Anne Wilson Schaef 1934-2020

We are sad to announce that Anne passed away at her home in Arkansas on January 19th at the age of 85.  She had been living with ovarian cancer the past 18 months or so and after going through chemo and surgery never recovered.

She worked up until the very end of her life and did not believe in retirement, often asking, “Why would you quit doing something once you’ve gotten really good at it?” At the time of her death she still had several books at publishers and in production, which we are still planning to get out to the public.  Anne called herself a proud hillbilly, loved auctions, intensely loved this beautiful planet and was grateful for the wonderful life she was given.

She was raised in the traditional Cherokee way by her mother and her great grandmother, and carried the principles taught her into her life and her work.  She had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Union Institute in Ohio and an honorary doctorate in Human Letters from Kenyon College in Kenyon, Ohio.  After practicing for many years, she left the field of psychology and psychotherapy in 1984 as she was developing the groundbreaking Living in Process work.

As you may know since you are visiting her web page, Anne was a huge supporter of women, indigenous people and all creation.  She traveled extensively, teaching, speaking and touching many people and making a profound impact on millions of lives with her Living in Process work and sharing her Cherokee upbringing.

A newspaper reporter recently asked me about Anne’s legacy to which I gave the following response:

Anne often commented how there was something wrong with the whole legacy thing. At times when we would hear about a President’s legacy or a great person’s legacy she would say that the focus was on the wrong place with that – like that was about ego and self-centeredness. She was focused on participating in her life and doing what she could to make the planet a better place and not focused on how people saw her after she died (or, for that matter, while she was alive).  And furthermore, in my opinion, it is like if someone is focused on “making their mark” (similar to focusing on their own legacy) they are focused on themselves and their ego.  That just was not what Anne was about.  Focusing on her legacy was something she did not do, she was too busy living her life and contributing to the planet.  

I think this says a lot about her character.  She was the real thing. She was about learning, growing and healing all things on all levels. The healing of the land and waters and the building here at Boulder Hot Springs (the historic hotel/hot springs in Montana she spent 30 years renovating) was as important to her as healing the people – all people. She absolutely set up BHS for the people of Montana and beyond who needed healing. It was never about her – her ego, her benefit, her profit. She taught the LIP network and many people around her about truly participating in things bigger than oneself and was always seeing and teaching a bigger picture than most people saw or taught. 

She always, always, always said that even the Living in Process work was not about her and not dependent on her (or any other one person). She said this, she practiced this and the people who have trained with her clearly got this and have already (for years) been living the LIP work and sharing the LIP work whether she was physically present or not. So the network, while saddened and very, very impacted by her death, remains strong and will carry on. 

Those of us who were around Anne as she slowed down and went into hospice marveled at the pearls of wisdom that continued to come out of her mouth.  A few months before she died she wrote the following email about grief to a friend:

“I learned that grief has its own time and if you don’t give it its time when it wants it, it will extract it from you in a harsher way.  This is why most native groups have a designated year of active grief after someone dies.  Then they have a ceremony and let go and move on.  When you think of it, it makes a lot of sense.  Relax, enjoy your grief, see what you can learn about yourself and your relationships during this period.”

I’d like to say that Anne Wilson Schaef was an American treasure and I think that would be limiting her.  She was known, loved, and deeply respected all over the world.  The Living in Process work she started continues on.  Please check back for more information about her forthcoming books and thank you for visiting this page.

Warmly,

Pete Sidley
Anne’s Manager and longtime companion

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