W. Hunter Roberts
Transformative Arts



The Underpinnings of The Work

"The map is not the territory." - Gregory Bateson, anthropologist

Our experience of the world is based more on the map we use than on the territory we travail, because our map tells us how to interpret the territory. Our interpretations give us our responses, our beliefs, our emotions, and even our sense of what's possible. If we have a map that does not include California or Borneo, for example, we are unlikely to consider the possibility of going there. We may not even know they exist. Likewise if our map does not include love, success, self- esteem, or adventure we are equally unlikely to consider such possibilities for our lives.

Babies come into the world with no knowledge of how things work, who these huge people are, or the fact that when mommy walks out of the room, she walks into another room (or, for that matter, that there IS another room. For all we know, she has dropped off the earth'except of course, we don't know we are on an earth). From the moment we are born, with limited cognitive apparatus and limited information, we scramble to construct a map that allows us to survive and negotiate this confusing new world. We make quick conclusions and decisions at a cellular level, in order to construct the map, or software system, that then allows us to interpret and traverse reality. Further, we are born into our family's map, and our culture's map. These inherited maps are passed down by the culture or the family as the "right way" or the "only way" that things can be done. Except-- a child doesn't know it's a map---they think it's reality. It is the only reality they know. There is nothing pathological in this; it is the family's and the culture's job to pass along ways of doing things, maps that allow individuals and societies to function without too much friction. But these maps are often based on old realities, also made with limited resources, and may not serve the individual in today's world who wants a higher level of fulfillment than what old maps afford.

These decisions, conclusions and inherited maps combine to give us our world-view--and our world. They are like a software interface, through which experiences and events can be filtered and sorted, allowing us to take in and use information. Every experience and piece of information is filtered through this software. Problem is, there is no termination date on the programs, so they just keep running, even when they are out of date, or not giving us the experiences we want. We forget, for the most part, that these programs are running. They are largely invisible, indistinguishable from the experiences themselves, and hence not open to review or revision. If something happens for which we don't have the software (say, being loved, where there is no receptor site or software program ) it slips through.

So we see it is not so much the events of our lives as our conclusions and decisions about those events, that create our personal realities and stories. Our stories can be empowering or disempowering. And while it is not possible to change events in the past, it is possible to go back, reinterpret with better data, make new decisions to create more empowering stories

I have spent my career studying and developing a wide variety of methods for accessing people's internal programs and helping them to revise them--on a cellular level--so that they can have the sorts of experiences they want. It often requires a major shift in identity, and that is my specialty. I use somatic work, at the deepest, most subtle body levels, primal integration and re-parenting, NLP, dreamwork and visioning, as well as inner voice dialogue, cognitive reframing, and life planning techniques.

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