Wellness Living Free Forum 7/9/18

By Michelle Doerr, PPC Wellness member

Participants of Phoenix Process Consultant’s Wellness Program (and their guests) gather roughly five times per year to do further learning and dialogue about wellness topics. Living Free was the theme of our recent forum. Our discussion honored the history of freedom in our country as well as our personal freedom.

Bob Bartlett, counselor and one of the forum leaders, opened with a round robin question; what does 4th of July mean to you? Time with family, outdoor celebrations and stories of past events were the primary themes. The day evokes deep love and gratitude for what we have and maybe even a fear of losing it, given the current state of government chaos. For others not born and raised in these traditions, it’s a day of wondering – who am I and how do I share my appreciation for freedom while honoring a very different past? Freedom, regardless of background, is precious.

This cherished freedom comes not without sacrifice. Bob shared a piece written by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey on July 4, 1974, entitled They Paid the Price and we took turns reading it aloud. Harvey describes how so many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence ended up sacrificing property and family for the freedom we enjoy. A majority had little knowledge of the price these men paid in years of hardship.

As the group shared thoughts on the article, John Reardon, counselor and founder of Phoenix Process, shifted the discussion to movement; are we free from or free for something? The freedom from something is a bit of an adolescent approach but the freedom for something allows actions based on values. How often are we trying to be free from versus free to?

John reminded us that we know our birth experience is full of fear and threat to survival. Our primary freedom is to choose to act and we do so in those first instances of life. We express ourselves by crying. Our desire to move to a better state for ourselves is the action of our spirit to overcome as Alfred Adler describes. And our overcoming is a social act – we are socially embedded.

In our “culture of consumption,” we get many messages, especially in marketing, that we are not good enough. We are led to believe we need more of this, that or the other. Our fear of not being good enough is turned on its head when we remember and engage our spirituality. We are each created with our own value, worth, and dignity and no other human can take that away.

Freedom is when we discover the truth through an active dialogue of questions and responses. Living free means I’ve found a refined truth through our social dialogue.

“When do I feel free to express myself with others?” was the closing question of the evening. Participants used terms like curiosity, willingness to connect, to be open, to trust. All of those are intimately shared in this forum. All were encouraged to seek and act on their truth and live freely.


Would you like to join us (free) at our next Wellness forum on Nov. 19 to explore “Gratitude”? We’re located in Minnetonka, on Eden Prairie Road. Contact us, Phoenix Process Consultants, at  952-922-8822

Canticle of the Leaves

By guest blogger Portia Heller

As I look out the window, I swear I can see the leaves actually burgeoning right in front of my eyes. I always love these too few days of green blush that covers the barren branches. The pale, yet vibrant green is a shade that is much too fleeting. Maturity will soon grab the reins and rush the entire pallet into the deep, verdant emerald of pre-summer. Interesting. As I think about that, every year for my entire life, I have wished I could halt this youthful, leafy exuberance. Guess that is the normal cycle in all humans. We want our little ones to stay in the glory of innocence, because it is so extraordinary, and we know that with the cloak of maturity come the storms and winds, and in the case of the leaves, the bigger the leaf, the more area to catch those winds and be shredded, or torn, or brutally ripped from the branch.

America’s Most Cooperative Act

It was Alfred Adler who told us that our most “primal” goal was to survive and that adapting is our most “normal” action. He also reminded us that cooperation is natural, and competition is a cultural invention to be superior “over the others”. He was quite sure that from birth on we are “strivers to overcome” minus feelings and situations. And, he let us know that striving “against the others” was neurotic and unhealthy. And that “striving with the others” is fundamentally “normal”.

In a country like the USA, that prides itself on competing, striving against the other, and Constitutionally protects (if not “glorifies”) “self interest”; how do we find a beacon that promotes cooperation? It is quite simple. It is something most of us do each day, or we rely on others to do it for us. We drive cars, and ride in buses. We travel streets, roads, highways, and superhighways. 

Coast-to-coast we are all moving simultaneously on thoroughfares. Millions are in motion, on the right side of some path. We are acting on basic human desires. We want to: Get home. Get to work. Go to recreate. Take a trip. Deliver goods and services.

Most of the time we have a basic order that parallels that of a beehive. Coming and going, mindful of others, capturing the “honey of purpose”. We move quite freely, based in a shared “common sense” agreement that longs for safety, and being treated as an equal.

Is it perfect? Not at all. We have accidents. Injuries, even deaths. It is very noteworthy, that these human mistakes and tragedies shake us. Someone, quite like us has been harmed. Once we get past the anger, blame, and outrage, we feel the sadness and disbelief of loss of convenience, limb, and life.

All of this brings us back to a basic human innate possession. We have “free will” and freedom of choice. When we look closely at the accidents. Injuries, and deaths we see freedom exercised in a “self-interested and non-cooperative way.” “I was in a hurry.”  “I was drinking.” “I was texting.” “I do not use seat belts.” “I was distracted and went the wrong way.” “Move out my way–this is my road!”

While this use of freedom and choice grieves us, we know it comes from a heightened feeling of “self-interest”. We also know it is held in place by an excusing of the self. And, also an aggression to overcome personal inferior feelings. These feelings can lead to the excluding of “the importance of the Other”.

Conversely, think of how many of us arrive safely at home, at work, at places of enjoyment and fun day in, day out. In the words of Adler, many receive sound and care-filled training in “Social Interest”, “normal” ways of adapting with others, and a desire to live in a Community of security, belonging, and significance.

Perhaps the next time we are out there we should see our drive as a dance, a play, a demonstration, or a game.Something we are doing together. We are, after all, making this daily journey, and a much larger journey together. Right?
John Reardon}

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What you can expect in and from your PPC experience:

  • We work hard to schedule based on your time availability.
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