Larry Greer: A Calling for Death and Dying

>When Larry Greer, a building contractor in Maine, first received a Goddard postcard in the mail, he ignored it, thinking there was no reason for him to finish his bachelor’s degree. But then a little magic and his wife, Peggy, intervened, and the next thing he knew, he and Peggy were driving to the college to learn about the programs offered. When he saw the sign that said, “Goddard College,” he started crying without having any idea why. “If you told me then what would happen, I would have laughed in your face. No way would this lead to me holding the hand of someone who’s dying,” Greer said.

Fast forward almost a decade, and you can find Greer, now an ordained Interfaith minister, who specializes in death and dying, educating groups of ministers all over Maine on how to help parishioners come to terms with death. He completed his BA and his MA at Goddard, both degrees bringing him deeper into end-of-life studies. During his MA degree, he also developed a curriculum to help pastors as well as the general public cultivate greater awareness about death and dying in their lives and communities. He gives talks to medical professionals, including University of Maine nursing students, and Maine Medical Center doctors on the spirituality of death. Recently, he started leading workshops, based on Stephen Levine’s ground-breaking book, A Year to Live, to three groups that include people as young as 20 and as old as 70 to explore issues such as unfinished business, forgiveness, and what people want in terms of disposal of the body.

His main job as an interfaith minister contracted with a local hospital in Scarborough, ME, to provide spiritual care for their patients brings him to nursing and assisted living facilities, homes, and hospitals. His work doesn’t just inspire people; it brings them to his door. He tells the recent story of sitting down to dinner with his kids and grandkids when someone knocked at the door, and said, “My friend is dying.” He looked at his family, who completely support his work, and they told him he had to go.

His work and calling are one and the same. “There is that piece, the call, and if don’t answer it, it becomes a monologue, and not a dialogue.” He’s answered the call that came to him through a postcard in the mail, and it turned out to an extensive dialogue that provides others ways to engage with the biggest questions of their lives.

Pictures: Larry at home in Alfred, ME., and the studio where he gives some of his workshops. You can also contact Larry at lagreer54@gmail.com directly to arrange talks or workshops.

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Posted in Community Building, Death and Dying Studies/Pastoral Care, Spiritual Memoir, Spirituality & Religion | Tagged | Leave a comment

Emily Wrede: Toward a New Definition of Consciousness

Emily Wrede, a recent graduate in the Consciousness Studies concentration of the Goddard Graduate Institute, describes her journey toward integrating subjective experience, storytelling, and embodied practices into a new definition of consciousness. She speaks here about finding new ways to seeing the self and engaging a greater breadt of who we are. As she writes in her thesis, Bringing Inner Experience to the Fore: First Person Consciousness and the Value of Subjectivity, and talks about in this podcast, she is looking toward how to find greater connections to what’s within and around us through the lenses of mindfulness, transpersonal psychology, breathwork, meditation, dance and music, and other arts. Take a listen here.

Posted in Consciousness Studies/Transpersonal Psychology, Embodiment Studies & Body Image, Identity | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Conversation with Francis Xavier Charet

FXCharetFaculty member and Consciousness Studies Coordinator, Francis Charet, explores consciousness, knowledge, and big questions with Richard Whittaker in an interview in Works & Conversations.

Richard Whittaker:  Well, where to begin? Maybe I can ask a big question: what are your larger concerns?

Francis Xavier Charet:  You know, where I teach at Goddard, we have an unofficial mantra—“knowing, being, and doing”— first, the acquisition of knowledge, which has to do not only with putting together material culled from various sources, but also experiential knowledge. That leads to the “being” part—how do you connect to it? Then, there’s the doing part—what does this have to do with your immediate community, and the larger world? And having those expectations of our students, we try to model them also in our own lives and in the work we do. So, not only do I have, let’s say, a professional interest related to Consciousness Studies, and the questions and issues therein, but how can these things be applied so that neither the students nor I are just living inside our own fishbowls.

To read the entire interview, go here.

Posted in Consciousness Studies/Transpersonal Psychology, Cultural & Cross-Cultural Studies, Faculty, Francis X. Charet, Goddard Graduate Institute, Identity, Interdisciplinary Studies, Progressive Education | Leave a comment

Kit Miller on Non-Violence, Social Change, and Restorative Justice

Listen to Kit Miller talk about the path that led her to serve as the director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, and study in the Social Innovation and Sustainability MA program at Goddard College. She shares what led her to study nonviolence — and yes, it has to do with being a mom of a bunch of little kids — and where she’s gone with this work in her life, her community, and beyond.

Posted in Community Building, Restorative Justice, Social Innovation, Storytelling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Funny Thing About Women and Comedy: An Article by Individualized MA Alumni Amelia Bane

“Being a Woman in Comedy Isn’t Unusual Anymore” — so writes Amelia Bane, a graduate of the Individualized MA program who studied improv comedy and attention deficit disorder along with a lot of other areas connected to performance during her time at Goddard. Her new essay about being a woman in comedy was just published in “Wolf Bites,” an innovative collection of essays and posts about leadership and innovation.

In considering what it’s like doing stand-up — a form of comedy so much dominated by men, Amelia writes, “But when I am the only woman or queer person onstage, I often find myself pushing back against limiting roles that cast me as an accent to straight/male performers. Not relying on easy laughs of these tropes has made me a better comedian.” You can read the whole piece here. and take a look at Amelia’s website here. And for some of Amelia’s stand-up in action at Goddard when she was invited to give the commencement address, watch this video here.

Posted in Comedy, Identity, Improvisation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Claudia Guerra on the Soul of Place, Community, and Cultural History

Claudia Guerra came to Goddard to study Consciousness Studies and left to go onto a job as San Antonio’s first cultural historian. She speaks here about Duende, the deep soul of place and community, and how this speaks to her studies at Goddard and her work as a cultural translator in her community.

Claudia describes her work in the community as story harvesting: helping people identify places of importance to them to better see the collective scope of the community as she has worked with people to find where the soul of San Antonio is. Working between communities and developers, city officials and planners, and people of different ethnic backgrounds, she explains, “What I’m really doing is translating — I’m really a cultural translator — translating to citizens what the city is trying to do, and they can tell me what they think is happening to their lives, and I can translate that back to policy-makers, here’s what the community wants you to know.”

Listen to her whole podcast here.

 

Posted in Activism, Community Building, Consciousness Studies/Transpersonal Psychology, Environmental, Sustainability & Place Studies, History & Political Science, Identity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Medicine and Healing Pilgrimages with Angela Blueskies

Angela Blueskies graduated from the Goddard Individualized MA program almost a decade ago, focusing her studies on pilgrimages, and in the process, taking and writing deeply about pilgrimages from Spain to Peru. She offers sound medicine, ancestral healing, shamanic work and ceremonies, and related services. Her new website highlights her work and philosophy.

Central to her Goddard studies and life path, Angela also leads people on retreats and pilgrimages through her business “Heart of the Mother Retreats,” which she co-leads with her wife, Helene Garrovillo. Their journeys take groups to such places as the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and to the Sacred Valley of Peru. In her blog, she writes about her guiding values and experiences (read more here).

Angela describes her background as such: “Born in the gentle mountains of Appalachia, Angela Blueskies is a visionary musician, medicine woman, and facilitator who carries deep understanding of the healing powers of music and the Earth.  For over 25 years she has followed the call of the heart in the path of conscious awakening, a path that has taken her around the world and shaped every facet of her life and work.  In the past decade, Angela has devoted her path to supporting others in the journey of healing and transformation, creating spaces and experiences that allow for deep connection to self and Spirit.”

Read about Angela’s pilgrimage studies here.

Posted in Anthropology, Consciousness Studies/Transpersonal Psychology, Pilgrimage Studies, Shamanic Studies, Singing & Songwriting | Tagged | Leave a comment