|Mentor & Elder
Change of HeArt is a safe, nonjudgmental space for exploring relationships with Self, Home, Work, Health and Spirit.
Change of HeArt is a sanctuary with which you may explore your infinite interconnectedness; a place to plan conscious interrupts to your automatic living patterns; a space to expand the potential of all of your relationships thereby leading to more compassion for self, harmony with others and joy in the mysteries.
Change of HeArt embraces eternal inner-connectedness to all our relations by inviting one to go beyond one's ego and to celebrate that which binds us more than getting trapped in that which divides us. Plumb your possibilities for unity as do I.
Story gives Time its HeArt. What's your inner story? Here is some of mine.
Seeking is no longer an option for me. More is always be revealed to those who seek. My physical, emotional and sprititual health and wholeness require an ongoing search of self and a plumbing of all my relationships--self, home, work, mentor, spirit. It is my belief that by pursuing my own deep personal process, I am best able to serve others with their inner work. It keeps me healthier and of more objective service to you--more an enlightened witness holding safe set and setting for your inner exploration.
In my search for self knowledge, I've learned to pay attention to hints from my unconscious. I ask my psyche to surprise me. Why is this important to you? My deep, persistent inquiry assists me to keep my issues out of your process. I prepare myself to serve you with honesty and objectivity. I've learned to listen with my inner ear and to see with my heart, not just respond with my mind. The detachment of an elder mentor is an objective place of caring deeply.
Boundaries are essential for good psyche. Change of HeArt is a place of respect and honor, a listening place that is all too rare. A place of acceptance. I pay attention to you not theories. Finding what works for you is my imperative.
Disclosing my story tends to increase your sense of safety as you may be able to associate your experiences with the essence of mine--personal, professional, spiritual. I hope that you will trust my acceptance of you for what and who you are, not for what you have, know or do.
Love is the beginning of knowledge. Compassion for self is the key that opens a door to the deepest sense of self. Until we come to an 'experience' of love for the 'child' we once were, self-compassion may remain illlusive for a lifetime.
Safe space is a good place to begin or continue your own quest of self acceptance. I live life with irrepressible curiosity and passion, not perfection. Mentoring is an open-ended process not a method.
I mentor individual clients at the Change of Heart Center which I founded in 1989. Also, since 1984, I've coached business owners and management teams via Brightman Associates, a consulting firm principally serving family run and newly emerging businesses.
At one time, PSD, the 'Poor-Smart-Driven', hiring criteria publicized in the 2009 Wall Street melt down, could have been applied to me--almost. I was poor. I was smart. I was achieving, which appeared to others as being 'driven'. However, for me, the 'energy' component was my using achievement to cover shame--coming from a shame bound family system. As 'first-born' and 'first-to-go-to-college', I was to redeem my family of origin, nothing less was acceptable--until it was. Suggest people read the Marilyn Mason book, Facing Shame: Families in Recovery.
So, not being really 'driven' in a singular monetary sense, compounded by my lack of social know how (literally the son of a coal miner's daughter), eventually undermined my ability to succeed in Fortune 50 management circles regardless of my intelligence and creativity. I would get hired, excel in many ways, but need to leave at some point. I managed that corporate dance from 1966 to August 24, 1984. Then, I formed my own consulting firm which evolved into specializing in family-owned business dynamics--Brightman Associates International.
In 1989, I founded the Change of HeArt Center specializing in transpersonal empowerment of individuals. I continue my Mentoring practice with Change of HeArt to this day.
Between 1989 and 1993, I was certified in a range of practitioner roles such as Holotropic Breathwork, (Stanislav Grof); Integrated Breathwork, (Jacquelyn Small); MARI Mandala Assessment, (Joan Kellogg and Carol Bush); and, GIM, Guided Imagery (Helen Bonny). These combined skills of using breath, art and music for personal healing, inspiration and creativity served in excess of 3000 individuals at my residential retreat center.
I am a walker between worlds. It is neither possible nor wise to compartmentalize home and work, self and other. Elder wisdom requires direct experience of trickster foolishness to keep one's shadow humble.Today, I am focusing on writing and publishing my first book, a story about becoming all that one can be, "Don't Believe Everything You Say, More is All Ways Being Revealed."
I strive never to miss a chance to be decent, as I know that everyone, including me, is fighting some battle. What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?, asks George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) 1819-1880.
I am a child of 69 winters. I've learned that life is not an emergency. My body is presenting its bill for age appropriate wear and tear. I am grateful that I am still becoming. Life is a heart-centered, never-ending emergence of intellectual and spiritual potential--a time of remembering all that is, has been, and is becoming. Each of us is exceptional.
I consciously remain open to outcome. However useful most psyche processes can be for a given period of time, I know that real life is about exceptions to rules and theories. Life is a series of approximations. More is always being revealed to us and projected through us. Experiential discovery is the most 'awareness-creating' and 'behavior-changing' of all processes that I have experienced and/or witnessed.
I still struggle with arriving at the new and letting go of the old. Birth and death cycles evoke my sense of wonder well beyond the gifts of joy and grief. I continue to consciously seek a full memory and manifestation of wholeness, connectedness and interrelatedness. I pursue my evolution through post-conventioanl unitive values to transformational values and beyond.
I've lived a very full life, accumulating a lot of "been-there-done-that" experience. I am uniquely seasoned to assist others with life cycles and specific relationships. I am available to probe life transitions with you--be they expected or unexpected, voluntary or involuntary, traditional or exceptional, profane or sacred. My journal, The Eye of the Elder, speaks to every person's infinite becoming, our awesome unfolding, a re-membering of our connectedness.
My family roots are quite dysfunctional. I embrace that who I am begins with the sum of all my interrelationships--especially those which have been painful to experience, hard to remember, and difficult to integrate. I also attest that the essence of who I am is more than my sum of experience. I ever seek to catch my unconscious projections and not let them make my judgments for me. Automatic living is a thing of the past for me. I do not accept the blurrrr of modern life. I pause to learn more and more about Self and Other.
I spent a decade working five twelve-step programs, SIA, ACOA. CODA, OA, and Al-Anon. I've pursued a wide range of 'experiential' work within and beyond depth psychology finding transpersonal contexts, mystical insights and quantum physics the most productive of grasping wholeness.
There is no heroic poem in the world but is at bottom a biography, the life of a man; also it may be said, there is no life of a man, faithfully recorded, but is a heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed.--Thomas Carlyle
In my recovery, I utilized individual, couple and group therapies, both traditional and alternative. I pursued private vision quests. I searched worlds of art, symbols, color, breath, music, literature, poetry, musedom and sacred spaces. I spent a lot of time in Nature with all of our relations. I relish the world's diversity and seek harmony in unity. I live in gratitude for the opportunity of life.
Reclaiming myself, living in my full being, is a lifetime process. I continue to do both group and solitary work to better offer Elder witness. Every person inevitably finds their way; and, it is a blessing and salve to hear the story of another, to know that one can return from dragon fights, wiser for wounds, awakened to possibility, rewarded for vulnerability and sustained in infinite adventure.
I tease depth awareness in the mentoring process with listening and dialog. Rather than indulge, I am pragmatic and do my best to mirror blind spots. I advocate the psychic necessity of integrating ever-expanding awareness into daily behavior. I offer pattern-interrupt activities to assist one to see how much blurrrrrrrr and automatic living they permit into their lives.There are few choices as productive as choosing aware over unaware.
I was overwhelmed with grief at my brother's death. I've survived severe accidents and critical illness. I've experienced extended physical rehabilitation. I've made major career changes and experienced large swings in finances. I've been exposed to public humiliation and degradation. I've been assaulted by prejudice and subjected to rage. I've learned about being preciously present for my mother following her stroke, heart attack and nine-month dying process. I learned about parental absence having been disowned by my father. I know the space of abandonment and abuse. My relationships are a mixture of painful estrangements and precious intimacies. I am just now coming to relish the wisdom that my elder years have squeezed out of the knowledge of which I have come to visit in all of my searching.
I still step into holes and am faced with getting myself out of what I got myself into, whoever helped to dig the holes--me, others, my shadow. Embracing personal accountability and rejecting victimhood is essential to making the choices for one's Self that heal our deepest injuries. I continue to ask the question: What if I create, promote or allow what happens to me?
To grow all of our relationships, it is necessary to catch (recognize), own, learn from, and reserve our projections. Relationships are, figuratively speaking, 100% projection. Until we recognize and correct our projections, unlocking our confinement to automatic pre-judgement, we will replicate our learned dysfunction and foster shallow serial relationships. Our intra-personal, inter-personal, personal-functional and personal societal relationships will be greatly enhanced by projection modification--instant, more objective, reality checks. I strive every moment of my life to catch my projections so that I can own my part in the realities that I co-create with others.
I know how feelings can move one to both distraction and to ecstasy. I'm utterly grateful for mystical openings in radiant form and glimpses of knowing from the collective unconscious. Having been inside a point of light, I can now go voluntarily and much more directly to surrender, foregoing being beaten into submission by life in general, specific people, or myself. Bliss is now a more frequent companion. Yet, I cannot imagine knowing bliss without knowing its opposite.
I know the psychic imperative of right work. My right marriage took multiple divorce. I fathered two daughters and have two grandchildren. Work with my family and friends is unceasing. Some family work will remain undone as not all family members choose to share the risks and rewards of making themselves vulnerable as part of group process for the healing of any single member. They are yet to believe that the healing of one is a healing in degree for all. So... estrangements continue.
Some 'old business', remaining 'family baggage', persists. Yet, the spark in my heart keeps glowing, growing. My integration to date has emboldened me to carve even more 'Thou Shalt' scales from my dragons, regardless of the vulnerability that each drop of blood exposes.
My deeper wounds are those of childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse, and abandonment by my entire family of origin. Abandonment by doctors during critical illness is another significant wounding. With a 108 degree fever my body had begun to consume itself. My early life difficulties in sustaining intimate and work relationships was rooted in these very painful episodes. I can report much progress in relationship, but no perfection. Perfection is a shame bound word and shame prevents communication. I look to improvement and excellence in relationship, but never is there any static perfection state for human potential, only an infinite interconnectedness ever revealing more.
As I age the lessons of letting go of attachement to dear friends is gaining momentum as ever more return to everywhere before I do. My body forces recognition of growing out of human form. The intensity of my love for those closest to me becomes every more central to each breath that I take. My awe and wonder for the infinite is the seat of peace for me.Our link to the greater interconnectedness called human life is a space to be cherished and inhaled for every breath given to us. One of my most powerful affirmations is: "I am trusting my opening heart and courageously loving me and you." The process goes on and on and on...
In my research and experiential discoveries, I believe that the difference bewteen an abused child and a combat veteran is merely the flip side of the same coin. Soldier's expect someone to do their utmost to kill them. Children do not expect a parent to do their utmost to kill them. I believe that the complex post traumatic stress injury, PTSI, of the lethal combat veteran that compromises the remainder of civilian life is an extension of the soul injury that many children suffer domestically. I believe this, as among other things, my father came close to killing me. I was forced to live in the garage behind our home, sleeping on a cot beside the family car, while the rest of my 'family' lived in the main house together.
"It is not the "disorder" in PTSD, but the "injury" in PTSI that necessitates the gathering up of the precious pieces of our Soul", quote of Thomas Merton Brightman from Eye of the Elder, Mystical Meandering, my personal journal.
We'd do well to find healing community for both the combat and the domestically abused psyche. The character and soul damage to each is a tragedy begging the best that humanity can muster toward healing from each and every form of abuse.
According to Carl Jung ,"The most terrifying thing in life is to accept oneself completely." Near physical death and repeated psychic death have shown me that vulnerability precedes strength. True self-acceptance, compassion for self, opened the door for my integration of new awareness into working core beliefs and life actions. I've truly come to believe that the universe is, ultimately, friendly; however unfriendly my world was much of my life.
I've spent my life moving from fear, anger and suffering to compassion, meaning and purpose. My openings to the mysterious and personal experience of infinite interconnectedness motivate me to assist myself and others as Life Strategist Mentor, Elder, Coach, Advocate.
ERANOS 1933 - 1988, Ascona, Switzerland, Casa Eranos
(left center around the circle to the right)
Frau Olga Froebe-Kapteyn (Patron-Founder), Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Carl Jung, Heinrich Zimmer (Yoda), Swami Yatiswarananda, Marie Louise von Franz, D.T. Suzuki , Erich Neumann, Martin Buber, Paul Tillich, and James Hillman.
An original watercolor by
William Sauts Netamuxwe Bock (He-Who-Walks-in-the-Lead),
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful and frightening than the risk it took to blossom. --Anais Nin
Fellow Rollins College graduate, Fred Rogers, Class of 1951, said: "Life is for service. We human beings are meant to be helpers. In fact, the greatest thing we can do in life is to help our neighbors come to know that they are loveable and capable of loving. Anyone who truly knows this will not lose hope--and therefore will not resort to violence." --Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood