Host Nancy Kahn is joined by Dr. Barbara Morrill who presents Part II of our series on the life of Etty Hillesum. Etty was a young Dutch Jewish woman of twenty-seven, who found an inner path to liberation, and ‘union with the ground of her being’ in the face of the horror of her times, the Nazi genocide sweeping across Europe, which ultimately engulfed Etty and her family in late 1943. The life of Etty Hillesum moved from chaotic family dysfunction, to the healing of her own inner distress, depression, mood swings and somatic complaints, toward a vast inner life of spaciousness and presence, even with the awareness of the Nazi horrors that awaited European Jewry. Her mode of resistance was journal writing, and contributing to others, and as Denise de Costa says, ‘It was with her pen, rather than with her sword that she battled to save humanity.’ (de Costa, 1998). Dr. Morrill explores aspects of Etty Hillesum’s process of transcending the hate of her time, by “reposing in herself” which may be seen as a model for engaging the seemingly ubiquitous rise of nationalism, neo-facism or neoliberalism throughout much of Europe and the United States in our time, and in a broader sense, the tension that exists between democratic and fascist principles, or open and closed systems in all times.
Barbara Morrill, PhD, is core faculty and former chair of the Integral Counseling Psychology Program at The California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She is a Clinical Psychologist licensed in CA, and has been in private practice in Palo Alto for 28 years. Barbara has spent much of her life exploring women’s social, psychological, and spiritual development, with an emphasis on intergenerational trauma. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled: Quest for Wholeness; The Individuation Process of Seven African American Women. Barbara’s study of Etty Hillesum began in 2000, culminating with a presentation at the 2008 International Transpersonal Congress, New Delhi, India, entitled Being in the Face of Annihilation: Transformation Through Writing as Inquiry in the lives of two Dutch Women During the Holocaust: Etty Hillesum (1914-1943) and Jetteke Frijda (1925-present). Her continued study has been about the Evolution of Consciousness as well as a spiritual practitioner with The Diamond Approach with A.H. Almaas and Karen Johnson for 14 years. She presented on Unfolding Toward Being; Etty Hillesum and the Evolution of Consciousness in January, 2014 at the Second International Congress of the Etty Hillesum Research Center at Ghent University in Belgium. This was published in the on-line Journal, Integral Review in 2015. Barbara presented at the Third International Congress in September, 2018 in Middelburg, Holland: The Contours of These Times; Etty Hillesum as Chronicler of Love Transcending Hate in Her Times, for Our Time, For All Time. This article will be published in a book entitled: The Lasting Significance of Etty Hillesum’s Writings in November 2019 published by the Amsterdam University Press. Her Masters work was done at Boston College and Doctoral work at the former Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now Sofia University.