In this episode, Francis and I discuss the role of community in processing grief, the cult of specialness, our addiction to progress, using beauty and ritual to stay mentally healthy, and how obsession with individualism has crippled our ability to feel like we belong. That’s just the tip of the iceberg with a man like Francis, and it’s a great honor to hear him speak with such depth and clarity on these complex subjects.
Francis Weller, MFT, is a psychotherapist, writer, and soul activist. He is a master of synthesizing diverse streams of thought from psychology, anthropology, mythology, alchemy, indigenous cultures, and poetic traditions. Author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, The Threshold Between Loss and Revelation, (with Rashani Réa), and In the Absence of the Ordinary: Essays in a Time of Uncertainty, he has introduced the healing work of ritual to thousands of people. He founded and directs WisdomBridge, an organization that offers educational programs that seek to integrate the wisdom from indigenous cultures with the insights and knowledge gathered from western poetic, psychological, and spiritual traditions.
As a gifted therapist and teacher, Francis has been described as a jazz artist, improvising and moving fluidly in and out of deep emotional territories with groups and individuals, bringing imagination and attention to places often held with judgment and shame.
Francis received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and two Master’s Degrees from John F. Kennedy University in Clinical Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology. His writings have appeared in anthologies and journals exploring the confluence between psyche, nature, and culture. His work was featured in The Sun magazine (October 2015) the Utne Reader (Fall 2016) and the Kosmos Journal. (Winter 20201) He is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker at conferences, bringing insight, poetry and a breath of humor to his talks. Francis is currently on staff at Commonweal Cancer Help Program, co-leading their week-long retreats with Michael Lerner. He has taught at Sonoma State University, the Sophia Center in Oakland, and has been the featured teacher at the Minnesota Men’s Conference. He is currently completing his third book, A Trail on the Ground: The Geography of Soul.
He has created three CD sets, two focusing on healing shame and one on “Restoring the Soul of the World.” His latest offerings are a 10-session audio series on “Living a Soulful Life and Why It Matters.” and ”The Alchemy of Initiation: Soul Work and the Art of Ripening.”
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