Apologies for the long silence.
Rockets and sirens around, airstrikes in Gaza. A bus explodes in Tel Aviv
Collective work is urgent – as always – and more than ever.
Sometimes it feels things will never change for the better. Hope and faith spring and crash again and again.
Below, however, you can read about a new archeself (collective self) I met a few days ago, that is intimately connected to this belief that nothing will ever change for the better.
A moment of optimism: this archeself felt dreadful to begin with, went through a moving and quick transformation and was then filled with peaceful creativity and faith.
Before I tell you about this archeself, that called itself the Magical Builder Children, here is a brief news bulletin:
Many archeselves have made themselves known since I’ve last written: Multitude and single archeselves including wounded children, children who have been sexually molested and child-soldiers, ‘The Old World’, dark shades and many more. Some seem to heal when spoken with, some seem to transform and others experience some relief. I can’t possibly write about them all, although they all deserve to be written about. You can read about some of them in past posts you will find in the archive.
The Exploration Continues
Regular work with my colleague Tim Kelley continues. We meet via Skype almost every week. We discover more and more fascinating collective voices and experience moving transformations as we attempt various approaches to working with them.
A New Name for Our Work
The work with collectives and collective voices has a new name – Archeselves – The Psychology of Collective Voices.
The word ‘archeself’ is a combination of ‘arche’ – from ‘archetype’ and ‘self’ – one of the common names for voices, parts or sub-personalities in Voice Dialogue. The term ‘archeself’ is an attempt to encompass the wide variety of collective voices we have been discovering since 2010. Archeselves are not regular, personal, selves and are usually not Jungian archetypes. They can be viewed as something in-between the two.
We continue to observe and learn. Nothing is final.
The Research Group
Until recently, group work took place once a month in Newe Shalom. We are now discussing how to continue and how to invite new people to join the fascinating exploration we have been fortunate to be involved in. We are also seeking financial support to enable us to do more than is currently possible.
The convergence was meaningful for me in many ways. Present were Voice Dialogue experts and teachers from Europe, US, Australia and Canada. It was pleasant to represent the developing Israeli VD community (including the ongoing facilitation course – about 80 people have so far taken the basic VD facilitation course).
The First International Presentation of Archeself Work
Apart from meaningful meetings with extraordinary people in the VD community, this was an important opportunity to share our basic findings. I facilitated a workshop in which many participants allowed themselves to express archeselves.
The workshop dealt with collective issues of the international VD community and the new VD academic magazine. Due to the interest in this new approach, I facilitated another workshop for those who wanted to experience more and for a few who did not participate in the first workshop.
For those of you who were there and may be reading this – it is important to note that what we did in these two workshops is only one facet of archeself work. There are other ways to work with archeselves that could not be demonstrated in a short workshop.
The Magical Builder Children
As often happens, the Magical Builder Children first appeared as a terrible, undefined feeling I woke with one morning. Happily, that same morning I was supposed to have a Skype meeting with Tim Kelley, my colleague. I told Tim about the unpleasant feelings I was experiencing. I was still not sure whether these sensations and feelings were personal or collective. A quick check led us to understand that this was an archeself waiting to be noticed.
“It won’t work, it won’t work, it won’t work, it’s impossible. It makes us so upset and hopeless. Nothing will ever work. It won’t happen; it won’t succeed. All the beautiful things that people are trying to change won’t happen. It’s not that we want that; we just have no faith. We are many, a huge group, and we’re so upset and despondent. We can barely hold ourselves up. We lean and moan and groan,” said the archeself that looked, at this point, like a host of cartoon-ghosts.
“We’ve been feeling this for so long: hopeless, listless and horrible…We want help. If nothing will ever change…why live? It’s so unpleasant, painful and meaningless.”
The archeself felt it was a lead-weight dragging humanity to the depths of despair. The surprising transformation of this archeself required a few stages. First, the archeself needed to be heard and acknowledged with total acceptance: “ahhhhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhhh! We want to die! We want to just disappear, crumble into nothing! It’s too much! Ahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! We’re almost poisoned by this despair.” It also needed to be loved by Tim and by me. Once it received some love, it realized it needed a place in which to heal. This was discovered to be a magical, pleasant and simple tropical island. We allowed the archeself some time to experience this healing life: “it’s a very pleasant and simple life, nothing luxurious. What we have here is calm, peace and a chance to relax.” After a while the archeself suddenly said, “we might want to do something. Maybe. But first of all we need to relax.”
The idea that members of this archeself may want to do something was a major turning point. Suddenly, they said: “we are planning to build something. It looks like the tower of Babel. We can imagine the plan hanging in the air above the island. It’s not on the ground yet. It’s just a model. We’re feeling much better! Our heaviness is almost gone.”
After a few moments, the builders began seeing themselves as children – quiet, creative, peaceful. “We are weaving together all the strands of humanity into a magnificent simple structure with flowers of the field and nature and animals all interwoven. It is simple and pretty and has a human scale somehow – not too huge and imposing, we think. It has straw in it and grass and trees and magic…perhaps we are practicing. This structure smells fresh, nice to touch, very tactile. It is very soothing for us to weave this…until now we had nothing to do…. We feel we are simple, open, innocent children. We are sensing our way with our hands, finding how to work on this structure together. We will need help from others later, but everything is possible now. Yes, we are children, quiet, creative children. We’re not noisy or playful. We like doing things in peace and quiet. We’ve been waiting for your meeting with Ora, for you both to work with us….”
By now I felt very differently than when I woke up. I was filled with a pleasant, peaceful, creativity, a quiet optimism and tranquil specks of light. The weaving of this positive model of the Tower of Babel out of all strands of humanity combined with plants and magic required skill and was very satisfying. The feeling was that change was possible. The former bitterness, the complete despair, the painful heaviness, the cold knowledge that there was no hope all disappeared.
The children continued: “our role is to bring this purity, this simplicity and make sure it stays this way when others join the work. We can teach, show others how to weave like this, how we choose the flowers, the plants, magical threads we weave into all this. It must have magic in it…. It’s amazing how we feel right now! So new! It happened so quickly. Thank you and Ora! It’s like a miracle!”
Finally, the children calmly announced how they wished to be called – The Magical Builder Children.
It is interesting to note that the children are building a model of the Tower of Babel. In the biblical story the structure brought forth chaos and separation. The children’s humble model, however, is a unifying structure, joining the colourful strands of humanity.
* If you wish to help us or donate to make it possible for us to do more, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org