by Jon Eisman

The coyotes urgent yap

paints the sky a labial pink.

It pushes down and back

the sun behind the fir-lined rim

of Wagner’s Gap.

It seems to come from all around.

From every hollow in the darkening woods,

whatever wound or wedding

the plaintive sound describes,

a shadow of the howl lopes out

and vanishes

before my human ears

find eyes.

Then, with silken moans, the wind spills

lavender night through the shuddering limbs

of the oaks and manzanitas and madrones.

And stops. All still. The coyotes suddenly hushed

in their grief or joy or chase or meat.

Indigo wraps the world to sleep.

I turn back to my daughter’s play,

hunting one more puzzle piece,

her frightened hand in mine still safely clasped.

While deep inside I sense

some secret magic has crept by,

I know but cannot name

some larger love

has mated here,

and passed.


How Do We Stand (and Evolve)

in Relation to These Many Realms?

by Donna Roy

I just came home from two weeks in Korea–a place I lived and worked in 35 years ago as a Peace Corps Volunteer and whose government is the only Peace Corps country to ever pay for a return trip for any volunteer who served in their country.  Korea has dramatically evolved over the last three-four decades. Koreans have experienced the kind of societal and economic change that was unimaginable in 1977, even in a country with a communal memory that goes back thousands of years. Over their history they have seen change imposed from the outside and initiated from within. Many of the results of their most recent evolution suggest this change process has been more of the latter.

So they somehow not only imagined significant and powerful change, they created it. Though change and evolution is really the natural order of things, some contexts maximize the potential for meaningful and sustainable change. Korea and its people is one of those “contexts.”

What are a few concrete reasons for this?  Koreans decided in the 60’s and 70’s that English was a language of the world and they needed it. In service to this they sought and welcomed English-speaking young Americans who had very limited teaching skills and Korean experience into their schools and communities and gave them jobs no similarly unprepared Korean would have qualified for. They did this from a state of awareness of this particular need, the importance on the global stage of the English language, a sense of urgency and motivation for change, a willingness to confront the challenges of bringing English into isolated parts of their country, the support of the US Peace Corps, and a deep hope and Confucian belief in the power of education to stabilize and transform.

Koreas have what they call “education fever”: a belief that a high level of education is a requirement for their children—and that, though each student ought to be taught through public schools, a parent’s job is to make sure their children work hard and strive to be the best. This means Korean students may attend private “hagwans” (institutes) daily after regular school until as late at midnight.  Though this has complex impacts on students and families, it indicates a value that has contributed to the so-called Korean “economic miracle.”

This is tied to another belief that hard work and personal sacrifice is part of laying the groundwork for the next generation. While the children are studying, the parents are working—long hours and sometimes 6-7 days a week.

Another ingredient in the Korean change recipe has been a willingness to let go of the past to make way for the future, though their particular genius is doing that while retaining the essence of the old within the new—like their gorgeous fusion cuisine or their Buddhist “temple stays” for foreigners or their interest in integrating Korean Oriental Medicine with Hakomi Psychotherapy.

So, Korea has evolved and continues to evolve in its own way.

I am clearly struck by the Korean evolution. It shows me that we by nature evolve, while something at the core remains stable. That changing includes retaining fundamental organic qualities—in the Korean’s case, their generosity of spirit was there when they were poor and is as strong now that they are financially wealthy. I see that though change happens no matter what, some contexts support it more fully.  I recognize the influence of individual and cultural values and qualities in change. I see that within the change bubble, experience feels different than outside of it. (Returning after 35 years offered me an experience of being in a heightened state of mindfulness and awareness of the details and immensity of change. My Korean friends who had lived through the changes were re-awakened to the transformation by seeing temporarily through my eyes.) It is clear that letting go is part of the process to make room for the new, though the new is best accepted when the essence of the old is somehow still honored (as in fusion food)—that evolution happens best when honoring the collective and personal history.

Korea’s evolution brings me to M.E.T.A.’s evolution.  M.E.T.A. has followed its own growth process as well. At each shift or transition someone in the organization had a desire or impulse to take our work in a certain direction or saw a particular gap or problem they were interested in. Then they did some kind of exploration of the possibility, assessment of its alignment with M.E.T.A.’s mission, and formation of a plan. The plan was based on the present, with consideration for the past and building toward the future. Then came some sort of implementation of the plan and revision based on how well it worked.

In its far, far shorter lifespan, M.E.T.A. has exhibited some of the dynamics found in Korea’s process. In our search for meaning and impact, we have sought o understand our own evolution in order to learn and grow–to work with what we want and need and are interested in—in order to survive and thrive. We have stayed true to the core Principles of Hakomi while integrating R-CS Principles and concepts, as well as attachment and trauma findings into the curriculum. We have over and over again identified our Organic Wishes and taken steps to make them happen. We have considered our community. We have been willing to let go of that which does not serve us or our clients, students or staff. We have been committed to pruning for the purpose of sustainable health.

I hope and fully expect M.E.T.A. will continue to evolve. One way might involve us focusing on the development of trainings in other regions of the Northwest and beyond. M.E.T.A. clinicians may develop new trainings that arise out of their creativity and share them here in Portland. I imagine our dreams will evolve and our systems along with them.

What I wish for all of us in these endeavors is…

    • • to feel nourished by change rather than stuck with or controlled by it
    • • to keep making the choice to embrace change and see the connection between the new and the old
    • • to honor the past while letting go of what needs to be let go of
    • • to integrate the “future” into the present
    • • to see how growth requires nourishing and pruning
    • • to be AWARE of the particular evolution and our particular contribution  to it
    • • and to enjoy  the process.

Some of M.E.T.A.’s Milestones:

  • • Jon developed the Re-Creation of the Self (R-CS) as a new modality in the days when Hakomi was the main form taught (a model of the Self was missing in Hakomi)
  • • Jon and Donna created M.E.T.A., LLC to be an umbrella organization for the integration of multiple modalities into the original teachings (Hakomi, R-CS, attachment, trauma and INPB findings)
  • • M.E.T.A. established an administrative team to respond to the organizational growth and allow for more team management
  • • The Interpersonal Skills Training arose from requests for personal growth trainings and the sense that a prerequisite for the M.E.T.A. Comprehensive Training was needed for people transitioning into the counseling field
  • • The M.E.T.A. Bodyworker training came from a growing awareness that bodyworkers’ needs were not fully met in our trainings— a group of M.E.T.A. bodyworker grads and Nova Knutson worked collaboratively with Jon and Donna to create and teach the new training
  • • Alumni services came from listening to graduates about their needs and committing staff time to creating continuing education options
  • • Jon and Donna mentored two long time META Teaching Assistants who became new certified teachers, creating more options for advanced Hakomi and M.E.T.A. professionals locally
  • • Donna implemented her longtime dream to have an affordable training clinic that meets a community counseling need and a graduate student training need