Path Work

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The Hero’s Journey

Published June 13, 2016 by Susan Woodward

When beginning our work with the Cultural Mythology tales, we started with Joseph Campbell and The Hero’s Journey.

Using the following PowerPoint presentation, I walked them through the steps of The Hero’s Journey as they were taught to me.

The Hero’s Journey

After discussing the outline of the monomyth, the students worked to apply what they understood to their stories about Greek and Roman Heroes.  They talked about the ideas in their groups, and then each member focused on one of the three stages of the Hero’s Journey (Departure, Initiation, or Return). Each person’s job was to apply what they understood about that stage to the story they had read.

In an attempt to appeal to my more creative students who love to draw, each group created a poster for its chosen hero.  The posters were comprised of four parts:

  • a white sheet (at the top)- This was an “introduction” and contained the hero’s name, a brief synopsis of his journey, and three character traits (with supportive evidence) that the hero exhibited throughout his journey;
  • either a green (for growth) or a yellow (for knowledge) sheet- This represented the Departure stage. Students outlined the steps of the Departure as they understood them from the story; how did he need to grow? What knowledge was he attempting to attain?
  • either a red (for passion) or an orange (for creative ingenuity) sheet- This was to represent the Initiation state.  Again, students depicted the elements of the Initiation as they understood them on this sheet; how did he solve problems? What motivated him to continue?
  • either a blue (for truth) or a purple (for valor) sheet- This was to represent the Return stage.  And like the others, the students attempted to outline the Return stage as they understood it; what truth does he bring back to his people? How does he prove himself worthy of the title of hero? What has he accomplished for the good of all?

This is a few of their posters:

Aeneas EDITEDHercules EDITEDHercules Labors EDITEDOdysseus 2 EDITEDOdysseus EDITEDTheseus EDITED

Because many of the Greek heroes stories are intertwined, When I displayed them on the bulletin board, I fit them together like a puzzle. Each hero poster was taped together so that the finished product was almost diamond shaped; it made for easy jigsaw.

Greek Heroes Collage

Being Thankful: Mom’s Bragging Rights!

Published November 28, 2014 by Susan Woodward

While I am grateful for everything in my life all year long, I feel especially blessed as we enter the winter holiday season. Here is a picture of what I am most grateful for:

The Woodward/Everson ClanThis is my family…four generations of us! It includes my dad and step-mom, my children’s grandmother on their father’s side, and Preston’s grandmother. My generation is represented by my brother-in-law, the father of my children and his partner, and Preston’s mom. All five of my children are there with their spouses/significant others, as well as all six of my grandchildren!

I feel truly blessed to have all these people in my life, but I am feeling even more blessed after getting this picture on Thanksgiving Day:

Everson FamilyThe bride and groom from the above picture announced that they are expecting a new arrival this summer! And it just so happens I already have travel plans to visit at that time with my eldest and her daughter…so now I hope to be there for the arrival of grandchild #7!

The people in my life are my greatest gifts, and I vow never to lose sight of that. They give me purpose and validate that, in spite of the multitude of mistakes I have made, my life is pretty damned wonderful. We tease each other mercilessly, but that just gives testament to the bond we have.

In case I don’t say it enough, I LOVE my kids!

My Illy: 1503846_874529102591995_1346509648119248359_n

Phlebotomist by day, aerial artist by night! I do have to say, though, that she looks like a superhero here…as right she should! She works hard to care for her beautiful daughter, Jordan.

I am thankful for my strong, creative eldest daughter.

Oh, and she decorates cakes on the side and cooks up a storm!

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And now Jordan is getting into the act!

JimMy Jim:

For someone who had such a rough start at arriving nine weeks early and very ill, I am so blessed to have this loving, compassionate man as my son. I am so proud of him for accepting his girlfriend Lisa’s children into his heart and for helping to raise them as his own.

He is also a great keyboard player!

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Jim, Lisa and the kids close up

1901804_10154694748580431_6627833825943590068_nRobin Bills Fan

My Robin:

Dr. Robin… I am so proud of you! She and her husband Sean work hard to make a home with their little Dolly.

Not only is she compassionate and knowledgeable in her field, she is a terrific mom who loves to keep things simple. She cooks, cans, and sews like a pro. They are also staunch Buffalo Bills fans who love the outdoors!!

Happy Family

Robin and Sean

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy Sarah:

She looks like a sweet little girl, but this is one tough US Marine who also had no fear when playing women’s rugby in high school. I would think she’d be the Corps’ secret weapon because she you wouldn’t think she could lay you out flat without batting an eye.  That’s my Sarah Bear!

I am so proud of how much she has accomplished, although I miss her all the way on the other side of the continent. She has stepped in to love not only her husband Preston, but his daughter Chloe. And now they are expecting a wee one of their own!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Sarah USMC marching

Sarah USMC

Sarah Preston Chloe

Sarah and Preston USMC ball

My Joe:Joe graduatioon

Strong, smart, and incredibly sweet when it comes to his nieces and nephew! He scares me sometimes because it seems he has no fear, whether it is playing football, rugby, lacrosse, soccer…or his latest sport, longboarding! That is the one that scares me the most, although I cannot help but admire his fearlessness and his strength! He is also self-taught on the guitar, and I love to hear him play.

Joe training

joe longboarding

JoeWell, maybe Dolly’s not such a fan of the guitar…

Joe and Jojo

To my wonderful children and grandchildren, thank you for who you are and all that you do. I love you all so much, and am especially thankful to have you in my life.

Age of Social Consent

Published November 20, 2014 by Susan Woodward

I was honored to be cast in my friend, Louie Podlaski’s one act play, “Age of Social Consent.” It was produced by Everyone’s Theatre Company, Inc., and was directed by Billy DeMetsenaere. I played the role of Erin, a woman suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who is haunted by a particularly painful event in her life involving her teenage daughter. The role of Erin’s daughter, Dana, was played by Katie Guy.

I was thrilled when the show earned awards from the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS): Meritorious Award in Direction to Billy DeMetsenaere, and I received Excellence in Acting.

TANYS award

Actually, the role seemed less like acting and more an element of catharsis. It helped to release pent up emotions and resentment, allowing me to voice things I wish I could have said in other situations. When I first heard about the play, I could not wait to see the script, and when I did, I saw myself in Louie’s words. The situations may not have been the same, but the emotions and the reactions to the words of others was dead on.

Thank you, Louie, for Erin’s words.

Thank you, ETC, for the opportunity.

Thank you, Billy, for the guidance through the journey.

Thank you, Katie, for being a companion on the journey.

This 16 minutes meant so much to me on so many levels, and I am grateful.

The TANYS Festival 2014: Much Ado About TANYS was so much fun! A weekend of theatre productions, the awards banquet, and catching up with people across the state in thespian fellowship made it a weekend to remember!

ETC group photoBoard Members and Actors from Everyone’s Theatre Company

etc girlsLadies of the Board: Everyone’s Theatre Company

with LouiePlaywright Louie Podlaski of “Age of Social Consent.” Sadly, neither our director nor my castmate could make it to TANYS as they were performing in other shows elsewhere…break legs, Billy and Katie!

with LarryLarry just happened to be wearing a tie that matched my costume!

With JeffAnd it is always a pleasure to see Jeff!

It was a wonderful weekend, and I am thankful for being a member of both Everyone’s Theatre Company and TANYS!

We’re All in Myth Together

Published November 20, 2014 by Susan Woodward

ujun20.v008.i04.cover I am so excited to hear that my article, “We’re All in Myth Together” has been published in Culture and Psyche, the Jung Journal of San Francisco! Click on the Journal cover to see the article.

The article is based on a presentation that I did at the Symposium on Mythology in Santa Barbara, California in September 2012.

The following is the video featuring students who were published in four of the, now six, short story anthologies that my students wrote for English 9 Enriched between 2009 and 2014.

This is so thrilling for me!!

Awesome Autumn Color 5K-and-Then-Some Race!

Published October 19, 2014 by Susan Woodward

10660273_10204330380954699_8082479894260167140_nAnd I came in FIRST! Yes, the Awesomeness of Autumn was in the air, and the only other competitor was the sedentary-couch me who had been catching up on Sam and Dean episodes while waiting for Rumple and Hook later tonight.

‘Twas a bit nippy out there, but with my hoodie and fleece jacket, along with the fire of watching Sam and Dean do what they do, I was plenty warm. The sun was shining, and it seems that this must be peak weekend (or darn near close) from all the vibrant color out there. Lovely day!

10703718_10204330380834696_5737243792115223303_nSomeone painted a series of murals beneath the bridge along the Erie Canal, and I do have to admit that I did break into the Erie Canal song, but I wasn’t going fifteen miles today. 5k+ was good enough for me!

10641246_10204330380514688_7167262468720902420_nAs I was looking at the canal remembering the song’s lyrics “from Albany to Buffalo,” I thought about the immigrants that picked up shovels and dug that canal. I complain when my elbows still act up from my tendonitis injury during silks a year and a half ago; I am sure the men who dug this canal didn’t have the luxury of Epsom Salts and ibuprofen.

10636101_10204330380354684_3667839456017222033_nToday I was thankful for the men who dug the canal because it provided me with a beautiful place to challenge myself, and to do more than watch fictional characters flex their brawn. Muscles and sweat made this place a reality.

10511334_10204330381314708_6118131472149777104_nNot to mention Mother Nature’s artistry.

What a lovely day for the Awesome Autumn Color 5k-and-then-some!

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 3.49mi, time: 01:03:28, pace: 18:11min/mi, speed: 3.30mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/770401905

Summer Challenge: Point Breeze

Published August 31, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Being AloneSometimes I just like to get into my Hyundai, pick a direction, and see where I end up. Since I had already gone east when I went to the cabin, explored portions of the south in Canandaigua, and due west with all the time I have had the opportunity to spend with my family in the Buffalo area, my car decided to go to the northwest along the Ontario shoreline. I thought I might end up in Lewiston, but instead my car found its way to Point Breeze.

I do like lighthouses, so I was glad to find that Point Breeze had a lighthouse museum, and it was open to the public. Not only that, but I had the opportunity to climb up to the top to look out!

Point Breeze 1

Point Breeze 2

Point Breeze 3

Point Breeze 4

Point Breeze 7

Point Breeze 5

Point Breeze 6Because there were plexiglass windows at the top of the lighthouse, you can actually see me reflected in the picture! I am glad I was smiling because I was having a terrific time.

 

Bringing Walden Home: Building My Heart’s Home in Nature

Published August 31, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Cone Flowers 1In keeping with my Walden Experiment this summer, I took pictures of the beauty of Nature everywhere I went. These next few were in a friend’s garden, and we spent a good portion of the afternoon making pickles (something I had not done in over 15 years).

Garden 1Bees were flitting from flower to flower, and I tried to zoom in on them.

Garden 2

Garden 3

Garden 4Flowers are beautiful gifts of the Earth, and I just love the array of colors.

Walden Pond Park LancasterSo as I am heading to the Lancaster Arts and Music Festival, I happen to come along this sign, so of course, I had to stop in for a peek. It was on Walden Avenue, but seeing the sign made me want to check it out.

Walden Pond Park, LancasterIt was mostly wide open sports fields, but there was a pond. I looked for hiking trails and came up empty, so I continued on my way to the Arts and Music Festival.

PetuniasThese petunias and the following Rose of Sharon were all taken during the Lancaster Arts Festival.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon 2

Rose of Sharon 1

Rose of Sharon Awakening

I also took some water pictures while in Lancaster. It was a blistering hot day (for this summer in Western New York, anyway), and I found some cool relief by going down to the creek.

Creek in Lancaster 1 Creek in Lancaster 3 Creek in Lancasterv2

I have mentioned before that the song of moving water soothes my soul, and as a slightly cool breeze alleviated the ferocity of the sun, and creek melodiously serenaded me while I rested.

The movement of the water fascinated me, and I watched it move from what seemed to be a still pool through a narrow opening. As the water moved into the opening, I noticed the patterns in the current as it moved over the rocks. One rock just beyond the opening acted like a dividing surface, akin to a fork in a road. The water split in its path, creating a criss-cross pattern on the surface. My camera does not do justice to the movement of the water, but as I watched, it reminded me of the various paths we face in life, and how our forward movement is dictated by the choices we make along our path.

No matter which way the water moved around the rock, each “leg” of the current did its own little swirling dance before reconvening in the next pool beyond. Although unseen, the current still rides under the water, still moving it forward. And that is what I see in my life. I go off on my own path, then reconnect with others, all the while feeling the effects of my choices within me.

The summer draws to a close, and I begin to plan my new school year, hoping to take with me the tranquility of Nature as my soul attempted to Build It’s Own Damn House of Tranquility.

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