist, psychologist and futurist and the President of Meridian University.

August 3, 2014

Jean Houston: The Alternate Universe In Which We All Live

Event Co-Sponsored with Bay Area Integral.

An evening with Meridian's Chancellor Jean Houston, in conversation with Leadership and Social Transformation Faculty Member Terry Patten.

  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us;
  • Terry Patten, co-author with Ken Wilber of Integral Life Practice.

February 28, 2014

Thriving on Complexity: Human Capacities for the Next Renaissance

An Evening with Jean Houston

Jean Houston and the faculty of the Leadership and Social Transformation program at Meridian University spent an evening exploring the abilities that will sustain ourselves and our communities as the world remakes itself. The faculty panel included:

  • Jean Houston, Chancellor, Meridian University, and author of over 25 books, including the recent, The Wizard of Us;
  • Duane Elgin, author of The Living Universe and several other books, including the groundbreaking book, Voluntary Simplicity;
  • Terry Patten, co-author with Ken Wilber of Integral Life Practice;
  • Aftab Omer, President, Meridian University.

January 18, 2014

Crafting Your Own Religion

with Thomas Moore 

Meridian University hosted a day-long event with Thomas Moore. In contemplating this day, Thomas Moore wrote: "Now that we have separated from an old form of religion and matured our spirituality, it's time to return to a new and deeper, more personally shaped and engaged religion. This kind of religion is an awareness of the mysteries that are within us and around us, and then a concrete, personal and communal response."


April 12-15, 2013

Presencing Collective Wisdom: Transformative Learning and the Future of Culture

with Thomas Hübl and Aftab Omer

At Presencing Collective Wisdom, a weekend with contemporary spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl and Meridian University President Aftab Omer, we gathered to explore the possibilities offered by collective transformative learning. We considered the dynamics underlying collective harmdoing; engaged in practices connected to social healing and reconciliation; and practiced how nurturing presence and awareness in our daily lives can help to awaken social intelligence and collaboration.

  • Thomas Hübl is a contemporary spiritual teacher. His work integrates the essence of the great wisdom traditions, scientific learning, and personal experiences.
  • Aftab Omer is President of Meridian University, where transformative learning is at the core of the degree programs.

April 6, 2013

Somatic Psychology, Yoga & The Self

with Eleanor Criswell

Somatic practices and yoga in particular, are profound resources for healing and transformation. This workshop was an introduction to somatics and yoga therapy including practices that can be used for ourselves and our clients and is designed for individuals seeking to integrate an understanding of somatics and yoga therapy into their work. This workshop explored how basic principles of yoga can be applied to somatic psychology, how the self is conceived in the yogic traditions, and how these views can be applied to effective psychotherapeutic treatment.

Eleanor Criswell, Ed.D. is President of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She is Core Faculty at Meridian University, editor of the journal Somatics and a licensed psychologist. Eleanor is the author of Somatic Yoga and Somatics and Biofeedback.


February 16, 2013

Cinderella's Future: How Envy Shapes our Lives

with Aftab Omer

Whose life has not been affected by envy? Whether in intimate, professional, or public settings, encountering envy powerfully shapes our individual and collective lives. Psychotherapists, coaches, and educators can serve meaningfully when facilitating self-awareness of envying and being envied. Awareness of envy opens possibilities for creating a meaningful, authentic and ambitious future life. Through theory, story, myth, and dialogue this workshop imaginatively explored the landscape of envy.

Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is President and Core Faculty at Meridian University. His research has focused on the emergence of human capacities within transformative learning communities and his work includes assisting organizations in tapping the creative potentials of conflict, diversity, and complexity.


 January 30, 2013

The Depth of Religious Experience: The Heart of Secular Life

Thomas Moore in conversation with Aftab Omer

Thomas Moore proposes that we shape our lives around certain spiritual experiences that define us and put us in relation to the greater life and world. We all have such intuitions and inspirations but may not see their importance to our spiritual lives. This deeper religion is in no way separate from secular life. In fact, it is the heart and soul of secular existence. Meridian University hosted an evening with Thomas Moore, where he discussed his upcoming book, The Depth of Religious Experience: The Heart of Secular Life.

This event was co-sponsored by St. John's Episcopal Church.


Selected Past Programs - 2012:

December 3-9, 2012
The Mystery of Embodiment - A Seven-Day Online Summit

What does it mean to be embodied? Is it simply a sense of being in one’s body? Or is it something deeper and more mysterious? Is embodiment innate, or is it a transformative practice, in and of itself?

For seven days, over 25 pioneers and teachers of somatic studies explored the Mystery of Embodiment. These presenters have inspired, informed, inquired, learned together, and helped listeners to deepen their own participation into the mystery of embodiment. Each day of the summit featured live interviews, including Q&A at the end of each interview. Although this event is now concluded, you can access the recordings by registering for this event.

Click Here to Register and Access the Recordings


November 1-4, 2012

10th Annual International Transformative Learning Conference

Meridian's Center for Transformative Learning hosted the 10th International Conference on Transformative Learning in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first Transformative Learning Conference was convened in 1998 at Columbia University. Since that time, the conference has reconvened on a regular basis hosted by a different institutution each time. The last conference took place in the spring of 2011 in Athens, Greece.

This Event is Over - Click Here for Event Details


September - October 2012

Conversations on Transformative Learning

Meridian University's Center for Transformative Learning hosted a series of virtual conversations. These conversations took place in September and October as we approached the 10th International Transformative Learning Conference - A Future for Earth: Re-Imagining Learning for a Transforming World, held in San Francisco in November 2012.

The summit is over but you can still listen to the interviews by registering.
Click Here to Register


April 12-15, 2012

Telesummit on Transformative Learning

Meridian University’s Center for Transformative Learning will present a telesummit on Transformative Learning. Thirty to forty presenters working in various domains and levels will share their praxis of transformative learning. Each day of the Telesummit will feature live conversations, including live Q&A. These conversations can be listened to by phone or webcast. The telesummit is an opportunity to share in and confer about significant and exciting developments occurring in transformative learning.

The summit is over but you can still listen to the interviews by registering.
Click Here to Register


Selected Past Programs - 2011:

May 21, 2011
A One-Day Symposium:
The Poetic Body: Integrating Somatic Psychology and the Expressive Arts

Somatic Psychology and Expressive Arts are blessed with rich histories and vibrant professional communities. Both approaches rely on accessing untapped sources of implicit knowledge to deepen our understanding of what it means to be human and to strengthen our capacity for change. Although both Somatic Psychology and the Expressive Arts work with the imagination, and have developed sophisticated tools for undertaking the profoundly important work of personal and cultural transformation, few opportunities for dialogue between these two communities currently exist.
This symposium fostered an ongoing exchange of ideas, practices, and inspirations. The day featured practitioners in somatic psychology and expressive arts, as well as poets, artists, and movement practitioners.


Selected Past Programs - 2010:

Saturday, December 11, 2010 (6:30pm - 9:30pm)
Madness at the Gate: Power, Culture, and Innocence

Presenters include: Barry Spector, author of the recently published book, Madness at the Gates of the City: The Myth of American Innocence.


Friday, December 10, 2010
Facing Fate, Finding A Destiny
with Michael Meade

According to ancient myths, each soul makes two agreements upon entering the world. The First Agreement binds the individual to a distinct destiny that becomes the soul’s great project in life. The second level of agreements entangles each person in the limitations of fate and responsibilities for family and community. While all second agreements can be renegotiated, the First Agreement is non-negotiable.

If a person does not face their fate, they may never find their deep resources and natural gifts. If a person does not risk their destiny, they will never know who they are intended to be. Fate and destiny are the two agreements the soul must make and the core issues we struggle with throughout our lives.


November 19-21, 2010 - San Francisco, California
Engaging The Other: The Power of Compassion

Meridian University  co-sponsored this conference with the Common Bond Institute.
An international, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary conference, examining concepts of "The OTHER" from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote wider public dialogue about concepts of "Us and Them". More...


Saturday, January 30, 2010
Mending the Divide: Gathering the Gifts of Social Healing

Earlier this year, Meridian University's Center for Social Healing and Cultural Praxis held a symposium: "Mending the Divide: Gathering the Gifts of Social Healing". The symposium brought together an array of speakers that provided diverse perspectives into the challenges, possibilities, and practices of social healing.

Presenters included: Steve Bhaerman, Linda Blong, Kenn Burrows, Tommy Donovan, Terry Garcia, Mahvash Hassan, Corinne McLaughlin, Larry Robinson, Kirk Schneider, and Zara Zimbardo.


The symposium's keynote speaker, Susan Griffin, spoke on "The Need for Enemies." It was a day of active dialogue as participants and presenters wrestled with complex issues of climate change, economic injustice, intimate violence, stereotyping and scapegoating, and ethnic conflict, while exploring the practices that might create conditions of social healing, such as restorative justice, rebuilding trust in the aftermath of trauma, the power of empathy, and the role of awe in recasting our vision of the world.


Selected Past Programs - 2009:

November 12-15, 2009 - San Francisco, California
Engaging The Other: The Power of Compassion
Meridian University has co-sponsored this conference with the Common Bond Institute since 2006.

An international, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary conference, examining concepts of "The OTHER" from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote wider public dialogue about concepts of "Us and Them".


Saturday, April 18, 2009
Myth, Psychology, and the Mystery of Transformation: A Day with Jean Houston
Whenever a society is in a state of breakdown and breakthrough, it often requires a new social alignment that only myth can bring. It is the mythologically wise community that finds ways to mediate and so refocus the shadow sides of self and society.


Saturday, March 28, 2009
Nature and the Human Soul
with Bill Plotkin
This program is an introduction to soulcraft practices, designed to evoke the life-shifting experience of soul encounter. The soul is our true place, the largest conversation we are individually capable of having with the world, a world so much in need of the socially transforming contributions of actively engaged, visionary adults.


Saturday, February 28, 2009
Women, Power & Intimacy
with Melissa Schwartz
Genuine intimacy requires that two autonomous, powerful persons lay down their entrenched habits of self-protectiveness and participate deeply in the vulnerability of relationship. This workshop explores the resistance women have to embodying power and offers resources that can empower women within intimate relationships. (This workshop is for women.)


Saturday, February 28, 2009
Turning Towards the Darkness: Grief and the Initiation of Men
with Aftab Omer
Loss, limitation, and the failure of initiation bring the soul into grief. In turning towards the darkness, men can open a wellspring for renewal and revitalization. In this way, grief can be a doorway to the creative endeavors that constitute a man's destiny. This workshop gives men the opportunity to explore how the process of grieving initiates the soul's passionate and compassionate nature into deeper participation, igniting a life of meaning and desire. (This workshop is for men.)


Friday, February 20, 2009
An Evening with Shaun McNiff

Join the Institute's community in an evening dialogue with Shaun McNiff.


Saturday, February 21, 2009
Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul
This workshop explores how the arts heal through immersion in soulful expression; how to transform conflict and pain and make use of our disturbances as sources of creative power; and how to construct creative spaces to help you trust the process, let go, and access self expression.


Sunday, February 22, 2009
The Alchemy of Imagination: Creating with the Shadow
Art heals by infusing people and places with creative energy; one image begets another in an ongoing process of expression that transforms difficulties into affirmation of life. Explore how difficulties have a formative and perhaps even necessary place within the process of creative expression. Rather than fixing or eliminating resistances and feelings of uncertainty, we will explore how they can be embraced as vital partners.


Selected Past Programs - 2008:

Friday, December 12, 2008
An Evening with Angeles Arrien
Join the Institute's community in an evening dialogue with Angeles Arrien.


Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Second Half of Life
In every culture and every age, there is a turning point in human life. At this threshold you begin the greatest adventure: the second half of life. When you find the courage to change at midlife, a miracle happens. Your character is opened, deepened, strengthened, softened. You are now prepared to create your legacy: an imprint of your dream for our world – a dream that can only come true in the second half of life.


Saturday, December 6, 2008
When the Body is the Battlefield: Women, Food, and Desire
with Melissa Schwartz
This workshop addresses personal, cultural, and mythic aspects of women's relationship to desire and the body. Here, desire is understood as what women long for, as well as what they yearn to change in their lives. By imaginatively working with the complex motivations and strategies that women often use to avoid and engage their deepest yearnings and frustrations, a joyful relationship to food and one's body can be achieved. (This workshop is for women.)


November 8, 2008
When Imagination Leads: A Collaborative Approach to Cultural Leadership and Cultural Transformation
with Aftab Omer
A collaborative approach to leadership is sourced in deep followership, which requires receptivity, surrender, trust, and faith in the imagination as a source of guidance. This approach to leadership is particularly significant when we are leading ourselves and others through the difficult landscapes of loss, transition, failure, danger, deception, resistance, and conflict.


Saturday, November 1, 2008
Learning to Die In Order to Live
with Scott Eberle
All cultures have stories about how a dying person progresses through different psychospiritual stages. In many of the ancient teachings about dying, reflecting on how to die also has revealed wisdom about how to live. A psychospiritual map about how to die physically is also a useful guide for how to die symbolically. Occasionally in life, you come to a place where something is “dying”: a troubled relationship, a dead-end job, a waning interest, a way of being in the world that no longer serves you. In order for a new life-affirming story to emerge, first you must do the hard work of letting the old story “die.”


Saturday, November 1, 2008
BodyMind Healing in Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health
with Michael Mayer
This workshop offers self-healing methods that can aid our physical and mental health through the integration of Qigong and psychotherapy. Qigong is a several thousand year-old method of energy cultivation that can be done with movements or in stillness. You will learn how to integrate Qigong into psychotherapy without using Qigong movements. Combining theory, case illustrations, and self-healing practices, this integral bodymind healing approach can help alleviate anxiety, hypertension, chronic pain, insomnia, etc.


Saturday, October 25, 2008
The Once & Future Culture: Psychology & The World
A One-Day Symposium

Political-economic chaos, climate change, and profound social issues are the context of everyday life in a globalized world as we approach the 2008 Presidential elections. This symposium explores what contribution psychology can make in responding to the current cultural crisis and harvesting its potentials. Presenters include Shepherd Bliss, Susan Griffin, Aftab Omer, Larry Robinson, Natalie Rogers, Donald Rothberg, Art Warmoth, and others.


Friday Evening, October 24, 2008
The World Behind The World: Living at the Ends of Time
with Michael Meade
In this presentation on his recently released book, Michael will weave a tapestry of mythic tales and cogent commentary that truly inspire and offer a mythic inoculation for these troubled times. As nature rattles and culture unravels, mythic imagination tries to return to the world and awaken a meaningful purpose and helpful direction in each person's life. (There is no charge for this event.)


Saturday, September 13, 2008
The Art of Conflict: Deepening Relationship through Expressive Communication
with Aftab Omer
The Art of Conflict harnesses the energies of conflict, diversity, and chaos to deepen relationship. Individuals, families, and organizations, typically alternate between avoiding conflict and enacting conflict that does harm. When skilled in the art of conflict, we can facilitate the recognition and engagement of differences necessary for creating intimacy, community, and cultural change. This program explores these themes and the power of expression in practicing the art of conflict.


August 19-24, 2008 - Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Sophia Conference

Meridian University co-sponsored this conference with The School of Spiritual Psychology.
The School of Spiritual Psychology resumes these immensely important Sophia Conferences after a seven year holding in the heart’s interior. So much has changed. The year of the last conference, 2001, saw the symbolic dissolution of the power of the binary, mental world that sees things in polarities and oppositions that are absolute. The continuing strife displays the resistance to this dissolution. Knowledge of the Way of Unity is needed. This conference not only speaks about but also demonstrates the wholeness of spherical consciousness. More...


Friday, April 11, 2008
An Evening with Robert Sardello
Join the Institute's community in an evening dialogue with Robert Sardello.


Saturday, April 12, 2008
Body Awareness: From Body-Soul to Soul-Body
This workshop explores the terrain of the human body, of our body, and its in-depth unity with the soul-body of the world and of the cosmos. Among the primary qualities, we will explore the in-breath and out-breath of awareness, with particular emphasis on entering the center of the Silence of the body, and our link to the soul-body of the world. We will also enter into practices of being with another within the sense of the soul-body awareness.


Sunday, April 13, 2008
Soul Work with Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money
This workshop will assist participants in unfolding healthy money-consciousness. We will engage stories of the sacred origins of money and consider how humanity has diverted from the sacred aspects of exchange. We will work with inner practices to become conscious of the currents of money in our lives and how money works to deepen inner wealth and connections of sacred service in the world.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008
An Evening with Thomas Moore
A job is never just a job. It is always connected to a deep and invisible process of finding meaning in life through work.In his groundbreaking book Care of the Soul, Thomas Moore taught readers ways to cultivate depth, genuineness, and soulfulness in their everyday lives. Now, in A Life at Work, Moore turns to an aspect of our lives that looms large in our self-regard, an aspect by which we may even define ourselves—our work. The workplace, Moore knows, is a laboratory where matters of soul are worked out. A Life at Work is about finding the right vocation, yes, and it is also about uncovering one’s avocation—becoming the person you were meant to be. . .Join the IIS Community as we dialogue with Thomas Moore about A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What We Were Born To Do.


Saturday, March 1, 2008
Creative Collaboration: An Exploration Through Movement
with Paul Loper
Growing our capacity to create community is one of the most pressing issues we face in our culture today. Engagement with the imaginative, somatic, and expressive dimensions of our selves is necessary if we are to develop our capacity for collaboration. This workshop uses the Chormmunity (choreography + community) method to facilitate the participants in growing collaborative capacities — through movement inquiry, dialogue, drawing, collectively choreographing, and enacting a “movement text” (re-inhabiting the self-authored collective body). Together, we will be the playwrights, choreographers, directors, performers, and audience of our own soul’s unfolding.


Saturday, February 16, 2008
Imagining the Enemy: Aesthetic Responsibility and Social Change
with Stephen and Ellen Levine
We can only fight a war if we imagine an enemy who is confronting us. In this workshop we will explore ways of responding to images of the enemy that draw upon our creative resources and enable us to go beyond hatred and fear. Ultimately, as James Hillman reminds us, only "aesthetic passion" can be a match for our "terrible love of war".


Sunday, January 20, 2008
The Poetic Imagination: How Poetry and Stories Can Heal the Soul
with Robert Bly
Good poetry dips down into the sorrow areas of the soul, just as the great stories do. The listener often finds his or her most puzzling failure or limitation evoked in the opening words. They are then offered, through images and metaphor, some way through. They are even offered a way to rejoice in their failure, just as great stories and great psychotherapy sometimes do. Robert Bly will tell two or three classic stories, as well as some poems by Rilke, Yeats, and others.


Selected Past Programs - 2007:

Friday, December 14, 2007
The Poetics of Peace
Join the Institute's community in an evening dialogue with Michael Meade.


Saturday, December 15, 2007
The World Behind the World: Myth & Imagination in Troubled Times
The world behind the world refers to the roots of imagination that give rise to the real world, to the deep resources hidden in the human soul, and to the spirit that imbues the green garment of Great Nature with fervent life. This workshop offers mythic tales and perspectives which weave together the psychological with the mythological, the visible with the invisible, and the immediate with the ancient.


Sunday, December 16, 2007
The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul
This workshop draws on the new edition of Michael’s book, The Water of Life, which addresses initiation and the roots of conflict. The Water of Life, as a core symbol, refers to both personal and cultural renewal, as well as the redemption of the spiritual wasteland.


Saturday, December 1, 2007
Transforming Relationships: Tools for Conscious Communication and Conflict Resolution
with Georgia Kelly
Conflicts provide an opportunity to improve relationships and increase understanding. Managing conflicts successfully greatly enhances our quality of life, reduces stress, and gives us more self-confidence. This interactive workshop is an in-depth exploration of how to understand and transform conflicts in our daily lives. We will examine the roots of conflict, develop practical skills for effective communication and conflict management, and create plans for post-workshop study and practice.


Saturday, December 1, 2007
The Dreaming Imagination: Maps of the Soul's Unfolding
with Karen Jaenke
Dreams come nightly as unedited expressions of the soul's stirrings, longings, suffering, and potential. Active engagement with our dreams through the cultivation of transformative dream practices offers a pathway to tap into and realize this soul potential. This workshop offers practices that facilitiate exploring the roles of dreams in aligning with the soul's unfolding toward its deeper potentials.  


 Friday, November 9, 2007
Strange Weather on a Breathing Planet: The Wild Horizons of Ecological Psychology
Join the Institute's community in an evening dialogue with David Abram


Saturday, November 10, 2007
Shadowed Wonder: Wild Language and the Ecology of Perception
The intensifying ecological crisis may usefully be considered a crisis of perception; many persons — indeed whole cultures — seem to have lost their ability to actually see surrounding nature with any clarity, or to hear as meaningful anything other than a human voice. This blindness and deafness have lodged themselves in ways of speaking that continually deny the expressive vitality of other animals, of oak trees and rushing rivers, and indeed of the living land itself.


Saturday, November 11, 2007
Becoming Animal: Shapeshifting and the Ecology of Magic
In this course we will turn our awareness toward the earthly role of the magician – the medicine person or shapeshifter – in traditionally oral, indigenous cultures. We'll explore various aspects of magic (as a uniquely embodied way of thinking, and as an elemental way of life) in hopes of glimpsing something of the relevance such a practice might have within contemporary civilization. Is there a new shape for the sacred, a radically immanent form of wonder that is struggling to be born at this precarious moment in the world's unfolding?   


Saturday, October 27, 2007
Engaging Images of Evil: Exploring the Victim/Perpetrator/Bystander in All Of Us
with Lisa Herman and Armand Volkas
This experiential workshop will explore the effect of images of evil on those who are not directly involved in the events. These images may be the story of a client’s suffering, the sound of a friend’s sob, a photo in a newspaper, or a film clip on television or the Internet. When the image of evil continues to haunt us in our waking and dreaming lives, it becomes part of our own story calling us to respond. Through drama and other expressive arts, we will explore our responsibility to engage with the images of evil done to others.


Saturday, October 13, 2007
The Soul in Shame: Integrity, Conscience, and the Moral Imagination
with Aftab Omer
The experience of shame plays a critical role in developing a discerning conscience and an autonomous individuality while at the same time sustaining integrity and dignity. Our ability to imagine how we are affecting the other—our moral imagination—is profoundly linked to the depth and breadth of our engagement with shame. This workshop is an experiential exploration of the role of shame-discerning awareness in transforming relationships within families, communities, and the workplace. This experiential program is an introduction to the principles and practices that guide Transformative Learning at Meridian University.


July 31-August 7, 2007 - Bali, Indonesia
Awakening Global Action: Leadership, Indigenous Wisdom, and Dialog for a Transforming World

Co-sponsored with the Bali Institute for Global Renewal.
Spend 7 days that will change your world! Individuals of all ages (18-80+) are invited to participate in an extraordinary gathering designed to offer cutting-edge leadership training, deep listening, shared experiences and collaborative cross-cultural learning that promises to shape your future as a committed global citizen. www.baliinstitute.org


Saturday, July 21, 2007
The Art of Conflict: Practices for Expressive Communication
with Aftab Omer
The Art of Conflict harnesses the energies of conflict, diversity, and chaos to create cultural change. As individuals, families, and organizations, we typically alternate between avoiding conflict and enacting conflict that does harm. Individuals, families, and organizations skilled in the art of conflict facilitate the recognition and engagement of differences necessary for creative collaboration and cultural change. This workshop explores these themes and the power of imagination in practicing the art of conflict. This experiential program is an introduction to the principles and practices that guide Transformative Learning at Meridian University.


Saturday, July 14, 2007
Waking the Global Heart: Humanity's Rite of Passage
with Anodea Judith
We who are alive today hold the future in our hands. With the view that we are in our collective adolescence, undergoing a rite of passage toward our future maturity, our current world problems can be seen as evolutionary drivers, initiators that are calling us to a new way of living. Through story, song, poetry, visual images, guided visualizations, and interactive participation, this workshop will focus on how the initiation process within each of us brings us to the next level of consciousness, a movement from power to love.


Saturday, July 14, 2007
Crimes of the Dreamer: Reflections on Psychotherapy
with Naomi Lowinsky
Consciousness is a “crime” against the parents, the authorities, the priests, the rabbis, the imams. On the way to becoming ourselves, the repressed steps out of the closet, skeletons dance; the child who was meant to be seen and not heard, breaks silence, tells the family secrets. Psychotherapy, a most subversive process, encourages such “crimes”. The therapist opens doors and windows to forbidden realms; lures our imagination to come out to play. This workshop invites you to reflect on and write about the “crimes” of your journey toward individuation.


Saturday, June 16, 2007
Motion Theater: Improvising Your Life
with Nina Wise
Everyone has a story to tell, but few of us have the opportunity to express ourselves freely in a safe and supportive environment. Stories reside in the body, so we will begin by moving from our center, giving voice and gesture to our private characters and realities. Unbounded self-expression is remarkably satisfying–for the heart, the mind, the soul, and the body. This workshop includes relaxation, meditation, movement, singing, storytelling, and theater games.


June 3-9, 2007 - Dubrovinik, Croatia
Transforming Culture: From Empire to Global Community
Co-sponsored with the Praxis Peace Institute.
We are at a crossroads in human history. On the verge of rendering our planet uninhabitable within a century or less, it is time to ask the hard questions about the accepted norms in society, religion, economics, politics and cultural identities. It is the purpose of the 2007 Praxis Conference to examine the stories that will transform culture from the myths of empire to the stories of respectful global community. Speakers include: Tom Hayden, Frances Moore Lappe, Thom Hartmann, George Lakoff, Riane Eisler, David Korten, Hazel Henderson, Ervin Lazslo, Swami Beyondananda, James O'Dea, Aftab Omer, and several others.


Saturday, May 12, 2007
Longing for Wholeness: Embracing the Shadow in Relationship
with Linda and Charlie Bloom
This workshop will provide, through experiential process, role playing and group exercises, the means through which we can learn to listen to and speak from the truth each moment. We will explore the means through which we can honor the wisdom of the heart even when it is closed in fear or pain. In coming to terms with the hidden aspects of ourselves, we can bring greater authenticity, playfulness, intimacy, and co-creativity into our lives and all of our relationships.


April 29 - May 12, 2007
Initiation and the Mythic Imagination: A Pilgrimage to the Mystery Centers of Ancient Greece
with Aftab Omer & Melissa Schwartz 

The mystery of pilgrimage rests in the soul's essential engagement with place, memory, and meaning. In certain places there are reverberating voices which are especially distinct and condensed with meaning. The mystery centers of Ancient Greece were a crucible for transformative learning--a contemporary term for initiation. Following our 2005 pilgrimage, Aftab Omer and Melissa Schwartz will lead a two-week pilgrimage to the mystery centers of Ancient Greece in the Spring of 2007. This intimate, transformative journey to the birthplace of classical mythology will be a window into mythic imagination and the sources of our cultural life.


Selected Past Programs - 2006:

November 18, 2006
The Fiery Soul: Anger, Fierceness, and Creativity with Aftab Omer
Anger as an emotion is problematic both when suppressed as well as when violently enacted. Our personal health, intimate and family relationships, as well as our participation as citizens is diminished when the vitality of anger is denied effective expression. This workshop offers practices which facilitate the transmuting of anger into fierce and creative action.


November 18, 2006
Breath of Life: Freeing Your Voice with Bret Lyon
We have been taught for so long to be reasonable, polite and controlled, that our voices have lost much of their range and power. Yet the voice is your most potent tool for reaching out and expressing yourself to others. A baby, when it wants something, can cry for hours without letup and without strain. The breath flows in, the sound comes out - powered by need, and nothing gets in the way. But as we get older, muscles tighten, breathing becomes restricted, faces rigidify, and we lose the free sound that was ours at birth. This workshop is designed to help you connect more fully with your body and breathing, find and use your natural, full sound and improve your voice for speaking and singing. 


November 10-12, 2006
A 3-Day Program with Joanna Macy

The Great Turning - Friday, November 10, 2006

A global revolution is underway: the transition from a self-devouring consumer society to a life sustaining civilization. A key feature of this Great Turning is the rediscovery of our interconnectedness with all life forms, and the power it provides us for the healing of our world.

Taking Heart in Tough Times - Saturday, November 11, 2006
Drawing on spiritual teachings, we recognize the grief that we are carrying for our world and see it as living proof of our mutual belonging, and an integral part of humanity's awakening. Drawing on systems theory, we recognize how self-organizing systems use adversity to evolve in complexity and intelligence.

Theory and Practice of Deep Time - Sunday, November 12, 2006
Taking a vacation from our society's addiction to speed and short-term thinking, we will open to vast stretches of time, seeing our lives in ever wider contexts. Our evolutionary journey will become more real to us and to future generations as well, helping us to understand what these future generations need us to do now. This Deep Time work brings buoyancy and staying power for the long haul.   


October 21, 2006
Somatic Transformation with Eleanor Criswell
As psychotherapists and others in the helping professions, our bodies are resonating with the concerns of our patients, clients, or students. This workshop includes somatic theory and exercises for somatically transforming yourself. As we are able to transform ourselves, freeing muscles and emotions, we move toward the actualization of our full potential. This workshop is designed for professionals seeking to enhance the somatic dimension of their work as well as for individuals seeking further personal development.


September 9, 2006
Shamanic Healing: Indigenous Perspectives of Self and Reality with Hank Wesselman
Long before the rise of our state level societies, our indigenous ancestors discovered powerful methods for mastering the capabilities of the human body-mind-spirit complex. Today, there is a resurgence of interest in the ancient, time-tested ways of the shaman for entering mystical states of consciousness for healing and problem solving. This experiential workshop includes an overview of the three classic causes of illness and the four traditional levels of healing.


Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Transformative Power of Ritual with Melissa Schwartz
Ritual is necessity. As the lungs breathe, so does the soul ritualize. Ritual has an essential role in tending relationships, families, communities, and even workplaces. Our ancestors knew that life is unbearable without ritual. The origins of art and religion are in ritual; to ritualize is to make sacred. This workshop explores the creative and transformative uses of ritual in our everyday lives.


Saturday, August 26, 2006
Longing for Wholeness: Embracing the Shadow in Relationship with Linda & Charlie Bloom
Conscious relationships require more than simply knowing about the right things to do. The gap between knowledge and action can be vast. Until we can span this gulf, it is impossible to embody our understanding within our behaviors, despite our best intentions. A key element of this process is the uncovering of the shadow side of our unconscious fears, longings, and passions. In accessing denied aspects of ourselves, we recover our hidden power to engage fully and powerfully with our capacity to love others and receive love from them.


Saturday, July 29, 2006
Following the Signs: The Mysterious Process of Creation with Susan Griffin
To create a work of art is emotionally and spiritually challenging in the best ways. An artist grows not so much from catharsis but through the demands of art, beauty, form, and narrative. Such demands push the imagination outside ordinary and conventional boundaries and assumptions, providing support for a journey into uncharted territories of the soul.


Saturday, July 15, 2006
Restoring the Soul of Democracy: Political Engagement as a Spiritual Practice
with Larry Robinson
Our body politic suffers from a profound dysfunction whose symptoms include cynicism, denial, and despair, all indicative of the loss of soul. To restore the soul of democracy is a project which will require faith, courage, hard work, and passionate engagement. The antidote to cynicism and despair is engagement. When we bring our full humanity into mindful, loving action, the world is transformed and we are transformed. Understood in this context, politics itself can be a profound spiritual practice.


Saturday, July 15, 2006
The Tao of Story: Finding Life's Deeper Meaning with Allan Chinen
We live in stories, consciously or not. Many of them bedevil us, especially stories we are stuck in, fail at, fight about, or find boring. This workshop explores basic narrative issues we encounter in life, and the resolutions portrayed in folk and classic narratives. Using exercises to apply these perspectives to our own lives, we will journey through ever-deeper levels of narrative. The result is a map of adult development which ideally culminates in enlightenment.


Saturday, June 17, 2006
Bodymind Healing: Integrating Qigong with Imagery with Michael Mayer
A wide range of psychological and physical conditions are responsive to an integrated approach that includes Western psychotherapy, Qigong, and imagery based practices. This workshop introduces participants to Michael's distinct approach to bodymind healing which incorporates Taoist breathing methods, self-hypnosis, psychodynamic work, Focusing, acupressure self-touch, and symbolic process methods. Theory, case examples, and experiential methods will be interwoven.


Saturday, June 17, 2006
Shoes Too Small: Stepping Into Your Bigger Story with Jeremiah Abrams
The call to the life you are meant to live–the message of your soul's true voice, your spiritual motive force–may be pressing up on you right now, unheeded. To consent to that unlived life is a major challenge of adult life. C.G. Jung once said we all live as if walking in shoes too small for us. We are tigers walking around as goats. This workshop is a laboratory to discover your bigger story, an opportunity to redefine the meaning of success in your life, a chance to remove obstacles. We will employ experiential techniques to call forth and validate your bigger story.


Saturday, June 10, 2006
When the Body is the Battlefield: Women, Food, and Desire with Melissa Schwartz
This experiential workshop addresses personal, cultural, and mythic aspects of women's relationship to desire and the body. Here, desire is understood as being about what women long for, as well as what they yearn to change in their lives. By imaginatively working with the complex motivations and strategies that women typically use to avoid and engage their deepest yearnings and frustrations, a joyful relationship to food and one's body can be achieved. (This workshop is for women.)


Sunday, April 23, 2006
Nourishing the Soul through Creative Process with Natalie Rogers
Within each of us is a creative spirit longing to emerge, to be known and celebrated. Yet, out of fear, shame, shyness, or just plain reluctance, most of us have put a lid on the deep well – the source – of our creativity. The creative process puts us in touch with our soul, our spirit, our inner wisdom. Allowing ourselves expression through the creative arts – movement, art, music, and writing – is a sacred and often mystical experience, transforming pain, anger, fear, and grief into forms that can nourish the soul. This is an experiential workshop open to all who wish to go on an inner journey through a creative process.


Selected Past Programs - 2005:

Saturday, October 29, 2005
The Art of Conflict: Imagination, Leadership and the Transformation of Culture
The Art of Conflict harnesses the energies of conflict, diversity, and chaos to create cultural change. As individuals, families, and organizations, we typically alternate between avoiding conflict and enacting conflict that does harm. Leaders skilled in the art of conflict facilitate the recognition and engagement of differences necessary for creative collaboration and cultural change. This workshop explores these themes and the power of imagination in practicing the art of conflict.


Saturday, October 8, 2005
The Transformative Power of Ritual
Ritual is necessity. As the lungs breathe, so does the soul ritualize. Ritual has an essential role in tending relationships, families, communities, and even workplaces. Our ancestors knew that life is unbearable without ritual. The origins of art and religion are in ritual; to ritualize is to make sacred. This workshop explores the creative and transformative uses of ritual in our everyday lives.


Saturday, April 30, 2005
The Soul's Passion: Initiation and the Transformative Journey
The soul actively seeks experiences, including those that are difficult, to initiate us into deeper engagement with the ultimate mysteries of life. These initiatory experiences which pave the transformative journey both evoke and temper the soul's passions. At its best, the transformative journey is an ecstatic ordeal letting joy unite with the deepest sources of meaning. This experiential program is an introduction to the principles and practices that guide Transformative Learning at Meridian University.


Saturday & Sunday, January 22-23, 2005

Imagination in Art, Life, and Work with Shaun McNiff
Creative imagination is "the faculty of faculties", as it gathers together contributions from different ways of knowing, integrating them into a new synthesis. In this workshop, we will create a safe environment to explore how the creative process carries us to new realms of experience and understanding.

Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul with Shaun McNiff
This workshop will explore the themes of Shaun's forthcoming book Art Heals, including how the arts heal through immersion in soulful expression; how to transform conflict and pain and make use of our disturbances as sources of creative power; and how to construct creative spaces to help you trust the process, let go, and access self expression.


Fall 2005 Programs Postcard:
Download (or view) Public Programs Postcard in PDF Format


Selected Past Programs - 2004:

Friday & Saturday, December 10-11, 2004


An Evening with Angeles Arrien
Join the Institute's community in an evening dialogue with Angeles Arrien.

The Spirit of Renewal: Seeds of Transformation
with Angeles Arrien
Every culture recognizes the major transitions of human life. This workshop explores these transitions and the cycles of everyday life as distinct gates of initiation--in our work, relationships, creative projects, and our own transformative journey.


Saturday, November 13, 2004
Stoking the Creative Fires: A Dialog on Sustaining a Creative Life
with Phil Cousineau & R.B. Morris
"What are you on fire about now?" asks writer Phil Cousineau and musician R.B. Morris. "Where does your fiery urge to create come from? What do you do to rekindle the inner flame when it is nearly extinguished by despair or fear? What are you doing to pass on the torch of your inspiration?" The great mystery of how to lead and sustain a creative life begins in the exploration of these primal questions. This evening dialogue is about the great fires of the imagination and finding the courage to create as truly, deeply and boldly as possible.

The workshop leaders are passionately independent artists who have been haunted by words, music, and images all their lives. Phil Cousineau has been in the vanguard of the mythopoetic movement for more than twenty years, writing, filming, and teaching all over the world about the power of ancient stories in modern times, and the healing forces of the arts. R. B. Morris has been performing as singer, composer, and actor on stages across Europe and America, and has recorded five CDs of original music. In this evening dialogue, these long-time friends will join forces to Stoke the Creative Fires.


Saturday, November 6, 2004
The Psychology of Creativity: A Life with the Muses

with Jonathan Young
This workshop focuses on the relationship between the unconscious and the creative process. Presentations draw on timeless stories such as Alice in Wonderland and Robin Hood, to look at issues faced by imaginative people. Special attention will be given to the blocks and challenges encountered in the pursuit of creative endeavors and transformative learning.


Saturday, November 6, 2004
The World at the Tipping Point:
Personal Experience & Collective Wisdom for a Promising Future with Duane Elgin

This workshop explores our personal relationship with the larger human journey as we make the transition to a new world. We will explore the current lifestage of the human family and the relevance of our own personal experience for understanding how to assist in this time of passage. We will also consider the unprecendented challenges ahead as 'adversity trends' (such as climate change) meet equally momentous 'opportunity trends' (such as the global communications revolution). We will then explore what we can do in our personal, professional, and civic lives to bring our true gifts to these pivotal times.


Saturday, October 2, 2004
The Authentic Heart: Creating Mature Love with John Amodeo
The heart longs for love. Mature love requires connection with our authentic self, which is the foundation for connecting more deeply, safely, and tenderly with others. To be authentic without being critical or blaming creates a safe climate for a spiritually rich, vibrant love and intimacy. This workshop will help to develop skills to connect more intimately with yourself so that you may connect with others in a more intimate, delightful, and authentic way. We will explore how to go beyond shame to a deeper, more fulfilling love in our partnerships and friendships.


Saturday, October 2, 2004
Enticement and Betrayal: Imagination and Necessity in the Life of Desire with Linda Sussman
Our task in this workshop will be to understand the interplay of Desire, Imagination, and Necessity in the cycles of enticement and betrayal in our own lives. Such understanding facilitates equanimity and forgiveness. Equally important, such imaginal understanding decontaminates our perception, allowing for a more accurate and compassionate seeing of others and the world. This workshop will be a weaving of poems, stories, slides, commentary, experiential processes, and group conversation.


Saturday, September 18, 2004
The Body's Intelligence: Personality & Emotion in Action with Andrea Isaacs
The body is an under-used channel of learning. Listening to the body gives us access to this area of expertise, expands our ability to have insight about ourselves and others, and trains our bodies to move through difficult emotional states. The foundation of Physical Intelligence is the relationship between emotions and the body. In this workshop we will explore emotional polarities inherent in a range of personality styles (based on the Enneagram) to give an experiential understanding of different ways of being in the world.


Saturday, September 18, 2004
Awakening the Ecological Imagination with Jurgen Kremer
Remembering our indigenous connections is foundational work for awakening the ecological imagination. This work enables us to heal our loss of intimacy with our plant, animal, and rock relations, to mend fractured stories, and to envision a sustainable future. This workshop explores the transformative power of ecological imagination through storytelling, visualization, and ritual.


Saturday, August 21, 2004
Women, Power & Intimacy with Melissa Schwartz
Genuine intimacy requires that two autonomous, powerful persons lay down their entrenched habits of self-protectiveness and participate deeply in the vulnerability of relationship. This workshop explores the resistance women have to embodying power and offers resources that can empower women within intimate relationships. (This workshop is for women.)


Saturday, August 21, 2004
Turning Towards the Darkness: Grief and the Initiation of Men with Aftab Omer
In turning towards the darkness men can open a wellspring for renewal and revitalization. In this way, grief can be a doorway to the creative endeavors that constitute a man's destiny. This workshop gives men the opportunity to explore how the process of grieving initiates the soul's passionate and compassionate nature into deeper participation, igniting a life of meaning. (This workshop is for men.)


Saturday, August 7, 2004
Collaborative Couple Therapy: Turning Fights into Intimate Conversations with Dan Wile
In what could be called the tragedy of everyday couples life, wishes are expressed as complaints, needs are stated as demands, vulnerability is disguised, and power struggles take the place of open communication. Dan Wile will present an approach which utilizes the fight that is occurring in the moment by developing each partners' point of view, and turning it into a moment of intimacy. Dan will show how to create intimate conversations by bringing out the haunting feelings which each partner struggles with alone. Using volunteers from those in attendance for demonstrations as well as video-taped vignettes, Dan will demonstrate this process with a moment-by-moment analysis which highlights the core components.


Saturday, August 7, 2004
The Body of Shame with John Conger
Shame is both hidden and deeply present in our lives. 'Traumatic Shame', experienced in abuse and in times of disgrace, disorganizes us. 'Recognition Shame', in which we are awakened to our hidden nature through the gaze of a friend or therapist, is transformative—integrating, split-off parts of our body-selves. Through the use of case material, lecture, discussion, demonstration, individual and dyad work, John will explore the complex defenses and expression of the shame body and suggests ways to recover a present body-self with a healthy integration of shame.


 

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