IASD PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
As I stand here before you I feel like I should pinch myself to see if I’m
How did I get here, how did this happen that I am now your new IASD President? How did we arrive in this dream together?
In this shared waking dream images flash before me, memories of others standing in a similar place though in different geographic places around the world. Remember and image with me:
I still vividly see Patricia Garfield doing her hula in Hawaii on stage and leading us in the dream dance of that time and place.
I see Richard Russo speaking through deep dream images in his photo presentation in Copenhagen.
I see Olaf Gerlach-Hansen spinning out for us a vision of our international community and how we can build it.
And Jean Campbell calling us to join her in a participatory Presidency, and yes we did, as we all joined hands and later joined energies in IASD work.
And Robert Waggoner presenting himself as just a guy from Iowa telling his story of himself and his brother and of his lucid dreaming, all part of his journey to Presidency.
And David Kahn connecting us to his life path from agriculture and communal living on a kibbutz, to science, to dreams and of course to dance, all lines of narrative that revealed his biography and invited our own narratives to come forth and be present and known as well.
Each of these Presidents, to name just a few, spoke or danced or imaged and introduced themselves in very unique ways. These personal, unique ways in which incoming Presidents have used this opportunity to address IASD members reveals something very important about these individuals but also about our dream organization. IASD is not only an organization, but a dream community, whose richness and complexity is created by the interplay of distinct and developed individuals. This shows in the diverse and creative ways that our past Presidents have seized the moment both playfully and seriously to reveal themselves in their own style and to simultaneously draw the community together through sharing a vision, which is embodied in their presentations.
So, now it is my moment to tell you about myself and my vision and how I do it will hopefully embody what I want to communicate to you: an invitation to join me in my vision with your own visions at this new turn of the wheel of our association.
I want to share my vision with you through three themes:
• The Way through the Medicine Garden: the Dream
• IASD, Archetypal University
Why do I begin with community? Because community is one of the themes that best describes my personal and professional life path through varied incarnations as therapist, life & leadership coach, gardener & farmer, community-organizer, leader of international humanitarian work, political activist, writer & artist, environmentalist and yes, member of a dream community where I proudly claim “I’m a dreamer and a psychic and not the only one!” On my FB page I say: “politics is my passion, but dreams are my lifelong love.” My husband says simply: “you’ve found your tribe.”
So, coming to IASD I have focused my instinct and skills for community building as Membership Chair, through development of the Regional Representative’s network, as Acting Chair of the Regional Events committee and by collaboration in visioning the Global Advisory Council. Joining the Executive Committee this past year as an officer has given me the opportunity to work with the other leaders of IASD in sustaining and growing IASD in accord with our mission. It’s always good to recall that our mission
“…is to promote scientific research and personal exploration of the study of dreams and to provide an educational forum for the interdisciplinary exchange and discussion of such information among the scientific and professional communities and the general public.”
In IASD we seek to bring people from all walks of life and professional works together in a respectful and nourishing community of inquiry for learning and creative expressions in arts and sciences, for personal self-realization and for deepened fulfillment of our personal relationships. In brief, we create a very broad multidimensional community open to all while achieving deep and significant focus in areas of study and creative works.
I believe that this work is deeply important. In its fullest sense it is the work of peacemaking and realization of the best humanistic values that arise from our depths, which are shared in this vessel of community. And yes, the interaction in community at the heights of intellectual discovery in our research and writing as well as our artistic expressions and in the depths in works of healing, meditation, and psychic explorations create an alchemy in which we are often challenged by each other. I started out talking about unique personalities and styles, and I return to this idea because styles express differences and as we know oppositions: if the vessel holds, or to use another metaphor, if the wheel holds all the unique spokes, transformation happens and the wheel of change turns.
I see community as the most beautiful and most challenging expression of our humanity, whose transformative development can turn the wheel of change for our world if it is successfully grounded in respecting and harnessing the creative power of individuals while holding these energies in community for common purposes. It is not by accident that almost all visionary activities that human beings undertake are described as following a dream in one way or another.
We are especially fortunate to belong to an international association that has both literally and metaphorically been following our dreams for over 25 years, both as individuals and as a community. We understand the metaphoric use of “ I have a dream…” as a vision and a call to action. And we also have the additional depth and breadth of intellectual curiosity to explore the actual dream material from which and upon which these metaphors are based, both in our own lives and in more universal contexts as we research and study this subject cross culturally and historically.
The Way through the Medicine Garden: the Dream
As those of you who are or have been Board members in the past few years know, we have a custom at the beginning of our Board meetings of taking some time to share our dreams. This custom makes the meetings “live” right from the start and manifests an integration of the business aspect of our organization with the experiential and meaning oriented aspect of ourselves as a community of dreamers.
We hold 4 Board meetings each year, two of them here at the annual conference and two by phone conference in the Spring and Fall. The evening before the Spring Board meeting this year I thought about IASD and the upcoming conference, and I also thought with both excitement and trepidation about my moving forward to this new position in IASD. I gently “seeded” my dream field that night requesting a dream about IASD and direction for myself and for our community. And the following dream is what came.
The Dream: IASD Conference at the University of Padua, Italy
It is the beginning of an IASD Conference. It is early morning and I go to the cafeteria at the University where the conference is being held to get breakfast. The door to the cafeteria has just closed, too late! But I go to another door, the exit door, and slip in this way as the lines are clearing. I get something simple like a muffin or banana, maybe some coffee and leave to go to the start of the conference.
I walk outside and join a group headed toward the building where the first session will be. Curt Hoffman is leading the way. It is a beautiful university campus. But when we get to the building, Curt goes up to the door and it is closed, we can’t get in this way. I see another way to get in, to the right and say: “look , here’s another way” and I lead the group towards a wide entry way passing through greenery.
There is an arched gateway of wrought iron, black metal, beautiful design of leaves & flowers framing the entry, which opens into an ancient “simple” or medicine garden. Over this gateway it says: University of Padua 1500 (something, not quite sure of the last 2 digits, but it’s clearly 1500’s). I’m amazed! We enter the garden passing under and through this gateway, an arch.
The garden is very, very old. The roots of many of the plants have heaved up the soil they are so great and old, and there is a profound feeling entering this place. The spirits of the plants surround us, the ancient medicine plants.
I am aware of the presence of water in the garden though I don’t see exactly where it is. There is some detail about mosquitoes or other insects that are related to the water, but they are not a problem to us as we pass through. As we come to the far side of this enclosed medicine garden we approach the university buildings, which are clustered together, quite old.
There is some pattern laid out in brilliant colors on the ground and I notice my friend, Susan (who is a nature conservation photographer) there and I think that she is photographing this pattern.
There is a sense of arrival at our destination.
When I awoke I was in awe of this dream, University of Padua for the IASD Conference! But, I thought, the University of Padua was established in 1222, not the 1500’s, I’m sure of that. I immediately googled this - University of Padua- and discovered that indeed it was established in 1222, the oldest university in Europe save one, but the “simple” or medicine garden was established in 1545!! So the date on the gate was the date of the garden, not the University itself. Moreover, this garden is THE oldest continuously cultivated medicine garden in the world! And as I read further and saw pictures of the garden I discovered to my further amazement that the entry to the garden is indeed a wrought iron black arched gateway embellished with flowers and leaves. I also learn that there is a central three-tiered fountain at the very center of this garden, the apex of four pathways that arrive at this focal center. And beyond the garden one can see the ancient University of Padua architecture.
The University itself, established so early, was remarkable for many reasons, especially its openness: all persons were eligible to enter and learn there. I was pleased to learn that the first woman to graduate from a University achieved that at the University of Padua.
There was also a remarkable openness to both science and the arts being taught in the same place. Here great strands of learning in both realms wove together into a truly humanizing international university, a free and universal place of learning.
I thought: this is what IASD is and can be if we remember these ancient roots, the archetypal and historical antecedents and strands of culture and learning embodied in our dreams, both individual and collective as we re-create a worldwide place of learning, IASD.
At a personal level this dream was enormously helpful to me reassuring me about the importance and rightness of my path as a leader in IASD. The dream path I saw showed the way back to a central place of learning as related to ancient traditions of wisdom and healing arts. Dreams and their study fit right in.
It was as if my inner GPS kicked in clearly and I knew both where I was going (the personal level of this dream) and how to lead (the collective level).
So what I envision is this: IASD, Archetypal University
I see IASD as an archetypal university in the deepest sense of that phrase, an open architecture, which is truly open to all, to the whole world, as we claim and realize our international mission. This architecture is welcoming to all, a free humanistic university, which embraces science and arts equally in recognition of their mutual contributions to learning, creativity and full expression and evolution of the greatest aspirations of humanity.
I see a community of healing whose roots are deeply connected to the earth itself in the space of the medicine garden, both ancient and new, a place which is literally and metaphorically the place of root culture, agriculture. Truly our earth itself is in need of healing as species are threatened with extinction and our attunement with the earth dreaming itself through us for mutual care is compromised and even destroyed. Our community can find & create the inner and outer gardens of healing that are spaces of refuge and reflection, sacred places that carry the DNA of what we need to preserve both in the material world and in our inner worlds. Dream preserves.
The dream I shared, and our collective dreams, and those of all the creatures dreaming on this planet, show the way: we need to go through the arch, the archetype, of ancient learning, of cult and cultivation represented by the medicine garden, to the open architecture of a universal, global university. Through our Global Advisory Council, our Regional Representatives network, our Psyberdreaming Conference, our annual Conferences and our increasing Regional Events in many parts of the world, through our internet learning opportunities & newsletters, our periodicals, books and art exhibitions & performances we already are a rare and powerful agent of learning, healing and celebration in a world much in need of vision and hope.
Such a university as we are values openness to all, cutting edge scientific research and cultivation of art and spiritual practices for the fullest realization of humanity’s dreams.
It is my sincere hope that I can continue to follow my own inner guidance system by listening to my own dreams and also to yours. I invite you to share your dreams and visions for this organization, this community, this global archetypal University that we are. All of us contribute to it by our participation and our investment of our resources especially our beliefs in the importance of pursuing the meaning of dreams, and with discernment, acting on their messages.
I plan to put my skills & energy to use on behalf of our dreams for this organization and for the broader world. I invite you to do the same.
If we are successful at this and I trust we will be, I will be able to fulfill the role of servant leader as your President working with our excellent team of Officers and Board of Directors, Committee Chairs & teams, and our trustworthy staff. And you will be the co-creators of a timeless institution, an archetypal university of dreams, the International Association for the Study of Dreams. IASD.
Let’s hold in our minds what we truly are, an association that has grown into a true community:
• one initiated by our founders, some of whom we have remembered today who have passed on in the Greater Dream,
• a community tended & guided by our elders still with us
• a community renewed and enlivened by our new members and young dreamers who dream new dreams relevant to this moment of history
• and, a community sustained by all of you including those not physically present but with us here in mind and spirit .
Thank you for your trust in me and in the wisdom of the Dreaming.
||The International Association for the Study of Dreams is a non-profit, international, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the pure and applied investigation of dreams and dreaming. Our purposes are to promote an awareness and appreciation of dreams in both professional and public arenas; to encourage research into the nature, function, and significance of dreaming; to advance the application of the study of dreams; and to provide a forum for the eclectic and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and information.|
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