Shadow Work® Seminars, Incorporated

David Grove, 1950-2008

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A Tribute by John Morrell

What do you want to have happen here?

I invite you to click this link and take a couple of minutes to read about David Grove, an often unacknowledged contributor to Shadow Work® and the language it uses.

Grove died suddenly on January 28, 2008, aged 57, of a heart attack. The linked page is a beautiful tribute to his life and work, including his eulogy.

What do you want to have happen here?

The question "What do you want to have happen here?" — hewn from Grove's work and cemented into Shadow Work® as the foundation sentence in any Shadow Work® process — has the power to set in motion a self-guided healing process capable of changing rock-solid belief systems into flowing avenues of change.

It was Grove's brilliant stroke to substitute the words "have happen" for "do" and thus to allow a participant to choose a new way of being rather than a change in behavior.

I am deeply (and from afar) indebted to one man's attempts to find a way into the heart throught the twisted and crippled systems that hold us back from natural happiness.

Metaphor language

Cliff Barry maintains that, as a facilitator, you are the words you use in a process. Your words are "what you're selling." David Grove provided many of those words.

Grovian metaphor work, as Grove's work is often known, uses the power of word structures and their relationship to the space and time a participant is in to allow a non-invasive, self-guiding healing to emerge. Healing that permits the participant's model of the world to emerge and to remain free from imposed ideas or imagery on the part of the facilitator. Healing that is free from shame and re-abuse.

"And when that sensation is in your chest, what's it like?"

"And when it's like a ball of black fire in your chest, how old might you be?" . . .

"And what would a ball of black fire want to have happen to Two?"

"And what would Two like to have happen to a ball of black fire?"

"Would Two like the ball of black fire to be out?"

Grove's work, in figuring out the language to help someone heal with what is going on in their heart, borders on genius. His metaphorical language — a succession of gentle phrases and questions tied together with "and" and spoken softly and slowly as if to a hurt young child — is the guiding rope the facilitator follows to walk safely through the uncharted labyrinthal maze of a wounded psyche.

I've witnessed this metaphorical work countless times on the carpet when talking to someone in the most delicate and fragile spaces they could ever be in. And I have seen the radical changes it provides. I have a lot to thank David Grove for.


"And in the end ... the love you take, is equal to the love you make." — The Beatles

How many people David Grove's work has helped is and will probably remain a mystery. But personally the words spoken to me in the depths of resurfaced childhood pain were the first words that gave me permission to feel the significant depth of that pain in a safe way and move beyond it. The first words to acknowledge that pain at a level where I could feel the shame of exposure while knowing I was safe enough to go on — because my heart knew it was not being cheated.


John Morrell has been involved in Shadow Work® since 1996 and is a Certified Shadow Work® Group Facilitator and Coach. He is a founding member of the ManKind Project (MKP) community in Germany, and a professional musician, hobby astronomer and Dad.

Newsletter Editor's note: David Grove was born in New Zealand of European and Maori ancestry. He died while in the United States, and his body was returned to New Zealand for burial. His coaching model, called Clean Language, is unrelated to the Clean Talk used in Shadow Work® which was developed by Cliff Barry in the early 1990s.

This article originally appeared in our free email newsletter in July 2008. To subscribe, visit our subscription page.

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