As I sit down to my computer to type this, I’m aware of the aloe plant in the large pot to my left, filled with healing juices, patient, still, and ready to be of service, while slowly growing to be of greater use. I’ve had it in my therapy office since 2014, just a few months after I met Cyndy Sheldon.
Cyndy struck me then as she did every day until her passing last week: Gentle, rooted in Egalitarianism, her radio tuned to helping others understand her walk of Gestalt as a Way of Life, (the title of her book), which appeared to me to make her practice as a Gestalt therapist seem effortless.
I was fortunate to start attending her training group shortly after meeting her, never being more than 7 or so people in a therapy office, or her homes around Bellingham, WA. I fondly remember being instructed to go into her garden and experience each plant as a child who has not yet discovered the words to describe what I encountered, rooting myself back to pure experience; Sitting across from another, sharing what I’m experiencing through my senses and when a thought would arise, exclaim, “I’m having a thought” and struggling to leave it at that as my mind wanted to describe itself; and sharing the training space with several non-therapists, as Cyndy imbued the greater world with Gestalt principles and thought that cultivating Gestalt in community was a virtuous and worthy endeavor. Not the least of these was her voice so melodious in my head now: “I don’t believe in labels.”
I now sit in a place of wealth, that I received a morsel of the greatness she offered, and knowing that the lives she touched will be forever joyful that they were lucky enough to bask and learn in her presence. If you didn’t know Cyndy well, I encourage you to peruse her website, especially her books and videos, and other sharing about the development of the Gestalt world, from someone who watched Fritz Perls doing empty chair work with Sigmund Freud, and was at those early meetings with Fritz as the first West Coast Gestalt institutes were established.
https://www.cyndysheldon.com/consulting (videos, including Humans of Gestalt interview)
With Love, Peace, and Awareness of my fingers on my keys, glancing at a handcrafted skull from Mexican artisans that today represents a great and masterful human that is Cyndy.
– Patrick Dougherty, Eugene, Oregon, USA
The four (free) video interviews offer a first-hand account of the founding decade of Gestalt Therapy on the West Coast, personal accounts from her time with Fritz Perls (between 1961 and 1969), and an introduction to one of her major contributions to Gestalt: unpacking the Egalitarian aspects (and opportunities) within Gestalt Therapy.
As for her books, perhaps the themes in one of her titles resonates with you:
Gestalt as a Way of Life: Awareness Practices as Taught by Gestalt Therapy Founders and Their Followers;
Don’t Tell Me What to Do… Ask Me!: Creating Egalitarian Relationships from a Gestalt Perspective.
To access her books visit: www.cyndysheldon.com/books