Echoes From The Past

 

Life’s Promise

Somehow we have a dream that a stable and glorious future will open before us. It is unlikely. Our lives are not ours alone because we share it with family and intimates, but also must share it with the world at large which is not under our control. But the past has a way of reaching out to us which is not necessarily a bad thing. It may tell us about how the world is and such things as the variability of opportunity. 

From My Past

In 1967 (yikes that’s a long time ago) I took a job in the inner city of Baltimore. I was one of the first people hired in one of the first community mental health programs in the country. I was just leaving Duke with my doctorate in hand and I was definitely ready to depart academia. The whole idea of community mental health was to bring mental health services to the public using a public health model. It was a marvelous idea.

Wait a Minute!

But there was not just one problem. Communities are different, and because of that the whole idea of applying the medical model to our inner lives was flawed and established practice is not so easily changed.

I was given an office and told to give service. But there was no one there except for a woman social worker. She led me out into the city and steadily the staff grew. Young professionals learned about the community and what it needed. It was tumultuous and fascinating.

Wait Another Minute!

But in some ways the least of our problem was adapting services to a poverty environment in chaos. An even larger problem proved to be the conservatism of the mental health establishment. All they wanted was the grant money and the glory of having landed funding for a “glamorous” enterprise. They had been providing services by psychiatric residents and medical students on six week rotations. We dug in our heels. The people of that community needed reliable ongoing services, not a series of inexperienced people passing out medication. Granted, our group of twenty somethings were inexperienced, but we were dedicated as a group to learning fast and meeting real needs. 

What We Concluded

What we found was a need for life management  in a form of partnership. Many “mental health” problems were an outgrowth of the dynamics of the poverty environment more than anything else. Of course, it was much more complicated than that but that is a rough outline. But we had found that a highly beneficial set of services and programs could have been focused.

In the End

At last though, those in power are in power after all. In time the bright eyed, groundbreaking young people moved on and the higher powers invoked a retrenchment. The community based clinics were closed, staff was withdrawn to a central building and business as usual restored.

Across the country the reform movement of that era was coming to an end.  And with its end came the end of community mental health. I tell the whole story in my book Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health.

Now the Lesson

Yes, community mental health came too soon and its time is still not yet at least until we get through our present upheaval when a younger generation with vision may take power.

But, looking back we can see something. On the street we learned a huge amount about such communities, but all the data was kept in our heads and used to formulate a highly focused, problem solving service system. If a system with managers of more vision were to be devised now, the information technology at our fingertips could help us sift, store, integrate and develop data for a viable system. And it could be adapted to fit the community at hand—whatever its form. Then we would truly have a community mental health system, but probably with a more refined name. And if we had had information technology we could have documented and built.

Coming back to one of my original points, I can see that something from the past can be brought forward to a much more adapted use at a future time when new tools and vision are available.

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Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

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As We Enter A New Year

 

What Lies Before Us?

It is traditional at the beginning of each new year for us to explore its meaning and what it may hold. This year is no different but it appears to hold extraordinary possibilities. What may emerge is far from clear and we see both chaos and transformational themes on the horizon. But transformation is not always inspiring and uplifting. The possible transformation on a threatening world stage is something to be feared even while we see the wonderful transformation which may occur as women are released from subjugation and come to power.

Searching Future Possibilities

On my blog this year I will continue searching the landscape of our future. I should emphasize that I consider my blog posts to be what I call “thought documents”. I am an intuitive personality type which means my focus is on possibilities. And that is what I will seek in the posts. I will not attempt to be comprehensive for any given topic but will identify something worth considering.

Transformation

I truly believe we are facing transformation which can be devastating or uplifting in an extraordinary fashion. Perhaps it will involve a clashing of both types with our response yet to define where it will lead us.

When the idea of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy began to form I did not see where it would lead. Among the components were my being intrigued by the myth of the mermaid and at the same time I’ve been intrigued by the movement to bring women to power over the last few decades.

I thought I was writing a story but found an exploration. 

Partnership Rather Than Power

Perhaps the word power is not a good choice regarding women because if we were to replace the dominance of men by the dominance of women, perhaps we have missed a chance. Over the millenia humankind has grasped language, culture, extraordinary changes including such things as the Enlightenment. But now the better word related to our best opportunity refers to true partnership between men and women. Such a partnership can offer fulfilling potentials for all of us and provide a bastion of commitment to bring more dangerous forces under control.

This will truly be a fascinating time and for me it holds shining hope needed to support the development of our full potential. And in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy we see what powerful women may bring us.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

A Vision of women

Searching for Meaning

 

 

Do you have a clear vision of and for women?

There are events and then there are the meaning of the events. The difference is something we would do well to understand. Women are assuming different positions, importance and balance. In some ways the United States may be catching up to the curve. We did not get a woman president this time. But other nations such as India, Israel, Great Britain and Germany among many others have been led by women. 

Now we are offered an unparalleled opportunity for exploration of attitudes and potential. It is not just a matter of women coming to the fore in greater numbers. What does is mean about the potential and the future of humankind?

Exploration is Needed

One of the things we must do is to examine our beliefs, our cultures and our feelings. It is easy to say “the times they are changing” and leave it at that. It is not so simple and it would be unfortunate to be dismissive because the import is highly significant.

The battle to get women the vote took almost one hundred years although in a sense it has been thousands of years. Eventually we let them drive, permitted them to have credit cards of their own among other things and these things were quite recent. Why we changed is not clear.

Matters of Power

We are seeing some of the basis of the problem in the matter of power. At least in the United States it seems that women who seek power are not to be trusted. How interesting. Men are to be trusted but women not. It comes to us unexamined but was confirmed by a study at Yale University. I have yet to hear justification for why anyone would believe this. 

I hold a different position. I do not routinely trust men with power. In so many instances they have proven themselves incapable of effectively wielding it again and again. Are we to accept it just because they have always been doing it? Effective management is much more impressive and I have seen women to be ever so effective. They are showing up in greater numbers in politics and so many are impressive. The men who are in office in larger numbers are often less so. The absence of mission and perspective is too often stunning.

Who Are We?

Is it possible that we perceive women as weaker and less able to control themselves. In general women cry more easily than men and may cry tears of anger. The reality I learned in studies and in couples therapy is that men feel just as strongly but contain the feelings inside and so do not cry. Does that make them more capable of leadership. I think not.

Like it or not, we can already see the effects of the empowerment of women and it is broadly beneficial. The largest issue before us is that we have not sufficiently examined our attitudes and cultural perspectives. Why be suspicious of woman wanting to take the reins of power? I hear silence and dim prejudice. What is it that men are afraid of? And, for that matter, what is it that women are afraid of as women take the reins of power? We need to examine these matters. 

Understanding Would be Useful

We seem to be heading toward true partnership and need to clarify what it means and why we are so afraid of it. The benefits will surely be world changing and I am raising the issue that we should be examining this process in more detail and what is holding us back. I contend there are other issues than power and it would serve us well to search for what they are.

What alternatives do you see?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health

The Search for Matriarchy

 

What does matriarchy mean to you?

We Seem To Be Having a Debate

Was there a time in human history when matriarchal (matriarchy meaning female rulership) societies dominated and then were replaced with serial patriarchy which is where we are now? There seems to be real passion involved and terms such as matriarchalism, matrifocal and matrilineal swirl through the debate.

Notable in the debate is the book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future by Cynthia Eller. Eller is described as setting out “to refute what she describes as feminist matriarchalism as an ‘ennobling lie’”. From what I could see this does not seem to be a dispassionate academic debate. Naturally it is a little hard to rush back into history and see exactly what happened. And reports may be biased. Surprise, surprise. 

And then there is the question of how to characterize periods of rule by women. In fact, Britain has a rather long history. Was the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 a matriarchy? How about Queen Victoria and the current queen? Somehow I think matriarchy is a little over the top as a description. Men did not exactly fade away.

Goddesses Are Prominent 

Throughout history women have held various kinds of power. Goddesses are prominent in human history and we invoke some truly strong imagery. We describe our planet as being ruled by an earth mother and mother nature is always with us. In fact, I chose Gaia as our Earth Goddess for my trilogy because it invoked the images I sought. Clearly many of the images relate to the fact that each of us has a mother. These are archetypes (recurrent symbols and motifs) with substantive meaning. I do not view them as part of the debate. Something else is going on.

Part of what is going on seems to be an underlying debate about whether patriarchal dominance is inevitable or whether it is a matter of dominance at this time. But, now I’m going to shift gears. The inevitability of male dominance is unlikely and at issue and we are seeing a new movement empowering women. 

Then There Are the Feminist Movements

There are other terms of interest. The women’s movement of the 1970s is described as the second wave of feminism. At the time it caught my attention and I found it well worth supporting. And more recently came the third-wave feminist movement beginning in the 1990s. It apparently arose from the backlash against second-wave feminism initiatives. And now we have something called the current feminist sex wars. That seems apt in describing the controversy flowing around Eller’s book. 

Debate Versus Goals

Now I’ll ask the question which is the real point of this post. Why are we having this debate at all? Do we have to decide if there is some great given right for men to rule now and forever or if women are brought in to rule and is it to become eternal. What a monumental waste of time.

At some point we risk wish replacing thought. That description may characterize the debate since there are surely different agendas behind the scene. And so, let me return to Sally Armstrong’s book Uprising: A New Age Is Dawning for Every mother’s Daughter. She describes the movement worldwide and the benefits derived.

Benefits and Justice

It would seem more productive if we focused on the benefits and what constitutes justice of all kinds. As noted, we hear little about the real reason for income inequality, for example. A lot of cards are not on the table when it comes to equality for women and that would be a better focus for analysis and understanding as well as outing the perpetrators.

Equality and Partnership 

It might be interesting to view the effects of matriarchy, matrifocal societies and matrilineal processes but it may be they are not going to give guidance in the current circumstances. It would seem more productive to accept the benefits of empowerment of women and to look at the barriers to equality and partnership in our present day. Then we can set an agenda and do away with squabbles about history. We have work to do in the here and now.

What are your biggest concerns about health care?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

A Focus on Society and Its Change – Partnership

Imagine What May Be at Our Doorstep

 

And now we turn to our future and what may be the potential. Women have raised the torch of their empowerment high and it is now for men to respond and join them. Men have their own empowerment at issue. What seems like power can be in many senses a reflection of the fact that too often men have been feeling powerless. That takes some thought. And when we come together in an honest dialogue in the light of this new era we can help men overcome some of their own burdens. This bears repeating because men are burdened as well.

Our Contributions to Society
This is not just about justice for women. We have a chance to enhance our societies. From time to time societies need to do an in depth reevaluation and this is one of those times. We may begin by examining ourselves and then move on to society as well. What opportunity does this bring to us? We must go much farther than simply saying this abuse must stop. It is a time for self examination, examination of the traits of society and a search of what has now come on the horizon. This is not a time to simply say men must stop the harassment and abuse. This is a time to look at what opportunities this presents to us. We have been wasting so much of the potential of our people. And it is not just a matter of opening their potential to full flower. At present what women are presenting to us is foremost and they walk hand in hand with people raising issues of race and ethnicity. These issues are not that far apart.

What is truly disturbing is that we have highlighted the need for a substantial reevaluation of all these issues. Change is needed but there are people who stand in the way “in the schoolhouse door”.

Expanded Horizons

When we expand the horizons of examination there is a multiplying effect as we explore the possibilities. These changes will have broad consequences. And now we can seize the opportunity to shape those consequences. It is not just a matter of cataloguing a list of issues. We need to scan for potential. It is when we go into crisis that there are monumental opportunities.

One of the Key Issues Is Devotion to Partnership

And now with the opportunities unfolding before us we have one truly precious opportunity.
The very concept of partnership must be studied. With these changes we have the opportunity for substantive change in partnership between men and women but also a new form of partnership between and among men. We have recently opened to view loving partnership in paired men and paired women. We have opened self transformation and recognition as in transgender people. But now we advance a whole new frontier. The front of liberation has expanded and we can only begin to wonder about the benefits for society and the world at large. We have been so restrictive and now we can explore our multitude of partnerships. There truly may be a dynamic future for us as we unburden ourselves from constricting baggage.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt