Winter 2013 STAR News
In This Issue:
Pat: Marti and Ken, I want to officially welcome you to STAR! Congratulations on your new position as Co-Directors of the STAR Foundation! My first question is: What attracted you to take a leadership role with STAR?
Ken: I see the impact STAR has, both for me personally—how powerful the processes are—and how much change happens for participants. I was impressed by the way STAR adapts to individual needs. As Barbara says, “STAR is not a one size fits all!” Much of my life has been devoted to helping others be all they can be. And STAR is a unique and powerful vehicle for that.
Marti: Absolutely. It is really touching to see how people change in such a short period of time. And for me, I wanted a place where I could bring all of who I am, all my interests and skills, and STAR is perfect. And, Ken and I get to continue working together.
Pat: Working together is not new for you.
Ken: Right. We began developing and leading programs in personal transformation in 1989. We had two 10-week programs called Entelechy designed to help people transform old beliefs and habits into their leading edge to move toward their real potential. We also led couple’s retreats called “Love, Sex and Spirit: The Partnership Process” as well as an on-going intensive very similar to STAR called “The Village.”
Marti: And, as you know, Pat, in 1999 we turned a lot of what we had learned into a small college, Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (SBGI). We realized there was not a place you could get a Master’s or doctoral degree that dealt with healing our earliest developmental issues—prenatal and perinatal psychology—and using body-based, experiential and relational methods—somatic psychology. Ken and I complement each other’s gifts and styles and really enjoy working together.
Pat: This seems like a match made in heaven or a dream come true! (Laughter)
Marti: (Smiling) Well, not exactly. By the mid 90’s with all the work we were doing, I had reached an edge and became easily agitated and demanding.
Pat: YOU? (We all laugh)
Marti: I’m afraid so. Even though I had done a lot of my personal work, I had not fully dealt with my earliest trauma, the sexual and physical abuse of my crazy family. I felt very stuck, unhappy and dissatisfied with our relationship. (She says smiling) I just knew if Ken would change, my life would be better. If he would do this or that, everything would be fine. Then, thank goodness, a close friend, another therapist, sat with me one day when I was in tears and softly said, “Marti, I think you should go to STAR.” I knew he was right. I had been acquainted with STAR through my work with Barbara at APPPAH (The Association of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health) but never thought I needed it!
Pat: So what happened?
Marti: Well, STAR really saved my life and certainly saved my marriage. There I was able to confront my demons. Barbara created an amazingly safe place and I easily tumbled into the work I needed to do. I felt so seen by her and so held by the community there, I was able to emerge with a deeper understanding of my life, with a greater sense of myself. STAR really gave me the foundation I needed to go home and deepen the work. Truth be told, we could never have accomplished all we did with SBGI had it not been for STAR. As you know, we merged SBGI with a larger university. I left a little over a year ago and that freed me—us—to look at where to put our energies next.
Pat: We’re glad you landed here! So, what plans do you have for STAR?
Ken: First, we want to honor Barbara and preserve her legacy. Over almost four decades she persevered with STAR and made it what it is today—the most powerful personal transformation program on the planet!! It’s like doing a year or two of therapy in ten days! I know of nothing else like it. And, we want to continue that. With this as the foundation, we want to grow STAR.
Marti: Yes, we are excited about offering a Facilitator Certification Program this April. One of STAR’s unique aspects is that our participant to staff ration is so high—greater than two to one—which is much higher than other programs. Barbara has been so brilliant in bringing in the latest research and we want to continue that with keeping facilitators updated in areas such as the effects of early attachment experience on adults, applications of the new brain science and healing trauma. We want to follow Barbara’s footsteps (as much as we can … hers are big shoes to fill!!) and keep STAR on the leading edge.
Ken: Of course, there will be small shifts over time, as Barbara has done, but our plan is to keep the process, the integrity of the STAR experience … or as we on the staff like to call it “the Magic of STAR”.
Marti: And, as you say, Ken, to grow STAR. In the future we plan to add a strong STAR grad program that would be available to everyone, no matter when they did STAR. It would be web based with lots of options for contact as well as live teleconferences with group participation. This program would give grads the everyday support to continue the progress they’ve made at STAR.
Pat: Well, I’m excited just hearing your enthusiasm and I know a lot of good will emerge for all of us: the Board, the staff and the STAR community at large. With your background as therapists, program developers, workshop facilitators and leaders, we know STAR is in good hands.
Is there anything you’d like to add before we close?
Ken: I’d just like to add that we know this is a big change for everyone. And, we know change can be difficult at times. We want to encourage folks who have questions or concerns to contact us. We want to keep an open dialogue.
I am also excited to be supporting Barbara to add more play into her life as well as having time to focus on the finishing touches of her book.
Marti: I agree. We want everyone to know that we won’t always get everything right the first time. (Smiling) Otherwise, I guess we wouldn’t be learning. So, we welcome and expect feedback as we move forward.
And, just to express our deep appreciation for all the support we’ve received already from Barbara, all of you on the Board, and from Diana, Candace and the other staff. We know we are all in this together and we all want to move STAR forward.
Pat: Thank you both. We look forward to all the great things to come!
As most of you know, I am retiring from the leadership role at STAR and shifting into a more supportive advisory role. I am happy to be handing over the reins of leadership to our new Co-Directors, Marti Glenn and Ken Bruer. In this new year I am looking forward to working less and playing more. I want to travel and finally finish my book. Right now I have plans to travel to New York, Connecticut, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Seattle. If you’d like to have me speak to a small (or large!) gathering about STAR, just let me know. I look forward to seeing you if you come to the Ranch and/or in your area.
Read Barbara’s recent Letter to the STAR Community on our Archives of Newsletters page on our website: www.starfound.org/newsletter/exciting-news-barbara
We are excited to offer the STAR Facilitator Certification Program which will begin with a five-day retreat at the Ranch April 2–6. The training will also include some teleconference seminars to discuss the applications to STAR of the latest research and practices in attachment theory, the new neurosciences, and trauma. In addition to the 5-day intensive training new facilitators will serve on staff at a mutually agreed-upon STAR retreat to complete the Certificate requirements. If you find that you have integrated your STAR experience and feel called to serve in this way, we invite you to contact Diana for more information and an application.
Mike Roll, 2012 January STAR Grad, is the Fire Chief in Fairplay, Colorado. Last year Mike ran over 500 calls, including 6 long-term, significant wildfires in 5 states, saving lives, homes and controlling damage to many acres of land. Mike said, “Much of the time we were sleeping in tents in the middle of a forest or cornfield and working 12 to 18 hour days in 100+ degree heat. Once last summer my crew and I stopped at a restaurant at the edge of town after a big fire in Nebraska. As we were finishing our lunch, we were suddenly surrounded by a large group of people. They paid our tab and expressed their thanks for our work. I headed home with a feeling of what it’s like to really make a difference. When I think back to before my STAR, I was in a rut, numb, just going through the motions. STAR really opened me up. I think of the collage I made of my Little Kid sitting on the bumper of a big fire engine. ‘I get to do something really cool—so amazing—every day!’ And, as I work with the younger guys, they are learning to take it in, to receive the gratitude, too.”
It is inspiring to see not only how Mike works with his team to save lives but how he turned his own life from numb and mundane into an ongoing experience of joy and gratitude. Thank you, Mike!
When Brian Bailey is not facilitating at STAR, he is working with young men to change their lives. He serves as counselor, mentor and guide at a residential treatment facility that transforms young addicts into mature young men. “I’m reminded of a kid I’ll call Joey,” Brian recounts. “This 20-year old almost didn’t make it. He was addicted to heroin and who-knows-what else, a kid who knew it all and didn’t seem to think he needed help. We brought him into our circle of men where he heard stories, expressed his anger, worked on his inner child and discovered he was more than an addict—he was a man in pain. We read poetry, meditated, did some Native American ritual and played hard together. I have an outrageous inner imp, you know! It took almost a year for Joey to restore trust in his own life and in the world but he did and he left ready to explore things he never thought possible.”
Brian continued by expressing his gratitude. “These young men have an opportunity I didn’t have until I was 40. And now, I get to give back what was given to me. I have to say, STAR is just a part of who I am. I’m so grateful for all those who share the STAR journey with me. Each time I facilitate I go home with much more than I came with.”
The community of STAR is dispersed across this continent and around the world. We share in common an experience of STAR, a commitment to our own growth and to making the world a better place. The STAR Board and leadership are interested in finding more ways for us as a community to connect, to share, to learn from and be inspired by each other and continue our paths of personal development. To this end, we want to keep you informed of all the exciting projects we have on the drawing board and let you know how you might participate with us as we move forward. Finding ways for us to connect, to better serve you, our grads, and to make STAR more widely available, are top priorities. Below are some of our endeavors and suggestions about how you might get involved. If you have ideas or recommendations, please contact Diana. And, we will keep you posted in future Newsletters.
The STAR Newsletter: Each quarter the Newsletter will contain “news you can use” and information about STAR projects, staff and grads. Please let us know of your projects, milestones or accomplishments. For example, have you volunteered in your community, completed a daunting task or started something creative? Let us know so we can inspire others and spread the word.
Marketing STAR: We have a dedicated marketing committee moving forward with plans to grow STAR. If you know of opportunities to help us get the word out, please let us know. For example, could you host a meeting for us to explain STAR to your organization? Are you up for organizing a workshop to introduce STAR to your community? Do you have contacts with conferences, employee assistance programs or spiritual groups where we might present? If you have ideas and/or contacts we’d love to help you organize an appropriate venue to present STAR in your area.
STAR Blog: By this spring we plan to create a blog with regular offerings of specific ways to stay on your STAR path, to deepen your practices, and turn stumbling blocks into stepping-stones. It will also be a forum for you to discuss with each other your experiences of each topic. In future communication we will be asking for your feedback on topics you’d like to see there.
Grad Support Program: Many of you have asked for more support following STAR so we plan to offer a virtual support program for STAR grads to include teleconferences, regular email, on line resources as well as small and large group activities. We will definitely want your feedback as we design this program to help us think through what would be most supportive, the best delivery system, etc.
Winter often brings a time of introspection, of taking stock, asking ourselves, “What do I want to change in my life this year?” And, the marking of the New Year is the perfect time to create an intention about making our lives better, using the tools we have and moving toward more of what we want. As we all know, resolutions are easy, it’s the day-to-day making it happen that’s difficult.
A couple of years ago we had just merged our beloved school with a larger university and I was about as stressed as I had ever been. At New Year’s I vowed to help myself by getting more exercise, eating less sugar and being more present, more loving to others. Sound familiar? The problem was things kept interfering with my good intentions. One day, exhausted and exasperated, I heard myself saying, “I need to speak to the person who does my schedule. She sees a space in my calendar and fills it without consulting me! And then I have no time to do the things I need to do for me!” Dejectedly, I sat down at my desk and, at once, realized—unfortunately or fortunately—the person who does my schedule was me.
So, my Essence and my Nurturing Adult emerged and called a meeting of “Look Who's Talking.” As usual, my Mask, who is always on time for everything, quietly and piously arrived first, followed by my Critic who stormed in with, “The day is almost over and you haven’t exercised at all, and probably won’t, as usual!” Next, my Wounded Child came into the room with a big bag of Reese’s Pieces given to her by my Shadow. My Adult sighed, looked around and exclaimed, “My, we have a problem here.” She scooped up the Wounded Child, put the candy away, looked into her eyes and said, “Sweetheart, this has been really hard for you. You’re not sure these new people like you, and, sometimes they aren’t even nice. Starting now, I’m going to take better care of you.” And, “Shadow, I guess you’ve disappeared behind the bookcase somewhere because I’m not supposed to have a Shadow but I know you’re there! Okay, guys, listen up… I’m going to tell my new boss ‘No’ more so you won’t have to cope with all this stress.” Hummm. I took a breath, opened my calendar, picked up the phone and asked the Dean to take my place in the afternoon meeting I had on my schedule. I grabbed a handful of almonds, took my “inner crew” to the park down the street for a nice walk. The walk helped me get clear about the internal cycle of abuse I was perpetrating on myself. My Mask pushed me to please everyone while my Critic held me back, afraid I wouldn’t measure up. My frightened Wounded Child sabotaged me regularly as did the Shadow. Using this fresh awareness, I took a deep breath and asked myself what was really important. Who did I really need to please and for what? I made a list and took some specific steps that were manageable and ultimately helpful.
First, I decided to focus on doing what was required of me for the next week, to schedule self care in my calendar and to think ahead about my food choices. I began with a 10-minute walk (better than committing to something longer and not doing it!) and I felt so much better I began to add another loop to make the route longer. I discovered that having a protein drink in the early afternoon kept the chocoholic at bay. These changes helped strengthen my Wise Adult to guide my Wounded Child instead of react to her as well as recognize my Shadow early in order to not have her running the show so often. With my Wise Adult in charge more, I turned the TV off before the news and started meditating instead. My Mask didn’t need to be so busy pretending to be so efficient. No, I didn’t do everything every day, but each day got better and better. Over time my life got back to the life I wanted for myself.
How are you doing with your New Year’s intentions? I hope you are able to take stock and enlist your STAR skills to bring you to the life you want as well. In future newsletters I plan to address other common pitfalls that we all deal with and I’d love to hear from you if you have a particular one you’d like to explore.
A New Year, they say opportunity for new beginnings.
Today, a new morning, fresh start
Yet challenge and struggle arise
The voices scream at me.
Deep breath, feet on the floor
Remembering what I know
And you who believe in me
I take the first step.