Ways of Working
Biography practitioners offer workshops and classes on a variety of life themes, infusing the learning process with social art. Sessions might include short talks, biography exercises, work with story, nature observation, artistic activity, inner practice, and small group conversations. One of the gifts of this way of working is a heightened appreciation for each unique life as it resonates within the context of universal patterns. Exploring biographical questions with others invites new self-understanding, and it also awakens interest in the experiences of others. In our ever more virtual world, it fosters real meetings and genuine appreciation for the diversity of human striving and creativity.
A sampling of recent workshops or classes offered by biography practitioners:
- Bringing Consciousness to Life
- Parenting as a Path of Development
- Living a Life of Intention
- Biography and Destiny
- Family Matters
- Karmic Resonances
- Conversations with Your Higher Self
- Life Stories: Unraveling Our Life’s Journey in the Company of Other Curious Travelers
- Life as an Ongoing Work of Art
Very often in collegial, faculty, or community groups, there is a wish to know each other more deeply, but there is neither time nor energy to hear long recitations of everyone’s life story. In an efficient yet warm way, biography practitioners can offer helpful perspectives, questions and exercises that bring renewed life into group interactions, and deepen interest and respect among colleagues. Activities can be built around specific questions belonging to the group, for example one faculty wanted to look into their own childhood phases as part of deepening their curriculum discussions. Many general biographical themes — such as temperaments, gender, life phases, or soul types — can provide a background for strengthening working relationships.
Sometimes we want to look at our lives from a fresh perspective, and we realize that we would like to do this in conversation with someone else. We are not in a crisis but we notice a theme that keeps surfacing, and we would like to trace its path through our evolving life story. Perhaps the idea of seven-year phases intrigues us, and we would like to work with someone on how they have played out in our own life journey. Or we may be at a transition moment, and we want to gather some of the threads weaving through our life before stepping toward the future.
At the heart of biography work is the understanding that each life story is a unique revelation of intention and deep wisdom. For the biography practitioner, each “journey” is sacred and there is an understanding that the “traveler” is continually informed by both individual and universal truths. Biography practitioners bring an intention, a broad perspective, artistic exercises, and true listening to life explorations. Often there will be an agreement to meet for three to six or seven sessions.
The need or desire to work with one’s biography in a more formal setting, with a specially trained professional, typically arises out of a crisis. One might have experienced a life-changing event, be struggling with a difficult decision, or realize that one is faced with thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that are confusing, overwhelming, and perhaps even harmful to oneself or others. Biographical counselors are trained in biography and social art in addition to their background in counseling and/or psychotherapy, and they can offer charting, dialogue and art activities to encourage greater objectivity. This approach supports a renewal of strength, insight and balance; the focus remains fully on one’s biography, but with particular attention to experiences that seem to resonate with the central difficulty. The process requires devoted time in order to bring about meaningful inner and outer change.
Biography and Social Art as Professional Enhancement
People trained in biography and social art are bringing new perspectives and practices into many existing professions, such as art therapy, medicine, care for the elderly, hospice, adult education, work with the homeless, and death care.