JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS - September 2017 - Kansas City
Explore the Journey of Problem Solving
By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.
A journey can be defined as a “day’s work; the act of traveling from one place to another; any course or passage from one state of experience to another.” The word “problem” is from the Greek “to throw forward.” The goal of the journey is to travel into the inner or outer world, meet the unknown, and bring back a gift from this experience for one’s self and to the community and place where one lives.
A journey can be one step, a trip to the store, or to another part of the world. It is an inner journey into the world of dreams or imagination. It is an outer journey in a relationship or work. It is the experience of moving from problem to solution. It is a transition from adolescence to adulthood, or from mid-life to being an elder. It is a moment, a day, or perhaps a lifetime. We are on many journeys simultaneously. Each time we begin a journey, we are in a different place than the time before. We return with a new treasure, newly developed abilities, or new solutions to life’s problems.
For millennia, people have talked about the journey as the adventure or the quest in search of truth, meaning, wealth, or fame. Joseph Campbell, author of many books on this subject, tells us in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, about the three parts of the Journey: Departure, Initiation and Return. In the Life Weaving Education Curriculum, I developed eight stages in the journey to assist people in more easily following the steps of problem solving.
In Departure we begin by Preparing for the Journey. State the problem, become more present by being aware of your body sensations and emotions. Here you can tell yourself “I can take all the time I need.” This helps you to feel physically calm and mentally alert.
The next step is Opening the Door. In this step we change to the healing Alpha/Theta Brain Wave state. Diaphragmatic breathing, repetitive exercise or movement, music, meditation, chanting, or rapping can help entrain the brain, the heart and breathing rate, and other body rhythms. As we move into this altered state of consciousness we access more parts of ourselves for problem solving.
Campbell’s next step is Initiation. I have divided this into three steps. The first is Walking the Path where we confront the obstacles or hardships and may feel like turning back. Here we need consistency, sticking with the process through the challenges and difficulties. Staying with it we come to Embracing the Source, the heart of the journey. Think of Dorothy and her companions in the Wizard of Oz. As they go to what they believe to be the wizard or source, they discover that the solutions were within themselves all along. The journey helped them to discover this.
The step of Receiving the Gift is so important as this is the act of taking in what we have learned. Receiving is sometimes harder than giving but so essential. Appreciating the Source (gift) is an important step that is often forgotten.
The last phase is the Return. There are two parts to this process. The application I call Representing the Gift. This is the part where the solution becomes concrete, practical, and implemented. We can begin by drawing, writing or, in some way tangibly representing the spirit and energy of the gift. And finally, there is bringing the gift to others, Connecting in my Daily Life. This may take time as we practice, solidify, and manifest what we have learned in the journey.
We travel from problem to solution, from idea to practical application, from challenge to new learning. Be brave, be smart, and travel often!
Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC, is a counselor, educator and author. For counseling appointments, seminars, training, speaking engagements or information on Neurobehavioral Programs or Imago Couple therapy call 913-322-5622. For more information about Jude LaClaire or the Kansas City Holistic Centre go to