All posts by gmarvinhakomi

Cultivating Hakomi — in Powell River and Norway

Georgia MarvinWhen one is a gardener, one’s habit is to nurture the soil, plant seeds, and cultivate all the plants within arm’s reach. I am pleased to be cultivating two new Hakomi trainings, one close to home and one in Europe.

In Powell River on the Sunshine Coast of BC, a small group formed in January and February of this year. In the first month we welcomed seven students and in the second month ten students from Vancouver Island, Powell River and Mexico. We will be meeting again on March 28 & 29 and April 25 & 26. The fall schedule will be posted in June. If you are interested in attending, please contact Georgia directly (

Many of our readers know me and remember my partner, Jeff. For those of you who are familiar with our journey of dying, I would like to share my vision for my future without him. One of the great gifts that Jeff left for me was Hakomi. He introduced me to the method, to Ron Kurtz and Donna Martin and we practiced and taught Hakomi for over a decade. Jeff and I bought our home in Powell River with the hope that we would be able to teach and practice Hakomi here. We were fortunate to have a Hakomi Retreat in June of 2014 with our close Hakomi students from Vancouver. It was Jeff’s final Hakomi experience and precious moments for those who attended.

My intention is to offer Hakomi in Powell River and to teach whoever attends. I will adjust the teachings to the needs of my students. Some of my students are committed to certification and this training will provide a great opportunity for them to be coached at an advanced level. I’m hoping to develop teachers of Hakomi in Powell River and cultivate a new Hakomi community.

I would also like to offer my home as a retreat for couples.  The invitation would be to come for a few days to rest and reflect, find solace away from the stresses and concerns of everyday life, to enjoy my home and garden and to do Hakomi each day with me.

The second new training will in Oslo, Norway in June of this year. One of our Vancouver students, Yerina Rock, is returning to her home and taking her love of Hakomi back to her friends and her country. I am very pleased to accompany her on this adventure.

When I am not teaching, I am at sea on our boat, Seabear or in my garden. If you want to contact me, you will know where to find me – tending my roses.

Thanks to Katie, our online loving presence

Katie Askew handles all Vancouver Hakomi email

When you write to Vancouver Hakomi, the loving presence on the other end of the wire is Katie Askew.

In addition to being a teacher with Vancouver Hakomi, Katie has donated about two hours a week for the past three years handling all of the group’s email correspondence.

“It feels good to be in the lovely world of Hakomi,” Katie says. She volunteers to help ensure the Vancouver Hakomi training stays alive.

The rest of us in Vancouver Hakomi are grateful to Katie for always being there — to answer questions, register us, and just touch base. She helps keep our community knit together. Thank you, Katie!

She helps keep our community knit together. Thank you, Katie!

Thanks to Andrea, our social media pioneer

Andrea Freeman

The gift of time is priceless. And that priceless gift is what Andrea Freeman has been volunteering on behalf of the Vancouver Hakomi community for close to a year.

Andrea is the person behind the social media side of our community. She created the FaceBook site and Twitter presence, and tirelessly keeps them fresh and interesting.

More than 135 people are connected by her work, reminded of events, and inspired by the Hakomi-related quotes creatively combined with beautiful imagery.

We are so grateful for her skill, creativity, passion, and dedication. “Thank you, Andrea, for helping build the Hakomi community!”

“Thank you, Andrea, for helping build the Hakomi community!”

Explain this to your mother

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”
– Ron Kurtz

Georgia MarvinMy mother often asks me, in her 89-year-old way, “What do you do? Tell me again.”

She knows me as a teacher, so it’s easy to satisfy her with a general response, “I travel and teach Hakomi.” That seems to settle her curiosity for a while. The last time she asked, I gave her a little more detail and she expressed interest in coming to a group to see me teach, but when I gave her a few more details, she backed away from the telephone with “Oooh, that might scare me.”

For a woman of her generation whose childhood was in rural Saskatchewan during the depression, inner work was not an option. Survival was more the requirement. My grandmother, Sophia, who offered work and food to starving men riding the rails in those deprived times, was someone who used epithets to contain the suffering and offer guidance to life’s little miseries, miseries which probably seemed vastly immaterial to the suffering she had witnessed in the dirty thirties.

It’s difficult for my mother to comprehend what I do. She’s happier in her northern garden, coaxing her spring flowers through the snow.

And to explain it to my grandmother, I might just say that I teach people how to be a little happier with their circumstances.

My Discovery of Hakomi

Georgia MarvinI had studied various therapeutic modalities for many years but the discovery of Hakomi answered a yearning I didn’t know was there.12

I first experienced the power of Hakomi thirteen years ago at a supervision in Ashland, Oregon with the Hakomi pioneer Ron Kurtz. I had volunteered to be a client of one of Ron’s students and I had entered a deep childlike state. Ron, who would not hesitate to take over a session if he thought it needed mastery, stepped in.

At once the atmosphere dropped into a realm I can only refer to as wisdom. For the first time in my life I felt enclosed and protected by a whole circle of wise men. My concern about death and dying was real because my partner had been diagnosed with cancer. I had just found him, the love of my life, and I thought I was going to lose him. Ron acknowledged the reality of death. Then he made a simple statement—what I later learned in Hakomi training is called a verbal experiment—a brief statement which may or may not elicit emotion, but one that that has the potential to be nourishing. This simple statement, made almost under Ron’s breath, has reverberated in my psyche for over a decade: “You don’t have to worry about that right now.”

The deep relief and acceptance that flooded me then still informs my work with clients who are facing death and dying. While I ponder death, and meditate upon it, I have stopped grieving about it before it happens. This simple idea has comforted me and stabilized me, has given me the courage to stay in the present and not predict the future. I am thirteen years beyond that moment and it still reminds me to be in the beauty of the moment even though death is now closer for my husband.

It was like a mythological golden arrow, piercing the heart.

As I spent time at the Hakomi supervision in Ashland, I began to see and experience the power of Hakomi. One afternoon, while the students were on a break, milling around and talking, Ron was sitting at the front of the room, observing. Suddenly he called, very softly, to one of his German students: “Hilde, you’re good enough.” As I watched Hilde, I saw, to my amazement, that her whole face and body collapsed. She began to weep. I knew I had witnessed something very powerful and very subtle. It was like a mythological golden arrow, piercing the heart.

In that moment I knew that I wanted to learn Hakomi, a method I have continued to learn at deeper and deeper levels over the past decade. As I tell my students, I believe that not only is there genius in the method itself, but also there is great genius in developing a method that is teachable. I could see the brilliance of my teacher, but I wanted to learn a method that could be accessed by most people—the main requirements being the willingness and ability to be mindful and the courage to be an authentic and compassionate human being.

The Way of Hakomi: Cruising the Inside Passage

I’m writing this reflection in memory of Hakomi at sea. Seabear, our beloved 37 ft motor vessel served as home for me and my husband three to four months every summer for the past dozen years. Many of you reading this have met my husband Jeff and some of you have traveled with us in those wild places, exploring your inside worlds and the outside world, learning to love both. Jeff is currently struggling with terminal cancer and as we go through this journey together, we are both grateful for the memories of our travels at sea and our Hakomi journeys aboard Seabear.

jeff and georgia on seabearEvery summer we would travel to the Inside Passage of British Columbia to lose ourselves, to locate ourselves and each other again, to enter the deep quiet of the ocean in a way that would feed us throughout the coming year. One morning we came into dock at Lagoon Cove, a little bay in the Broughton Archipelago. After we had tied the lines, I looked up to see a woman with a warm glint of recognition in her eyes coming toward the boat. After she said hello, she reminded us that we had met five years earlier in another remote spot.

I remembered then how we had spent hours together, talking on the dock about her young son with Downs Syndrome. I had attended to her story in the spirit of loving presence that I have cultivated in my Hakomi practice, appreciating this mother’s courage in facing a tough situation. Since that time, she had been looking for us, noting every time Seabear was hailed on the VHF.

Without working at it, or even thinking about it, and certainly without doing any therapeutic interventions, I had connected to this woman on a deeply human level. Hakomi, which can be understood as assisted self-study with the potential for therapeutic healing, is not just a job for me, something that begins and ends at an appointed time. It is my path, my mission, and my life’s calling. It affects all my relationships, however fleeting. Most of all, it affects my relationship with myself.

Hakomi helps us make sense of our experience, helps us make meaning and wholeness of our lives.

In order to be fully available to help others, I must first be at home in my own inner wilderness. As a Hakomi practitioner, I cannot help others unless I also study my own internal world, learning to befriend the many parts of myself—however contradictory they seem at times—and also learning, over time, to make sense of my own journey. In his work, The Neurobiology of We, Daniel Siegel reports a powerful finding: that the best predictor of a child’s integration is the ability of the parent to make sense of her own life. How do we make sense of the pain and the suffering in our lives? How do we make sense of suicide? How do we make sense of a decision to stay with an abusive partner? How do we make sense of the emotional barrenness of a birth family, of the deep mistrust and separation that exists in families? How do we make sense of deep loneliness we may have experienced in childhood, young adulthood, or in our long-time marriages? Hakomi helps us make sense of our experiences, helps us make meaning and wholeness of our lives.

This is a special thanks to those of you who have joined us on Seabear – for those who have flown in little planes to Bella Bella, who have taken inflatables to the southern islands of Haida Gwaii, who have bathed in the wild hotsprings of Dean Channel and fished for salmon in Queen’s Sound – thanks for sharing this wild and beautiful journey of Hakomi and life.

Freedom From or Freedom To

How Hakomi helps…

kenny_smBy Kenny Askew

One of the questions new clients often ask is how many sessions will it take. Certainly if counselling was covered by insurance, they would want to know how many.

Mental and emotional health seem to take on a more nebulous quality than physical health does. With physical health, we can measure healing with the level of pain experienced, with range of motion or functional tests of one sort or another.

No matter where we are in our life process, there is always more to learn, more to experience, new frontiers to explore.

Emotional health is a little trickier. To me, life is a process of learning, growing, and experiencing. No matter where we are in our life process, there is always more to learn, more to experience, new frontiers to explore.

This is where Hakomi comes in. It is a system of assisted self-study. We can help each other and our clients by walking with them in their exploration of themselves and the way they are organized.

Sometimes I think of the self-discovery process as a process that may start out looking for freedom from something… freedom from pain, freedom from fear, freedom from loneliness. At some point, we have freedom to… freedom to create, freedom to make choice. By illuminating our beliefs, habits, and unconscious strategies and programs, Hakomi allows us the freedom to make choices that are conscious.

I think this is where it gets a lot more scary… “You mean it’s up to me? My choice matters? I get to choose? I think I want to go back to thinking it’s my childhood or my mother. If that was different in some way, my world would be whole. I think I’ll go back to freedom from again.”

What creates relief is realizing and experiencing that we have agency in life, that our thoughts and beliefs do shape the world we live in. This of course is where it gets scary, because blame and victimhood don’t work so well when we realize we do have power in our personal lives.

From problems to possibilities, freedom from to freedom to.

On this journey, it is helpful to have someone accompany us. The gentle walk of Hakomi can offer freedom on our path of self-discovery.