When Bob and I purchased our sixty acre Murray Creek property in 1974 our purpose was to establish a retreat center for Inner Healing. This was the beginning of Creative Living Center and later the home of CLC Press which gradually evolved into an on-line means of sharing what we were learning and experiencing about the processes of becoming whole.
I was born in 1929 in Holden, Missouri. My parents were both journalists and co-published the local newspaper. They had met in Mexico City where my father was on assignment for a Washington DC newspaper and where my mother was doing advanced studies at the University of Mexico. When I was six they separated and I moved to Kansas City where my mother began a long career in radio and television. In high school I was sent east to Penn Hall in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. And that is where I met Bob who was attending Mercersburg Academy, the nearby boy’s prep school.
Bob was born in 1927 in Washington, DC. His mother had been a librarian in Hammond, Indiana before coming to Washington during World War I where she met his father, a young Marine who became an attorney when the war was over. Bob attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington through eighth grade and went on to Mercersburg, and from there, near the end of World War II, into the army. The war over, he began pre-law at Northwestern where I was studying journalism and doing secretarial work for my mother who was then Woman’s Editor of American Broadcasting Co in Chicago.
In the fall of 1947 Bob and I were married and the following spring left for Stanford University where Bob finished his undergraduate and went on to earn his law degree in 1952, by which time we were expecting the second of what would be our six children. During Bob’s years at Stanford I studied and worked in the field of design. This led to my interest in symbolism, and the study of symbolism awakened my interest in spirituality, a combination that led to an interest in Jungian psychology at about the time Jung’s writings were beginning to appear in English.
It was through the writings of Christian Jungians such as John Sanford and Morton Kelsey that I became interested in the psycho-spiritual approaches to inner healing. Eventually I would connect with the three grand women founders of the San Francisco based Guild For Psychological Studies, all of whom had studied with Jung in Zurich. Together the three–Elizabeth Boynton Howes, Sheila Moon, and Luella Seibald–had established the Four Springs retreat center in Northern California where they conducted seminars based on “The Records of the Life of Jesus of Nazareth” according to a modified Socratic method. I participated in the Records and other related seminars at Four Springs during the 1980s.
In the meantime, Bob was equally involved in pursuing his special interest in music as a means of furthering and deepening meditation. He was also studying shamanism with Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman of the Institute for Shamanic Studies, and with Ira Progoff through his Intensive Journal Workshops. All this time, of course, he was carrying on a busy law practice in Lodi, California, some forty miles commute from Murray Creek. From 1984 until his retirement in 1998 I served as Bob’s legal secretary.
With both of my parents writers, I had been writing off and on for a number of years and had a number of articles on symbolism published in magazines and journals, as well as two books on the use of symbolism in Christian education. In 1996-7 Parts I and II of Return to the Whole were published on the C G Jung Web Page. This was the beginning of web publishing for me as a means of sharing the synthesis of ways to inner healing and wholeness that Bob and I had experienced and been sharing throughout our years at Murray Creek. With our retirement in 1998 I began writing and editing full time, my in progress “opus” being the series titled Return to the Whole, and including the full length book titled Higher Ground. These are offered on www.murraycreek.net and www.clcpress.com in their entireties.
In 1992 I learned that I was eligible to “test my vocation” as an Anglican Franciscan and after an inquiry and formation of some five years I was, in 1997, professed. These are the TSSF initials that follow my name–The Society of Saint Francis–and for which order I have served as a formation counselor. Additionally I am a Benedictine trained spiritual director and have served in this capacity also to whomever is willing to make the narrow, winding trip out Murray Creek Road.
Ann K Elliott, TSSF