April 3, 2011

Peggy Sax

Peggy Sax

Over the last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about Michael, knowing this is the 3rd anniversary of his sudden death. You too? In some ways, it feels like yesterday and in other ways it feels like centuries ago. I remember wondering how we would “go on,” – the loss felt so humongous. Now I am in awe to see how we have indeed continued to live and even to thrive, despite losing (and missing) dear Michael. I think this would make Michael happy. He so disliked being in the center. And he would be so keen to hear about all the new developments in everyone’s work and lives.

I’ve been working with Tom Nickel & Robert Shepherd (Alliant CE) to create an online “Legacy” project that will bring together audio and video recordings, a few choice writings, tributes to Michael, a slide show (put together by Walter Bera) with lovely photos of Michael – and a place for sharing some of our own stories about what most excites us most about developments in our own work, and linking this to Michael’s teachings…
This is one thing I can do, and it feels good to work collaboratively on a project that honors Michael while also highlighting the new growth and vitality.. We had hoped to unveil the Legacy webpage this week, but…well… it’s going to take as long as it is going to take. In the meantime, I wonder if we can come together to feel warmed by each others’ presence as we approach the 3rd anniversary of Michael’s death.
I feel very moved, having just re-read the tributes that we’ve already collected:
Check out Dan’s most recent entry, and others in:

Some of us were fortunate to have Michael as our teacher. Others know Michael through our stories. All of us have experiences exploring narrative practice in our own contexts. Does anyone have a story to tell about how you experience Michael’s legacy living on? What enthuses you most about your explorations of narrative practice? If you could have a conversation with Michael, which developments do you wish you could tell him about? What’s it like for you to mark this 3rd anniversary of Michael’s death? These questions sound a bit wooden to my ears. I’m just not sure how to ask, what to say, except that I believe it helps to share stories at this time.

thanks – it’s so good to know you are there. And that the work continues.


April 3, 2011

Peggy Sax

Peggy Sax

I’m not sure whether to write this here or under “Tributes to Michael.” Either would work so here I go.

I want to tell a story about how Michael came along in my work today, the 3rd anniversary of his death.

In the morning, I met with “Kelly,” a woman in crisis, having been charged with a felony offense (I will hold back from other details). The case has hit the news, both local and wider media attention. She has worked very hard to get where she is in life, and this charge is a huge source of shame, and worry. In today’s session, we prepared for her court proceeding, to take place later today.

When Kelly arrived, I told her that today is the anniversary of the death of my mentor and friend, Michael. I told her a bit about Michael – how I believe he was outraged by social injustices, and that I believe he would join me in standing by her. Kelly told me “Michael” is a very important name for her, and told me a couple of stories about life-altering Michaels in her life. I shared more about what my Michael had taught me about circles of support, “re-membering practices” and being in charge of membership to the club of one’s own life. We added Michael White to her Michaels, and to all the others that will be surrounding her in court today.

Kelly was very interested to hear that Michael was Australian. “Did he have one of those beautiful Australian accents?” “Yes, he did.” At the end of the session, I showed Kelly a photo of Michael, and then played a bit of his voice (his talk on Consequences of Trauma at the Evolution of Psychotherapy gathering). We both had tears in our eyes. She then said, “Oh he had such a beautifully soothing voice. Thank you for sharing Michael with me. I will be sure to take him with me.”

I think we both felt nourished and comforted by today’s session.

Thank-you, Michael!

Martha Lopez: April 4, 2011

Martha-LopezDear Peggy and everyone,

I can’t believe it has been three years since I attended Michael’s last conference in San Diego, CA. I was so excited about meeting the author of the books and ideas that have influenced my life and work. All my expectations were met at the conference, plus getting to meet Michael and talk personally with him about Colombia and get a picture taken with him. These moments remain fresh in my memory, perhaps because he was gone so soon. His influence has been a turning point in my life personally and professionally. I believe the greatest influence has been through all the fundamental narrative ideas like “see what others can’t see.” Developing the skills that help us to enlighten what is obscured and unnoticed.
I remember like it was today when they called to cancel the workshop because Michael had become grave ill. How shocking and confused I felt, it was like I was losing a very close relative, even though I had just I met him for the first time.
Today, I’m grateful that Michael’s ideas, his humanity, his approachableness and warmth have become part of my club of life. His voice I carry with me and with it the possibility of growing and influencing other people.

Thank you Michael from me too