A reflection by Eina McHugh, November 2017
Before July 2017, I had never attended a European Federation for Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy summer school, assigning it to the ‘must-do that-some-day’ list. This year, however, was different. After a decade serving as Director of a cultural organisation, I had stepped down in order to be open to a new chapter of life. Now I had created more time and space for myself, I was determined to heed an inner call and connect with the gathering tribe in Cologne.
The summer school offered an opportunity to participate in one seminar over four consecutive mornings, as well as other workshops and events. I intuitively chose Massimo Rosselli’s seminar, ‘The right to be peaceful on the journey of the Soul, acting and making peace with life’. I had enjoyed his input at the ‘In Appreciation of Roberto Assagioli’ event in London (organised by the London Wellspring Group). I wanted to experience more of this Italian teacher who was trained in psychosynthesis by Roberto Assagioli.
From the moment the seminar started, I knew I was in for a treat. Instead of beginning with the usual round of introductions, Massimo took out a small drum and smilingly held it close, like a beloved one. The sound of drumming resonated in the room. I thought of the North American shamanic tradition where the drum is a living connection with the Great Spirit Creator.
It is hard to convey the impact of those mornings. Soul work often eludes the written word. What I know is that Massimo modeled a unique and wonderful approach to psychosynthesis, one that gave space to body and mind, sound and movement, spirit and lightness. He showed open-ness. Anyone, he said, was free to join or leave the group, acknowledging that the journey of soul is not linear or straightforward. People could do what they needed to do.
I found his emphasis on ‘the embodied Soul’s right to exist’ particularly strengthening. At one stage we were invited to walk around the room, lifting one foot – ‘root’ – then the other –‘ unroot’. ‘You have to root first’ said Massimo. Months later, I practice this exercise daily.
I saw the need to strengthen my ‘I’. I found myself distracted by thoughts of a major work tender for which I had not submitted, my mind gnawing over this decision, uselessly going over that which was past. One morning I followed the beat of the drum and my desire to move towards the window. I wanted to be close to the swaying trees. I didn’t want to be restricted to the circle, even though I love being with people. I needed more freedom. All this I knew in my body. I could trust this information. It was OK to have let the big tender go. I could embrace the learning of the seminar and choose peace as a starting attitude to being a consultant.
Throughout the seminar I wrote few notes. I allowed myself an embodied experience, one that included intellectual rigour but was not limited to the level of the intellect. What I experienced in Massimo, as a teacher, was someone who had the courage to be his self. He was bringing together what he loved about psychosynthesis, his depth of knowledge and communicating it in his way. He connected me to my will to teach about my passion in my way, ‘to embody all that you are, to find a ground, to be accepted, to be here’ as his presentation said.
On the final morning, the challenge of existing in time and space arose. The seminar was over-running. All the other participants were waiting for us so that the closing ceremony could take place. The situation was essential to check my tendency to idealization! Sometimes things don’t go perfectly. Can I live with that? I thought of the workshop I had recently led for the Irish Psychosynthesis Network on ‘Psychosynthesis and the Creative Process’. I thought of my hours of planning, concerned that anything would go wrong. Yet what is ‘going wrong’? Massimo did not rush. A woman participant was generous. We got there. I saw my need to befriend my resistance to the Self’s call, to allow myself to develop potential in new directions and be who I am now.
I loved Massimo’s seminar. The whole summer school, ‘The Revolution of the Peaceful,’ made my soul sing. The programme on the ground was beautifully organised by the Circadian Institut for Applied Psychosynthesis.
The experience reminded me how important it is for the creative life to sometimes change environment, make new connections, and receive an immersive experience. This is the principle on which retreat centres and residencies for artists are based. Creative energy can be stimulated by removal from the everyday rhythm. Being open to an external state of beauty (beauty of place, idea or thought) can alter an internal imaginative state. Linking people of different backgrounds can lead to new expression and collaboration. And starting the day with a physical ritual (for me, a swim in the hotel pool), working hard, and enjoying delicious afternoon coffee and cake is good for the spirit!
I look forward to the next EFPP summer school in 2019. Until then, I am strengthened in my psychosynthesis practice and grateful to have received more than enough nourishment to sustain me for at least two years.
Eina McHugh, November 2017
Eina McHugh is a writer, Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurial specialist with University College Dublin’s Innovation Academy, a Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She studied Psychosynthesis at Eckhart House, Institute of Psychosynthesis and Transpersonal Theory in Dublin and completed a Masters in Applied Psychosynthesis at the Institute of Psychosynthesis, London. Her memoir of a therapy, told from the patient’s perspective, ‘To Call Myself Beloved,’ is published by New Ireland Books. A recent quote from Eina: ‘I wrote my blog in late autumn 2017 – Massimo kindly approved its publication – not knowing that Massimo would die a short while later. The EFPP Summer School offered me the privilege of experiencing a great teacher in action. May Massimo rest in Peace and Love.’ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org @EinaMcHugh