My pondering on the distance learning training was partly prompted by the questions I have been asked on occasion. Mostly, people wonder about how they can connect with each other, a topic I dealt with in part one of my reflections.
Sometimes the questions are more about the difference between a long residential format and the shorter, monthly sessions. I have always been taken by the idea of the peripatetic monk or nun, who, rather than shut themselves away in a monastery, instead, live their spirituality out in the world. I mention this, as it is part of the sensibility I try and bring to the Distance learning training.
In this training, we do our work, in the midst of living our everyday lives. Not all our meetings are at such a great distance. We have at least one residential planned for the trainings. But, in general, we are apart, living our lives and weaving our experience of imagery between the comings and goings, the doings and happenings of every day.
Participants have dealt with so many crises: deaths of partners and friends, loss of income, relationship issues, children, work and all that. Moreover, they have had to work with it, as it happened, in the moment, as they were also scheduling journeys with fellow trainees, and attending group sessions as well as dealing with whatever else was happening.
The training has been a great gift in these situations. Imagery work helps integrate and heal whatever is happening and participants experience how deeply supportive their inner guides are, right in the middle of these events. It is wonderful learning to have, as they go forward to work with others.
Sometimes people ask me but which training is better?
That question is not the question that needs to be asked.
Returning to your deep self
Returning to your deep self and trusting again your own core wisdom or guidance, is what this work is about. So, perhaps the question about which training format to attend is where you begin to really pay heed to that inner guidance.
It is not a question about which training is better, in an objective sense but it is a deeply subjective question: which training is the one that I need to attend?
If someone tells you that one format for the training is objectively better than another, be a little cautious. They may have thoughts and may be very convinced by their own thoughts, but that doesn’t mean they are correct. Imagery is not confined to what we think, and Imagery doesn’t judge. Instead, it takes every opportunity offered to draw us deeper into the richness of our inner life, whether we connect through phone, internet or sit side by side with each other.
I have experienced both residential trainings and distance learning trainings. The trainings I did over the first 20 years, were all residential. The last 2 have been distance learning. Both have their strengths and their unique characteristics. Both hold you beautifully and can guide you to where you need to go in yourself. Both allow you integrate and grow more and more in your wholeness.
Of course, both depend on you being a full participant in your own growing. There is no magic formula. You need to seek your own growing and healing with all of your focus and in the trust that you will be guided in that along the one, unique path that is yours. Your inner guides know the destination and the pacing of that journey. All deep imagery trainings will allow you to grow in trust of the inner process that is yours, and no one else’s.
People do, of course, have preferences. They have needs that may be met better in one format rather than another and better with one trainer, rather than another. One way of training may indeed suit you better than another one and that is something for you to engage with as you make a decision.
My advice is that you pay attention in this time of choosing. Obviously, the work appeals to you. So take the time to ask your guides, to journey a little and to come home to yourself as you make the decision.
Sometimes the question is about which is the better trainer? To answer that, you need to know what a trainer goes through to become a trainer. It is not a case of attending a few workshops, reading some books and then, getting certified. Anyone who is recognized as a trainer in this work has spent many years working with Deep Imagery. They know the power of it in their own lives and can draw on that trust and knowing as they work with others. They have, most likely, attended numerous trainings as a participant. (People do that, even without wanting to become a trainer, because of the depths it brings them to and the continuous integration that occurs in their lives).
Trainers also will have taken Workshop Leader Training and worked with groups of people. And, finally, they will have apprenticed with a trainer and attended a number of trainings as an apprentice and co-trainer. In other words, our trainers are dedicated to the work and know the power of it for themselves, in their own lives. They have spent many years gaining experience with the work so that their knowing is deeply integrated into who they are in themselves. That is the key element in getting permission to train others: You have done your own extensive deep work. You understand the processes of the deep imagination but that understanding has been gained through continuous, dedicated attention to your own deep healing.
So there is no trainer I would not trust. There is neither better nor worse here, but there are people with deep and vast experience in the work, who have an ability to share it and to lead someone through the process.
There are of course differences in trainers. The nuance they give to their teaching is their own because it is grounded in their own personal experience. All our lives are different, and so we have learned to meet and trust our inner guides in varying situations, for ourselves. It doesn’t mean we are limited to our own life experience but it does mean that we have a particular experience to draw on.
My own experience includes the death of my baby; of illnesses; the experience of being an immigrant and living in varying cultures; my experience in learning Jicarilla medicine; my love of myth; my working through my childhood. … there are many, many things I draw on.
I know grief, trauma, love, joy, illness, loss as all humans do. I know how the many negatives and positives of my life have impacted me and I know how deep imagery has helped me integrate my experiences. The great wonder, of course, is that I still live and experience, and daily have more and more to integrate.
Life with Deep Imagery is an ever-evolving adventure!