The first year centers on self-understanding and the development of a supportive interactive environment. Students identify and work with parts of themselves such as the idealized self image, shadow, inner critic, and inner child. They learn how to transform emotions of fear, anger, and shame.
Nine different personality types are examined, named, and more easily navigated with the help of Enneagram typology. Learning this system offers insights about our core motivations, fears, strengths, and common pitfalls.
Students are taught how to look within for direction and guidance and take note of their dreams as a source for insights.
The power of healing on an energetic level is not overlooked. Students become familiar with their own and others’ energy fields and connect with expanded states of consciousness.
Meditation and visualizations connect participants with their essential self—the divine within—and are interwoven throughout the weekends.
Students establish a loving, supportive, and trusting environment for each other. This serves as a basis for helping them to accurately see themselves and the world around them.
Softening Your Character Defense Structures
Most of the second year is devoted to an understanding and healing of the character defense structures as developed by Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, and others.
Character structures emerge developmentally in infancy and early childhood as a result of the child’s environment. You may have been insufficiently nurtured, unwanted, overly controlled, betrayed or squashed. Everyone experiences these early wounds to some extend. No parenting or childhood environment is perfect. Yet, certain environments may have been more threatening, prolonged, or intense than others, thus creating one or more of these structures.
In the shelter of the group and through exercises and discussion, these childhood wounds are transformed into material for inner healing and personal growth. Students experience what each structure looks like, how it feels to inhabit it, and what it’s like to be around a person exhibiting the structure. As a result, they find it easier to distinguish their true selves from their defense structures. This enables them to have more authentic interactions with themselves and others, thus leading to a more fulfilling life.
Alice’s book, Hidden Treasure: How to Break Free of Five Patterns that Hide Your True Self, is the text for this year.
Students strengthen their true, core selves through meditation, visualizations, and grounding exercises.
The second year culminates in a one-day, sunrise to sunset, vision quest which is processed and integrated the following day.
You may also purchase a signed copy of Hidden Treasure directly from Alice McDowell by clicking the button below. (Note: The price of $17.00 for the direct purchase includes sales tax and shipping, and is available to U.S. customers only.)
Your True Self in the World
During the third year, students build on the teachings of the first two years and bring more of their true selves into the world. Specific exercises are designed for each individual depending on what life issues that still need healing.
Through a variety of exercises, they begin to discern their life purpose. This, along with input and support from classmates, helps each student to develop a project outside the weekend sessions, which will move them into greater alignment with their true self. This might take the form of finding a career that better suits them, fulfilling a life-long desire, delving more deeply into self-understanding, or further developing their spiritual lives.
Students assist at two or more of the first and second-year classes as a way to deepen their own process and to learn the value of service.