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Scenes From a Young Life
by Laura F. Chisholm[Introduction: This essay was written when the author was a graduate student working on a Master of Public Health degree in health education and health promotion. It was assigned in a course given by Dr. Leslie G. McBride in a course she designed and teaches titled Mindbody Health: Human Potential, at Portland State University. This is a slightly edited version that was published in Exceptional Human Experience, 1997 (Dec), 15(2), 202-207. It is followed by a commentary by the editor, Rhea A. White, published on p. 207 of the same issue.]
EHE AutobiographyExceptional human experiences have helped to define my life by providing me with insights into the realm of the possible. The following descriptions encapsulate some of my most meaningful exceptional experiences; I believe that they, more than any other aspects of my life, have made me who I am. Life experiences—the exceptional and the mundane—relate to each other like images on a tapestry; each is woven from the same threads of individuality and perception, and each is but a facet of the flow and pattern of an individual existence. Although I could have organized them in a number of ways, I have settled here on a format that groups incidents together by the meaning I have ascribed to them. Following are some of the most vivid and meaningful images from the unfinished tapestry that is my life.
Experiences of Altered Time Perception
For as long as I can remember I’ve had occasional experiences of déjà vu. In the middle of conversation or activity of some kind, I feel a very strong sensation that I, and the people around me, have previously experienced the events that are currently unfolding. For a brief period each time, everything everyone says and does has an extraordinary clarity and rightness about it. It isn’t that I know what will be said and done, but that whatever is happening suddenly "clicks" in an indescribable way. The most extraordinary thing about these experiences is their ordinariness—when I look for a pattern regarding thematic material of conversations or activity going on at the time, the only link between these experiences is my feeling that none of the things we were talking about or doing seemed anything other than mundane. Mundane, of course, until I got the feeling that I’d done them before. When I was a child, my father explained these experiences to me rationally. He said that at the moment of déjà vu, the brain creates its own memory of the familiar chain of events simultaneously with the occurrence of the events themselves. Because I deeply respected his superior knowledge and experience, I accepted his explanation for many years. Yet there was always a part of me that remained certain that my experiences were more than a fabrication of memory or a coincidence of brain biochemistry. I have always treasured these moments for their randomness, their intensity, and their mystery. They catch me off guard and sweep me powerfully into the present moment, shifting perception into sharp focus, unifying mind and body with the unfolding of events. Such experiences always remind me that I base most of my understanding of myself and the world upon convenient assumptions; I will never completely know who I am, why I exist, or what this life is really about. A déjà vu jolts me out of my everyday view of existence and flings me face to face with my unknown self. I am always filled with wonder at such times.
Experiences of Connection to the Self
A few years ago I underwent the basic Rolfing series. During the ten-hour-long sessions of deep facial tissue massage and realignment I had several exceptional experiences. The most pervasive was feeling an incredibly strong sense of myself in the areas of my body that were being worked on. The intensity of the sensations of deep tissue work brought me immediately into the present moment; there was no reality other than myself. Yet this self was not my usual experience of being a talking head rather loosely connected to a body that does its every bidding. Instead, I came to experience myself as an intricate and complex being with intelligence and spirit undivided between body, mind, and soul. This is very difficult to describe in words. At other times, the pain of realignment would be so intense that I felt that I was being incinerated everywhere at once. My usual sensation of being a spirit within a body would burn away, leaving only a white pain that I felt in every corner of my being simultaneously. The most intense experience I had with Rolfing occurred during work on my neck and shoulders. Ever since a whiplash injury fifteen years ago, I’ve had intermittent muscular pain in that area. The first hour of work there was very difficult to endure, and I felt within myself a lot of mental and physical resistance to the emotional and physical shifts as they were taking place. I had some emotional releases during that time, but left the session feeling almost worse than when we had started. I felt emotionally and physically vulnerable; I realize now that my reaction was defending deeply engrained old patterns. As the next few days went by, the stiffness in my neck got more and more intense. After about a week, a sharp pain had developed at the base of my neck that made it impossible to move my head more than a few degrees upward or to either side. Finally, I made another appointment in desperation; I could hardly move my head at all! That next session was amazing. Almost as soon as the Rolfer began his work on my neck, I began to cry. There were no big racking sobs, just a steady stream of tears that thoroughly wet my face, the pillow, the table. I felt that something wound up tight inside me for half a lifetime was slowly releasing itself. My tears were not exactly tears of sadness, nor were they tears of joy. They were tears of catharsis, of letting go of old pain and recognizing the brightness of the unexplored possibilities within myself. When I finally arose from the table, life felt profoundly different, as if I were seeing everything for the first time. The world had an amazing freshness about it. Colors were brighter, sounds more focused and coherent. My whole body felt light, and movement was effortless, as if I had just been born anew. The experience of emotional release during body work has helped me realize just how profound the mind-body connection is. During those sessions I felt no separation at all between my consciousness and the body it inhabits. I try to remember that sensation and carry it with me as often as I can.
Meditation: Big Mind
I did my first meditation retreat at a beautiful Zen center in northern Iowa, in the midst of a Labor Day heat wave. The humidity was high, and the temperatures each day were over 100°F. The difficult physical conditions made the simple act of sitting on a meditation cushion an exercise in endurance. The morning’s meditation had been very quiet; the stillness in the hot, airy hall was punctuated only by the mooing of cows in the distance. Gradually, my awareness became intently focused on the rush and swoosh of wind in the leaves of the birch trees outside the screened window. Although I’d been hearing the sound intermittently all morning, as time passed it became etched on my consciousness. I eventually became the wind and the wind became me; there was no sense of separation. I felt my physical body expanding slowly to encompass the room, then expanding further outside the walls of the room and through the air, the trees, everything. My physical self just melted away. But paradoxically it was also still there, because I remember feeling tears of incredible bursting joy streaming down my face. The breeze on my wet face and throat felt cool, and yet there was no separation between breeze, face, tears, walls, trees, anything. For an endless moment, sound, form, and emotion all blended together. Slowly I began to become more aware of my body, and sensations differentiated themselves again into familiar patterns. Yet for days afterward I was often joyful to the point of uncontrollable tears, and I still felt lingering sense of spaciousness and connectedness. I remember the experience as one of the most profound in my life. From that point on I’ve never again doubted the Buddhist teachings regarding the oneness of existence. I know that during my small experience of personal transcendence I brushed against the sleeve of the greatest truth in the universe. It’s been hard since then to not hope for a similar experience every time I sit down on my meditation cushion.
Meditation: Kundalini Energy
Another profound experience during meditation took place during a retreat at a large Hindu ashram on the west coast. The meditation practice, like the Zen practice I’d been used to, involved following the breath, but also incorporated the energetic practice of Trika yoga. Early one morning, while working on this energetic breath practice, I experienced a lasting sensation of wild, transcendent energy. I could feel the energy of the universe blending with the energy coursing through my whole body, pouring out of and through everything and everyone in the room. Again, my usual feeling of separateness from other objects and people broke down; my only sense of self was as part of an enormous wave of energy breaking everywhere at once. I was completely unaware of the presence of time as I lost myself in the wave. It seemed as if I had just begun when the closing bell sounded and the meditation period was over. For several days I continued to feel that sense of overwhelming energy. I needed little sleep, and felt intensely alive. My senses were sharp, and I could see emotions and intentions in people’s faces that I hadn’t noticed before. It was as if the experience of energetic transcendence had opened an intuitive pathway. This new sensory channel took a few weeks to shut down to a point where I was not constantly distracted by it. A few months later I attended a musical event at the same ashram, and came face to face with the swami for the first time. I was standing in the middle of a quiet crowd, awaiting the teacher’s arrival so that the doors to the meditation hall could be opened. He entered the room, a big, powerful man in orange robes. Silence fell over the room. As he approached the doors near where I stood, he looked up deliberately to meet my gaze. He extended his hand in greeting, and as our palms touched I felt the same energetic wave I’d felt earlier shoot up my arm. "It’s good to see you here," he said. I shook his hand and then offered the traditional Namaste in greeting. The insight I have gleaned from these experiences was a fleeting sense of direct connection to the profound energy of the universe. Having felt that deep energy, I try to remember its effect on every aspect of my life, in both thought and action. I also know now what Obi-Wan Kenobi was talking about when he describes "The Force" to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. I have little doubt that such a force really exists, for I have felt it within myself.
Symbolic Dreaming and Personal Potential: The Dream of Teeth
During my adolescence and young adulthood I had recurrent nightmares about my teeth. In the dreams, adult molars would become loose, their roots would dissolve and they would spontaneously fall out. Sometimes in these dreams I would have to pull the loosened teeth out, just as I’d pulled out my baby teeth in real life. These dreams disturbed me because I’ve always placed a lot of importance on keeping my teeth clean and healthy. I’ve gone through a lot of tooth-related trauma, including nine extractions and four years of orthodontia. Understandably, dreams about my teeth falling out were not pleasant experiences. Just prior to the my most memorable tooth dream, I had confronted my partner of three years about a number of problems in our relationship. He’d responded by breaking off our engagement. I felt stunned, hurt, and very lost. But a couple of weeks later, I had a brief, intense, platonic encounter with another man. From the moment we met, Jim and I just "clicked." We shared incredibly stimulating conversations that lasted most of the night every night during the week we worked together. We spent almost every free moment together, either alone or in the company of friends, sharing our wonderful new friendship. It was late May in New England, and the moon was full, the air soft. Although we were physically attracted to each other, we made a pact not to act on it—he was in a long-term relationship with another woman, and I was feeling very vulnerable. I spent the week feeling very energized and exhilarated, even though I’d been emotionally drained from my recent breakup and was sleeping only a few hours each night. A few days after Jim had left for the summer and I’d caught up on some of my sleep, I had a particularly vivid dream. In this dream, I felt that one of my biggest molars was loose, and reached in to pull it out. But when I did, I saw a new tooth underneath, poking strong and white through the gum. I felt an intense sense of rightness then, and knew intuitively that all of the pain I’d been feeling was meant to be. Everything in my previous life had led up to that one action of pulling the old tooth out. When I awoke, I was still moved by a profound sense of rightness that lingered for weeks. It was a sense of transcendence, a vision of the complete perfection of the simultaneous order and chaos of life. The symbol of the tooth represented to me something that had been wrong in my life up until then. I’d been afraid of losing my fiancé, but because of my lack of boundaries I had lost myself in the relationship, bit by agonizing bit. In my nightmares the core of my personal integrity and the tools for feeding my emotional self had been dissolving and falling out. The new tooth underneath symbolized to me that I had begun to find myself again. A strong, previously ignored strength of self was showing through, now that I had removed the dead husk of a fruitless relationship.
Brain Injury and Waking as the Dream-Self
When I was fifteen, I sustained a minor head injury from a skiing accident. Although I don’t clearly remember what happened, I think another skier cut me off and we collided. I must have hit my head on the ice, but it was never clear where the impact occurred because I never had a bruise or bump on my head. My neck muscles were sore in the days following, and I subsequently developed problems with my jaw, so I may have sustained a relatively severe whiplash injury. I must not have been unconscious very long after the impact, because no one seemed to notice that I’d been down on the snow. I remember sensing that I was waking up, but felt that I was waking to a dream; everything had an odd, misty aura about it and my usual logical, analytical self was not present at all. I opened my eyes and first saw an image of very white snow with red blood on it. My nose felt like it was running, and when I wiped it I realized that it was running blood. I remember feeling strangely disconnected from what I felt and saw; I thought how beautiful the redness of the blood was against the white snow. It gave me a spooky feeling on some level, and yet I did not connect with the idea that the blood on the snow was mine. The next image I recall was of changing my boots, sitting in the front seat of the car. I was feeling very foggy. I remember asking my Dad, "What happened?" He answered that we were going toward town to the hospital. I couldn’t understand why we would do that, but in the way of dreams it seemed to me that there must have been a good reason for it, so I didn’t question. My next memory is of lying on a gurney in a white room and of a nurse asking me if I knew my name, who was president, what year it was. I couldn’t say. My dream-self was still in control of what I was doing, and everything that was happening still felt like a dream. Events felt truncated and episodic, but they also seemed symbolically related to each other in a disjointed way. I was in the car, and then with no transition was suddenly in the hospital. I felt that I was living a string of images rather than the familiar linear progression of time. As my ego-consciousness began to return slowly during the next week, I gradually began to "wake up" to reality and out of the dream world, afraid that I had lost my mind and would never be the same again. I knew that I hadn’t been able to tell the nurse my name, or identify the man who brought me in as my father, and that filled me with a sense of dread. The nurse reassured me, telling me that this kind of memory loss was very common with people who had hit their heads, that everything would come back, that I just had to be patient. My memories came back in the reverse order from what I would have expected. When the nurse asked me later what year it was, I remembered that I had taken part in a production of the play "1984" a few months back, and in that way I put together the memory that the current year was 1984. My responses were quite delayed, because my conscious self had to go back into the memory archives and sift around for a while before the relevant information came to light. Similarly, when she asked me who was president, I remember thinking of Gerald Ford first, then of Jimmy Carter, and was almost going to answer "Carter" when I remembered that I disliked Ronald Reagan. Only then did I remember that he was currently in office. My conscious self took a week or so to fully return. I spent a lot of time sleeping during the next few days, and the distinction between sleep, dream state, and consciousness was very unclear. I still have very little memory of the events leading up to the accident and only episodic dream-images to fill in the week following. As I was recovering from the accident, I wanted to be back to my normal mind-state again as soon as possible. I was anxious to have my memories back, and to experience life again with my conscious self intact and fully functional. I didn’t have a concept of how important the experience was going to be for me later, how it would serve to expand and re-shape my sense of self. Although the injury and recovery were a physically and psychologically unpleasant ordeal that I wouldn’t care to repeat, the experience was also very meaningful to me. Experiencing waking life through the lens of my dream self was an amazing and disorienting experience. Time was nonlinear, and everyday things seemed interrelated, rich with symbolic and metaphoric meaning. Being in the mind state of partial memory loss taught me that the conscious self I think of as being so constant and predictable is just as ephemeral as my unconscious dream self had always seemed to be. After having lived as I did with one foot in the dream world for a few days, I give my dreams much more thought and analysis, and realize more fully that they reflect a legitimate and powerful part of myself. I also place great faith in the potential of my dream self, knowing that when my conscious self was injured it took over and helped me to function quite well, although not in a manner that modern science might find acceptably "normal." The experience of memory loss expanded my sense of normal thought and functioning to include other mind states; I understand altered states and moods as an integral part of the complex, multi-faceted person that I am. I also recognize that I will never know what parts of me were lost forever or permanently changed as a result of the accident. I’m sometimes unable to recall common words, and have come to learn that this tendency is characteristic of people who’ve recovered from brain injury. Yet I don’t mourn whatever of myself may have been "lost" through my injury, mainly because I don’t have a firm sense of what that might have been anyway. I’ll probably never really know. And in any case, I feel that the personal insight I gained from the experience was worth the loss of a few memories. Reading about holographic theory has also given me a new perspective on my injury. If the human brain is indeed capable of almost infinite memory storage, I now realize that the memories and functions I have assumed were lost may simply be inaccessible to my conscious self. And as I begin to trust my dream-self more and more, I have opened myself to the attitude that I am more, and not less, for the experience.
Altered Consciousness Through LSD
I had a similar experience of altered consciousness when I was in college. I’d always been curious about hallucinogens, so when my friend Gloria suggested that we drop acid together, I took her up with little hesitation. We’d always been close, but there was a kind of special connection between the two of us that we both felt. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were born on exactly the same day. It was as if the rules I’d previously understood to be governing the universe were all overturned that day. I could see right through the ground into the soil and see rocks, roots, bugs—things I never realized would be there. Faces seemed plastic and much more expressive than ever before, and I felt that I could see through the faces and bodies of my friends into their inner workings. Bizarre things happened; when I was lying on a hill watching the clouds, they suddenly turned into spaghetti and started falling all around me like rain. The most profound experience I had during the trip was listening to an orchestra concert. That night was the end-of-the season concert featuring the winner of the concerto competition; a dear friend that I’d known for years had won. She was to play the middle movement of Bruch’s Violin Concerto #1, one of my favorite movements of my favorite pieces. I’d studied it myself recently and was very excited to hear Betty’s rendition of it. Betty had studied for two years at a conservatory in New York, but had given up a promising solo career for a major in psychology and a return to normal life. Even in my usual mind state it would have been incredibly meaningful to hear her play. But to experience this culmination of her many years of work and heartbreak in such an open, associative state was a truly moving event for me. The music was breathtakingly sweet and hauntingly beautiful. I’d always been a little jealous of her talent, but at that moment any jealousy or negative feelings I’d had melted away into an incredible blend of joy in her moment of glory and awe for her ability. It seemed that I was hearing the voice of God singing. The violinists’ bows in the orchestra traced streamers of music in the air, and I could simultaneously see and hear the music as it was being played. The whole room began to vibrate with the music, and the patterns in the cement on the back of the stage turned into snakes that danced and squiggled along with the music, an inseparable visual representation of the sound I heard. The experience of seeing music was something I’ve never forgotten. It helped me to realize that the distinction I make between my senses is very artificial. I have begun to question some of my most basic assumptions about the so-called laws that govern perception of many kinds. I realize now that the rules I expect the universe to follow are merely constructs of my imagination; because I expect the world to behave in a certain way, my perceptions are altered to fit those expectations, and I experience what I expect I will experience. LSD helped me feel what it is to have those expectations removed.
Experiences of Connection to the Natural World
Prayer/Animism as a Child
Around the time when I was ten years old, I felt a great affinity with the religion of ancient Egypt. As a bored pre-adolescent will tend to do, I spent a great deal of time in the library and in my parents’ extensive book collection. I read about that civilization’s history, culture, and religious practices. The idea of worship really struck a chord in me, and I recall creating a simple outdoor shrine for myself at the base of a beautiful young elm tree. Beneath it I placed a very large and heavy piece of white quartz crystal that my Dad had dug up somewhere—it must have weighed a few pounds. During one summer, I would occasionally go out to pray and meditate at the spot when I was absolutely sure that no one could see me. I would close my eyes and kneel in the grass before the rock and tree. I remember feeling very connected to the universe when I was there, and sometimes I thought I could feel protecting and surrounding energy emanating from the crystal. I never told anyone of these experiences. A year or so later, the tree died from Dutch Elm disease and I remember taking the loss very hard. I mourned the tree when my father had to cut it down. I feel that these experiences foreshadowed the deep connection I feel with the natural world and the outdoors. I feel most at home there, most relaxed and at peace with myself. When I remember the oneness with nature I felt as a child, it helps me to be aware of how cut-off and unnatural most of my adult life is. I spend the vast majority of my time indoors, in the city. Yet because of my profound childhood experiences of connection with the natural world, I know there’s a place deep inside me that is always full of wildness.
A day I spent rock climbing was a transcendent experience. The day we were to climb, we got up early. The heat and humidity of the previous week had broken somewhat, and the morning was cool and clear as we drove up through the Shenandoahs. Toward the end of the day, my turn to climb came. My friend Jim was belaying me; it was wonderful to have someone I trusted implicitly on the other end of the rope. As I took hold of the cool rock, reality shifted. The sun became brighter, the shadows sharper; for the duration of the climb, and for the rest of the day, everything had a clarity to it that I’d never experienced before. The rock under my hands felt almost alive. I felt an intimate connection with the rock, the air, the hawks circling in the valley below us. The melting of the blue hills into the haze on the horizon mirrored my own melting into the scene around me and the people that were in it. For several hours, Jim and I kept anticipating each other’s words and thoughts; I felt a sense of kinship with him that afternoon that I’ve rarely felt before with another human being. It was as if some spiritual umbilicus connected us. The intensity of this experience has faded to a very pleasant memory now, but it still helps me remember that I am connected in that way to everything all the time. I’m just not usually as open to that connection as I was that day.
A few years later, I was lucky enough to experience that sense of profound connectedness again, this time with a dying pilot whale. I was working at a marine education center in the Florida Keys when a small pod of whales beached on a nearby island. The event happened to coincide with a couple of days off, so I went to volunteer. I ended up spending a shift from midnight to 6:00 a.m. in the water with the whales. Three were still alive, but were so weak that they were in danger of drowning in the chest-deep water. Our job was to hold them up in the water so that their blowholes wouldn’t be submerged. At midnight, I got in the water and experts from Sea World showed me how to hook my knee behind the whale’s pectoral fin to keep him afloat most efficiently. I positioned myself as instructed and immediately the whale hooked his fin around my knee and drew me toward himself. I was amazed by how warm he was; I could feel the heat coming off his body through my thin wetsuit. I spent six long hours with him there in the dark, quiet water. Soon after I joined him in the water he began to make small singing sounds, squeaks and croonings that I couldn’t understand at first. But then I began to sing softly back to him. As soon I began to sing he quieted, as if he were comforted by my lullaby. And when I would stop singing, he would respond again softly for a while. We had discovered a common wordless language, and sang back and forth to each other for a few hours. The whale was very responsive to my movements. Whenever I shifted my weight he would move as well, almost as if he were a sleeping lover shifting in my embrace. His skin was smooth, yielding, and warm. I could sense his exhaustion, but also felt an indescribable power and peace emanating from him. I felt that he somehow wanted to reassure me that this time and place of his slow dying were right, and that I should celebrate its rightness and not grieve. I was overwhelmed by the quiet beauty of his slow movement toward death that night. He and the other whales died in the early morning after my shift was over. I feel deeply honored to have shared some of the last moments of the life of such a magnificent creature. At first it struck me as odd that a whale, so at home in the darkness and expanse of the ocean, would choose to die on a beach in the company of human strangers. Yet I wonder now if he and the other whales chose to die in that place because they somehow sensed that we would come to comfort them. Perhaps the sound of the waves soothed them as well. I feel that they also may have come to make meaning of their deaths, to share intimately of themselves in the hope that they could connect with us in some way. Although I’m not sure exactly what it was they meant to say, my simple experience of communion with the whale before its death was one of the great defining moments of my life. I felt that a spirit much larger than the whale or me was flowing that night, and that the sense of peace, power and majesty that I felt in the whale’s presence was something I was meant to feel. Perhaps it was merely a spontaneous expression of the divinity that we two creatures shared. But I feel that the experience was meant for me, and was somehow calculated to touch me deeply and change my life. It did. As a result, I no longer feel a sense of superiority to other creatures simply because I am human. And the opportunity to share the whale’s peaceful, accepting attitude toward its death has helped me feel less fear of my own passage from this life. I only hope that I can hold on to that knowledge and make use of it when the time comes.
Each of the experiences described above represents only a small part of my human experience, yet collectively these incidents represent the most important defining events of my personal biography. Because each has called into question expectations I’d previously held regarding the limits of what was possible, each EHE has a special significance to me. And collectively, they have pushed my perceptions of the possible far beyond what I ever might have imagined could be. Given more time and inspiration, I’m sure I could uncover other experiences to list in a compendium such as this. But for now these are the most salient, the most intensely remembered, the most meaningful to who I am today. I offer them up freely as a window upon my experience of the world.
Commentary on Chisholm’s "Scenes From a Young Life"
This beautifully written autobiographical account of salient EHEs does not require much commentary from me. I simply want to point out that in the customary autobiography the content usually emphasizes external objective events: places, activities, schooling, occupations, travel, successful accomplishments and awards. Important relationships may be described, learning experiences, and participation in known historical events. Emotions associated with the above are also described: love, fear, pain, regret, loss and gain, pride, humor, sadness, boredom, nostalgia for the days that can never come again. Most of those events can be objectively verified and the panoply of subjective experiences described are usually within the normal, not the exceptional, range.
In contrast, we have Laura Chisholm’s account. She describes the most noteworthy defining moments of her life to date, and not a single one could be considered "normal." Some of the occurrences are: rock climbing, attending a concert, and skiing. What made the events described stand out was the glimpse each one provided of the Experiential Paradigm (EP): the vast underlying connectedness that upholds all things. She also put herself in the way of exceptional conditions conducive to exceptional experiences that many people do not engage in: Rolfing, rock climbing requiring belaying, caring for a dying whale, attending a retreat at a Hindu ashram, a Zen retreat, and taking LSD. What is important about this account and Laura Chisholm’s approach to Life is her openness to the exceptional moment and her capacity to seemingly effortlessly penetrate to the core of the meaning of these experiences and not to forget their impact and import, even though the memory of them usually fades. Laura Chisholm is special in that by the time each of the memories may have faded, she had obtained a good glimpse of the Experiential Paradigm which, it appears, forms the backdrop of her life even when the seminal EHE has somewhat faded. It is also obvious that although some of their immediacy has necessarily been lost, she is able to recall them and their import at will. Thus, apparently she has been successful in integrating them into her life and incorporating them into her identity and worldview.
I extend my thanks to Laura Chisholm for letting us publish her glimpses of the EP and the experiences that made it possible for her to see it. I also thank EHEN member Dr. Leslie M. McBride for giving the EHE autobiography assignment to her students at Portland State University, which served as the occasion for Dr. Chisholm’s writing of the essay.
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