Stacks Image 11

A tribute by Stanislav Grof

—— During the almost forty years when Christina and I lived and worked together, we experienced many extraordinary adventures in various non-ordinary realities, as well as crisscrossing the globe doing our work on all the continents except Antarctica. Wherever we were in the world, Christina was able to form close and warm connections with local and indigenous people. She also used everywhere her special talent for creating a beautiful and warm environment that made us feel at home whether we stayed in modern hotels or aboriginal cottages.

—— Christina belonged to the rare breed of people who walk their talk. Spirituality was not something that she reserved for her lectures, workshops, and books; it constantly penetrated her entire life, including the most mundane everyday activities. She did not miss an opportunity to start conversation with little children in parks, people walking dogs in the street, or employees checking-out merchandise in grocery and department stores. She usually found something beautiful about them to make a compliment about.

—— But her special attention belonged to homeless people. Being aware – on the basis of her own experience - of the menaces of alcoholism and addiction, she never gave these people money, but bought them a sandwich and fruit juice or took them for a meal in a restaurant. She was also the major inspiration for our family trips on Thanksgiving Days and Christmas holidays to Glide Memorial Church to prepare and serve meals for the homeless. As expected in an intense and complex relationship like ours, our spiritual journey in tandem took us occasionally into stormy waters, but cruising through life we hardly ever encountered doldrums and boredom.

—— Another important channel for Christina’s creativity was art and appreciation of beauty. Early in her career, she was a very gifted, resourceful, and original art teacher who cultivated and nourished in her pupils their natural talents. Later she became an accomplished painter who used art for pleasure, as well as an important tool in her healing process and self-exploration. The remarkable collection of paintings documenting her journey of recovery from alcoholism served as a teaching device and source of inspiration for many people suffering from addictions who came to her lectures and our workshops.

——Her extraordinary creativity and sense for beauty manifested in many everyday situations, such as exquisite setting of tables for birthdays, dinners for friends, Thanksgiving Days, Christmas, and Easter. Christmas was Christina’s favorite time of the year. She organized pre-Christmas workshops, in which our entire family participated in creating hand-made decorations using wooden balls, beads, dowels, assorted pieces of fabric and leather, thorns, crab claws, pine cones, feathers, paints, and other materials. Over the years, our collection of handmade decorations has reached a size that exceeds the capacity of our trees to hold it. All Christmas gifts came with intricate wrappings and cards with puzzles alluding to what was inside of the boxes. And Christina’s specialty for all different occasions was creating beautiful flower arrangements.

——One of the powerful forces in Christina’s life was her unconditional love for her daughter Sarah, son Than, daughter-in law Deborah, and five wonderful granddaughters. It was very interesting to witness the ingenious ways in which she was able to lead her children and grandchildren lovingly to desirable behavior without using disciplinarian method. The best examples were the promise of Children’s Day that she introduced to Esalen and of “messy meal” during which the children were allowed to be as wild as they wanted if they behaved at the table all the other times. Christina’s captivating stories and imaginative plays worked wonders with the children. Our family gatherings were always full of laughter, jokes, and little tricks. Christina’s preparation for Christmas did not start with Thanksgiving Day, but extended throughout the entire year. The intention to find the best gifts for the members of the immediate and extended family always permeated all her shopping.

——I feel deep appreciation for the role Christina played in my life directing my attention to various areas in which I would not have otherwise been interested. On her 50th birthday, Than, Sarah, and I created for her a rite of passage that took her blindfolded to a boat on the San Francisco Bay for a dinner with our transpersonal friends. After we took the blindfolds off her eyes and our friends revealed their faces hiding behind Victorian masks, it was time for birthday wishes. In his brief speech, Roger Walsh said something that I believe best characterized Christina’s role in this lifetime: “I do not know any other person who has been able to transform major problems in his or her life into projects that serve humanity.”

——And this certainly was true. Christina’s psychospiritual crisis, which took the form of Kundalini awakening, motivated her to found the Spiritual Emergency Network (SEN) and inspired our two books The Stormy Search for the Self and Spiritual Emergency. These books have been translated into many foreign languages and instigated a large number of studies and books on this subject. The concept of “spiritual emergency” has been accepted by the transpersonal community and has been very useful for many hundreds of people undergoing spontaneous episodes on non-ordinary states of consciousness. SEN has filial branches in many countries.

——Christina’s bout with alcohol and the process of her recovery inspired an Esalen monthlong seminar and two International Transpersonal Conferences entitled Mystical Quest, Attachment and Addiction. These events were an attempt to integrate the practically successful approaches of the Twelve Step Programs and the theoretical understanding of spirituality offered by transpersonal psychology into a comprehensive therapeutic program for combating alcoholism and drug addiction.

——Shortly before her death, copies of Christina’s last book The Eggshell Landing was delivered to our Mill Valley home. This was the last of the projects that Roger Walsh referred to in his talk on Christina’s 50th birthday. This autographical novel, set into the beautiful environment of Oahu, the Hawaiian island where Christina grew up, is a story describing the most painful psychotrauma of her childhood – emotional and sexual abuse by her stepfather extending over a long period. She succeeded in resolving this trauma, which poisoned her entire life, in a remarkable and very unusual way. When he was dying of metastatic melanosarcoma and showed signs of regret for his behavior, she decided to take care of him in his dying process. The two of them were able to find reconciliation and spiritual closure of their most difficult relationship. During my travels in the last three years, I have already heard from many participants of my lectures and workshops how much Christina’s book had helped them in dealing with their own history of sexual abuse.

——Christina and I cooperated on many projects – from our early psychedelic training sessions for the staff of the Donwood Institute in Toronto, Canada, through thirty Esalen monthlong workshops, and a number of International Transpersonal Conferences to the development of the concept of “spiritual emergency” and of the method of Holotropic Breathwork, including workshops and training worldwide. Our cooperation was close and it was not always easy to separate our individual inputs from each other. Unfortunately, because we live in a patriarchal society, Christina often did not receive any credit for projects that she had created single-handedly such as founding the Spiritual Emergency Network (SEN) or bridging between the addictions field and transpersonal psychology, as well as those to which she made substantial contribution, such as Holotropic Breathwork, Esalen monthlongs, and International transpersonal conferences.

——This was further complicated by the fact that in later years low energy due to her chronic autoimmune disease did not allow her full participation in many of the events. Witnessing Christina enduring for a significant part of her life immense back pain patiently and without complaints was for me an invaluable lesson in compassion. Because of her modesty and humility and in spite of major appreciation that she received from our workshop participants, trainees, readers of her books, and professional colleagues (including two honorary Ph.D. degrees), she did not realize the extent to which she positively influenced and even transformed thousands of human lives. I will certainly remain grateful for everything she contributed into my life. In spite of all the hardships and challenges that we encountered on the way, it was a rich and extraordinary journey that deeply influenced my life.

Stacks Image 9
Thanks to Natasha Tarnovskaya, Maxim Alexanian-Stetsenkov, and GTT for making this video available.

shared by Elena and Horia Francisc-Turcanu including pictures from Christina and Stan's time in Romania in 2013.

Tribute by Mark Ryan

Christina Grof, who died at the age of 72 this past weekend, found a deep appreciation at the Wisdom School for both her extraordinary character and her unique contributions.  With her husband Stanislav Grof, she served as Co-Chair of the School's program in Transpersonal Studies; in 2008, the School granted her its first honorary doctorate. In 2011, the Wisdom community celebrated her 70th birthday--and Stan Grof's 80th--with an intensive on their prodigious work together, a forum that involved tributes and discussions by Angeles Arrien, Richard Tarnas, and Stanley Krippner, among others.
Christina had a long relationship with central figures of the Wisdom community, such as Jim and Claire Garrison and Jim Hickman, who knew her far more intimately than I.  From my own vantage point, however, I had the opportunity to admire how she converted the difficulties and crises of her own life into profound insights that helped push forward the transpersonal perspective and ultimately redounded to the benefit of so many.  My first encounter with her was more than two decades ago, in 1991, at an "East-West" Retreat incorporating Holotropic Breathwork and Vipassana Meditation, in which she was a principal presenter with Stan and Jack Kornfield.  I was rather new to the organized transpersonal movement in those days, and although drawn to a spiritually open view of the mind, not without a strong dose of skepticism about many of the ideas that I heard bandied about at the retreat.  What especially captivated me, though, and invited me to take some of those ideas more seriously, was the searing authenticity of Christina's personal account, and her patently honest efforts to reach the fullest truth that her life's path had offered her.
She spoke of her struggle with alcoholism, the potential pitfalls as well as value of spiritual discovery, her hard-won view of spiritual maturity, and her deep knowledge that we ourselves, and no external source--no doctor or doctrine, no teacher or guru--are our own healers. Christina found the sacred in the world around her, not just in the transcendent; spirituality, she said, is about everyday life, not about getting high.  She demonstrated what she preached--that the most profound divine truth is discoverable in a gradual, step-by-step journey within, even if it be punctuated by painful trials and shattering crises.  The formulations and metaphors that emerge from that process, she knew, could easily become pitfalls--they could be literalized, or dogmatized, or held with arrogance.  "Where there is no sense of humor," she noted, "you'll likely find attachment."  Relax into the flow of your life, she counseled. Christina's message was always about uncovering our own deepest, and always evolving, open-ended intuitions, leading towards further spiritual growth.
In the process of her own inward search, with its struggles and crises as well as blessings, Christina Grof made invaluable contributions to transpersonal psychology in both theory and practice, bringing that uncompromising authenticity to all that she wrote and created.  Perhaps her most salient contributions were in the realms of attachment and addiction therapy; in the very notion spiritual emergency, together with the creation of the Spiritual Emergence Network; and of course, in her creation, with Stan, of the practice of Holotropic Breathwork and the training program that sustains it.  The common denominator of those endeavors--so convincingly expressed in her writings on the topic, whether solo or with Stan--was the healing power of spiritual transformation.  Christina lived that power, articulated it, practiced it, and played a powerful role in helping others gain access to it.  The Wisdom community is only a small circle in the wide world of people that her life and work have touched, and that will continue to reap benefit from her powerfully authentic search for the Self.
Grof's long-time friend Etsuko has written a loving tribute to Christina, in English as well as Japanese.
Christina Grof - In Memoriam
As I sit here, sipping tea in my favorite Nepenthe mug that’s missing the handle that broke off when I dropped it just a couple of weeks back, I reminisce about the numerous times my late husband and I met with Stan and Christina Grof, especially when we stayed at their dramatically beautiful home in Esalen, and when we visited them in Marin County. We also spent time together in various places in Japan -- at hot springs, at the I.T.A. Conference in Kyoto, and during the Holotropic Breathwork workshops we had the privilege of organizing and introducing to Japan. The last time I saw them was at Kaimana Beach in Hawaii, where Joseph Campbell (the cupid that got these two together) used to reside. Theirs was a truly romantic love story, almost of mythical proportions. I remember so vividly, how they would lovingly call each other “Beloved”.
It was yesterday that I got word Christina had passed away peacefully in her sleep on June 15. I imagine her dancing and playing in the heavens with all the angels that have gone on before her. To me, she was the Great Mother, so warm, so loving, non-judging, so encouraging and so very giving. In her hugs, I felt such comfort and a sense of true security -- something I have not felt elsewhere, to be honest. Yes, in a relatively short time, we shared some wonderful and intense moments that can never be forgotten.
In Jack Kornfield’s words (from his website), “She was a creative fountain, an artist of the inner world, an author of books that brought alive the intimate and personal nature of the universal journey, a founder of the Spiritual Emergency Network, co-founder Holotropic Breathwork, a wife and partner, a deliciously devoted grandmother and deeply loving mother, a gardener and tender of the earth, of human beings and all things that came her way.”
I wish I could have had the opportunity to learn more from her, woman to woman -- as there have not been many women of our generation that I have met that have proceeded on this confounded journey of self-exploration with the courage, strength and honesty as Christina. And she never lost her gentleness, her compassion, her femininity or her wonderful laugh and smile along the way. Thank you, Christina. Aloha to you always.

惑っています。6 15 日に眠ったまま、安らかに逝かれたと聞いています。なんだかクリステ
゙ロフさんといっしょにホロトロピックブレスワークを確立し、スピリチュアルエマージェンシ ーネットワーク(S.E.N.)も開設されました。ご自分の著書も、スタンとの共著の著書も数々あ ります。ほかにもいろいろな分野で活躍され、出会う人ひとりひとりを暖かな愛でつつんでしま
私個人にとっても、究極的な大母のような存在でした。ともにすごした時間は比較的短かったに も関わらず、深い思い出がたくさんあります。エサレンのドラマティックなご自宅、京都でのト ランスパーソナル学会の国際会議や、天城の大滝温泉、ホロトロピックブレスワークのワークシ
最後にお会いしたのはお孫さんがお生まれになったころ、ハワイオアフ島のカイマナビーチで朝 食をご一緒したときでした。カイマナビーチは、彼らを引き合わせたキューピッド、神話学者の ゙ョセフキャンベル氏がずっとお住まいだったところです。おふたりはいつもお互いのことを
動かぬ山のような存在の男性的なスタンの横に、やわらかく、ハワイのそよ風のようなクリステ ィーナがいたからこそあのとてつもないパワーが生まれたのだと信じてます。過去の形態、男性 社会の価値観に反発するでもなく、とらわれない女性のロールモデルが数少ない現代社会、クリ スティーナは女性の私にとって女性として、妻として、パートナーとして、母として、おばあち ゃんとして、貴重な存在でした。困惑の多いこの自己探求の道を勇気とやさしさと女性らしさを もって力強く、きわめて正直に、すてきな笑いと笑顔で生きて来られた彼女の姿から学ぶものが たくさんあります。もっとこれからもたくさん学習させていただきたかった。こころからご冥福 をお祈りいたします。天空で先達の方たちと戯れ踊るクリスティーナの姿が思い浮かびます。ア

Stacks Image 15