The Pearl and the Hut, Volume I, is a therapeutic resource for adult children of divorce and for caregivers who help children experiencing parental divorce.
Beginning with the first esoteric fairytale for adult children of divorce, The Pearl and the Hut focusses on the traumas, gifts, and therapeutic needs of people living in divided families. It introduces holistic, heart-soul-psyche healings that can come through applying the compassionate and universal practices of Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner.
Steiner’s “Anthroposophy” is the heart-based spiritual-scientific philosophy permeating the worldwide community of people and practitioners in Waldorf Education, Biodynamic Farming, Camphill Living Communities, Esoteric Expressive Arts, Anthroposophical Medicine, and a vast field of multicultural wisdom and consciousness understandings.
Yiana Belkalopolos’ integration of foundational Anthroposophical practices, and her sympathetic and empathic psychosocial awareness as a registered clinical counsellor in Canada, offer today’s children and adult children of divorce the following:
• Individual-honoring biographies that speak to the support that other people in parent divorce circumstances have experienced from Rudolf Steiner's influences and his ability to see what is truly human in differing life perspectives and personal soul journeys.
• Safe, soul-spiritual development approaches and demonstrated practices that have been adapted throughout the world and that can help children in transitional and traumatic stress to experience life as more stable, whole, supported, and authentic to their true natures.
• Consciousness understandings that reveal to older children of divorce and adults that there are rational explanations for the intense and painful feelings and experiences that they often wade through. Anthroposophy moves people away from disease-model beliefs about child of divorce stresses, offering insights that are deeply rational, significant to the soul-psyche, and worthy of validation, appropriate care, and respect.
• The empowerment of heart-warm and life-enhancing communities to help adult children of divorce inwardly harmonize and move beyond labels and false stigmas. Pearls can come to support each other and youngers to take care of their overall well-being and know where to reach out for help.
The Pearl and the Hut is a child of divorce wisdom bundle from experienced travelers on the path to others who manage the personal space and higher grace between family divisions.
Praise for The Pearl and the Hut
Here is a lifetime of research into the soul experiences of the children and adult children of divorce. This is a path of healing, of reaping a harvest of painful experiences and transforming them for the good. The human soul is renewable, indeed.
Elizabeth Roosevelt, Waldorf Teacher, Maine, US
When I met with the author of this set of “Pearl” books in 2011 in Switzerland at the Goetheanum, the cultural and spiritual home of Anthroposophy, it was soon obvious that Yiana Belkalopolos was the appropriate person to deal comprehensively with this challenge, through her professional backgrounds in psychology and education, as well as her significant study of Anthroposophy.
The beautiful fairy tale at the beginning leads us into the subject itself not intellectually nor analytically but so that it speaks to our hearts. It opens the doors of sympathy, compassion, and empathy and takes us into a new dimension of understanding. The Hut, as Yiana points out, is known in esotericism. Her description, however, is the most thorough, practical, and far-reaching one which I have ever encountered, after having initially discovered the concept by Rudolf Steiner.
Virginia Sease, Ph.D., Emerita Member, Executive Council, Anthroposophical Society, Dornach, Switzerland
The author uses her deep knowledge and understanding of the spiritual development of the human being, derived from the work of Rudolf Steiner, to give guidance and practical help to “Pearls” in this deep and caring exposition. This book can allow children of divorce to become masters of their own lives when they become adults. A great gift and so necessary for our time.
Glenn Charles, Business Systems Analyst, London, UK
In a sweeping narrative and meticulous overview of the specter of divorce, Yiana Belkalopolos brings a perfect unity of science and art to address the complex issues children suffer from this common trauma. Any adult who encounters children through their professional or personal lives should read this text, as it will be invaluable as a guide for the emotional wellbeing of our future generations.
Stephanie Georgieff, Cultural Researcher, Albania/USA
Our children are living in challenging times. The pressure of keeping up with a rapidly changing world has never been as great, or as pervasive. There have always been pressures and challenges for families and children. In the past the family unit, including a circle of extended family, provided a warm, safe center - a protective ‘hut’ or hive from which the child could observe the world and its challenges. Children grew with the understanding and confidence gained from the reassuring wise guidance of elders. Due to a myriad of factors connected to our modern times, we have seen the breakdown not only of the extended family but also the immediate family unit, through divorce. The ‘hut’ has become divided and too many children have fallen in the gaps and missed developmental pieces.
As a child of divorced parents herself, Belkalopolos brings a refreshingly new approach to healing the inner divides in these children. She combines a lived experience of surviving parent conflict and family-life divisiveness with a twenty-five-year study of both western mainstream psychology and Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophical views of child and adult development.
Adriana Koulias, Anthroposophical Researcher, Best-selling author, Sydney, Australia
People who grew up in the middle of conflict between divorcing parents will appreciate the years of research, the knowing insights, and the dedicated heart and soul that Yiana Belkalopolos has put into “The Pearl and the Hut.” The book is created with deeply human biographies from children and adults who have been through parent divorce challenges and who have experience with Waldorf schools (or the philosophy behind them). This resource book offers substantial insights and practices to guide others through the minefield of our child-of-divorce culture toward greater wholeness.
Carolyn Jourdan, Best-Selling Author, Tennessee, USA
How I Work and Why I Created this Book Set
Back when the western world was beginning to really reverberate from the divorce waves of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, and little was yet known about the longterm effects on the children caught between parent conflicts, I was a young adult child of divorce struggling with no voice and no comforting adult to see me for myself, hear my pain, or ask what ailed me most in it all. Then my mother died and the family estrangements, including in the extended family, increased. My brother was as challenged by the family coldness, silence, and disregard as I and he had a severe anxiety attack that hospitalized him for a time. I felt never more alone as then.
Many, many nights, for about seven years after that, I held my right hand up to the heavens and prayed to my mother and cried for someone in the spiritual world to find someone here to help me through all of this. I never forgot those seven sad and alone years, calling for someone to hold a hand out to mine.
Twenty-one years later, after my life had changed entirely, and while in deep mutual love with my common-law husband, living in a place that calmed my nerves and inspired my sense of spirit and soul, I felt a deep, compassionate sense to help others through heartbreaking and divisive times. Many committed people had fostered my heart growth, courage, and general sense of renewed life. I had never felt so peaceful. Yet, neither my husband nor I ever felt that the grace that we'd found in love was just for us or something we'd feel in the same way all of the time. We knew that love had to become as selfless as possible, and that would be both challenging and humbling. Yet, we were sure we were up to it.
I was once taught that the greater you go in love, the more you'll be tested on it to know that it truly lives in you through any challenge. And, sure enough, the hardest test of it came when my husband died unexpectedly, and at a still early age, and I was once again quite alone with my greatest losses, some unfulfilled tasks, and a sense of crushed dreams. The call to help others, and perhaps in doing so also help myself to grow and stay honest, truly sounded toward me like a trumpet and I knew I had to write this book set.
Rudolf Steiner has said that books mostly contain dead thoughts. They are good to record memories and even to record good practices and creative inspirations but they must be continually put to new life with others to have real meaning in the world. That was exactly what I hoped for with these books, as hard as such a task truly is. I, like anyone setting off on unbroken ground with a new initiative, still sometimes feel like only a beginner, and even at times inadequate, despite the many years of practice, experience, and preparation. Yet, the real soul life is about showing up anyway with what you have and being willing to make the most of what comes about for the good of all. Anthroposophical wisdom understands that we, as human beings, are always in a state of "becoming" and not in one of perfection or completion.
These books are my way to hold my hand out to those adult children of divorce that might be locked into themselves in some way alone and needing someone to know them inside a bit better than others have, and to possibly see them for who they really are. The books are also for caregiving professionals and others to be able to do the same in a new and more whole way. I promised to extend whatever I could to "Pearls" and to the caregivers so that both the youngers and the elders might receive the attending and stability that I came to learn about more for myself, and that I'd had more in my early childhood prior to the distortions of the family divorce. I felt called to bring soul-pyche development understandings that have been missed by many psychotherapeutic professionals in the last decades.
The process of editing a set of books such as these means continually updating ideas and research, and also living into the next steps of the ideas to keep the work alive, while also dealing with everyday personal issues and pragmatic life tasks. The initial impetus for this book was deep love. Renewing that daily is a profound human task. I think that most people, deep inside, are more dedicated to such a task of the heart than they have full awareness about. That's because the inner child in human beings longs for it. However, the impetus for human love gets regularly distorted in our times by the cold, hard challenges of life and the non-enlivening "things" among us all.
When a book comes out finally to others, that is simply the threshold to a new life with others based not only on what the writer has brought, but on what others bring to the book's insights and other offerings. There actually is no book without the others to read it and stimulate their own thinking, feeling, and willing. When we read someone else's thoughts or about their discoveries, we wrestle with feelings, grow from the insights, develop something new in ourselves often, update our own perceptions of the theme, debate, decently oppose, affirm, and otherwise enliven and enlighten the topic for the sake of the evolution of the human heart and consciousness. No one book is meant to be the be-all tome that tells us everything that is needed to be known about a subject.
In the case of The Pearl and the Hut books, the themes are heartfelt, painful, tender, envigorating, and stimulating to the soul. They make meaning and bring a new layer of societal understandings to a massive phenomenon. Much of what I bring to the books I have attributed to the master teacher, Rudolf Steiner, though I have found my own insights as a result of my work with his indications and years of varied meditative practices mingled with work in the world. If any of us come to understand something about the human collective endeavour toward love, family, relationship, and individual and collective strivings for heart-growth and the positive uplifting of some of humanity, then my efforts to present his and my research and ideas will not be in vain.
No one person does this. Though one person may write a book that lights something that wants to move forward in goodness, the whole process involves many voices. Mine is just one. Rudolf Steiner spoke of how in our times, in the West, human beings are not simply following gurus any more and that we must never be expected to give our sense of self away to anyone else to control or design our destiny for us. No one has the right to authoritarian rule over another, even if they "author" ideas that have some very deep, truthful, and soul-spiritual human impulses in them. Having experienced many dedicated, humanitarian and authentic souls in this lifetime, I get the importance of autonomy within community relating. I don't claim the perfection in it that I have borne witness to in some very rare and free others, but my striving is committed.
As a responsible therapist, I am not looking to have people follow or mimic me, but only to stimulate healing conversation and activity, and hopefully, to help to create a large and strengthened community among Pearls to overcome the stigmas and to open greater avenues of harmonious heart growth. That said, we all need friends and community with soul brothers and sisters, and I truly hope to do onto others what I would wish them to do onto me. That wish lives in a wide spectrum of love.
And so, in offering these books truly out of an impulse for the good, I humble myself in the process, and as the work moves forward in discussion, in workshops, and in what others make of the ideas in the soul-spirit wrestling, with a very charged and challenging subject, I hope to learn from others and feel a kind of brotherhood-sisterhood in that connecting from a higher place. I don't expect to get everything figured out to a perfect satisfaction or peace with everyone who comes to read the book. I wish only for the best that could follow out of the intentions of an earnest heart striving among many people who seek some kind of meaning and understanding around their family break-ups and the divisions that call us all to heal our hearts.
Finally, as an author of books about children and adult children of divorce, I can't intend to get into much discussion about the issues between the parents themselves, as those are their own subjects and many authors and therapists have spoken openly to that over many decades and continue to do that kind of human relationship investigation. Only directly, in on-line workshops that offer some safe containment, do I intend to enter into those discussions, occasionally.
These books, and this place, is for the already very full task of helping adults to help the children caught or wading water in the middle, and also for the adult children sculpting lives of their own between conflicted parents. The intention, wish, hope, and faith in me is that we all become mindfully whole and maintain a sense of soul-psyche health, perhaps finding enough greater inner peace and stability to have, or contribute to, truly supportive community around our often, necessarily, autonomous lives.
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