In Faculty Voices, Featured, News & Announcements

A Letter of Gratitude from Stephen Aizenstat

Dear Dianne and the Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association,

Last night you came together and offered me the gift of my life.  Grace, Grit, and Gratitude, the Gala honoring my founding and service to Pacifica was a treasure that is more precious than rubies and gold. With my family and friends, colleagues and community present you shaped an event, whose remembrance will live inside of me for the rest of my life. I do not have words to tell you how deeply felt what you offered means to both me and to the soul body that is Pacifica.  Simply, and so very deeply, I share with you my love and gratitude.

The event was so exquisitely organized and mindfully planned. From being held at my favorite venue the Pavilion on the grounds of the spectacular Santa Barbara Zoo overlooking the ocean, to the table settings, the guest list (including many elected representatives, past and present), to the elegant live music (jazz), to the intricately orchestrated program, what came through was care and heart. Dianne, your vision, skill, and presence imbued each element of the gathering with Grace, Grit, Gratitude, and love.

As Charles and Olivia offered so beautifully, what is true is that I LOVE the Alumni Association. I feel, no, I know that the Pacifica vision/mission is realized through the extraordinary work of our Alumni.  This morning, in my keynote lecture at the Re-opening conference, I said that to envision the work of Depth Psychology into the 21st century is to sustain communities of praxis. Meeting together regularly to share our work creates both deep belonging and courage. Our Alumni Association is the vision and the community to realize our dreams of extending our contributions in the world.

To sustain ourselves we need high play and humor. Last night, a roast was combined with a tribute. I know of no higher honor than to be appreciated for my life’s work through such a confluence.  One of my kin was a well-known comedian with an edge. Uncle Lenny was smiling last night, as was I. Then, to hear my daughter Alia find love in her roast, well, you know, as a father, I had tears streaming from my eyes.

Thank-you Dianne, Thank-you PGIAA.  You shared with me more than what memories are made of. You offered me an eternal fountain of heart-felt love.

In deep gratitude,


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