Dedication to Martha Ayres from Alison Buck

Dedication to Martha Ayres
from Alison Buck
November 2, 2016

In the wake of International Authentic Movement Day, when we honor the contribution of Mary Starks Whitehouse and share our experiences and thoughts in recognition of what she has given us through “Tao of movement,” I wish to offer a contribution to the Authentic Movement Community web site, both monetarily and by way of a personal dedication.

My very good and long-time friend, support, colleague, and mentor, who was also my Jungian therapist and dream analyst for mort than 32 years, died on the 18th of August, 2016.  She had been diagnosed 10 months earlier with cancer.

Though I did not realize it then, the last day I saw Martha in therapy was just over a year ago in October of 2015.  The unanticipated day I learned she had cancer, after which I would not be able to see her again as my therapist, was just a year ago.  I had initially hoped she would recover, at least enough so I’d be able to come see her again regularly in some capacity.  But that, sadly, was not the case.

While I did have several opportunities to briefly see my deeply loved friend during the spring and early summer, I did not have the opportunity I so wanted, to bid her a proper good-bye.  And very soon after Martha’s passing, a crisis arose within my own family that even made it impossible for me to touch into my grief over losing Martha.  My experience has given me pause – to think about pursuing those things in life that feel most meaningful, and to have the awareness to realize in the moment, which things are.

Why have I chosen our Authentic Movement Community as the place where I will share my dedication?  Because the deepest of connections I feel with Martha evolve from her dedication to the process of individuation, her expertise as a Jungian therapist, her gifted dream analysis and guidance in the world of active imagination, her devotion to the wisdom of one’s body, and her championing of the wounded female.  All of these are gifts I received from her, and these gifts in turn led me to reach toward, and receive the gifts of Authentic Movement, twenty years ago.

Martha also had done Authentic Movement at some point, I understand.  I think there was very little that relates to the individuation process through one’s body that Martha has not done!  There were times that I asked her to be my witness, within the structure of Authentic Movement, which she gladly did for me.  And there were many, many times when I would bring her something I had experienced, written, or drawn from my Authentic Movement sessions elsewhere, and she would again act as my witness for these.  All have been such rich experiences, that I miss dearly.

In October, I attended a retreat in the Discipline of Authentic Movement in WatertownMassachusetts.  There I finally had the time and space to open up to the depth of loss I feel for Martha, and I had the safety of the container to allow the feelings to come up in me and pass through.  A most potent realization from my retreat experience is that I am not alone in grieving about not having a proper goodbye:  I hold a deep sense that so too does she.

In writing this dedication, I realize that Martha Ayres was to my life what Mary Starks Whitehouse has been to the Authentic Movement Community.

To Martha and in the witnessing of all who will read this, my deepest love and gratitude.

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