-Things I've Heard Vic Say


How I Found Morehouse

Marilyn Moohr

When I graduated from Swarthmore College with Honors in 1967, my best friend and I left Pennsylvania to spend the summer working in San Francisco. The plan was to use my Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to go to graduate school at the University of Chicago and become a Political Science professor. It wasn't like I was fired up to pursue that career but I hadn't really thought of anything better. I figured it would at least be intellectually stimulating. My girlfriend's dad got me a summer job doing research for the Federal Reserve Bank and we sublet a flat that was walking distance from the Haight. So there I was, during the Summer of Love, working in the financial district by day and living in the Haight. It didn't take long for me to realize that going to graduate school wasn't going to get me whatever it was I was looking for.

And I had been looking, ever since I was a kid, for "better," not knowing quite what that might be. It seems like I always knew I wanted my life to matter and to be meaningful. I had an inkling that happy might count for something, but wasn't sure how much.

I had been very active in the Civil Rights and peace movements but had concluded that political action had limited effect in bringing about change and I was looking for something truly profound. While I wasn't quite sure what exactly the question was, as soon as I arrived in California I could tell the answer was somewhere in the Bay Area and decided to stay.

I checked out different things from yoga to Gestalt therapy and encounter groups to improvisational theater to dance looking for self-expression, self-realization, and fulfillment. There was fun to be had in the search, but search it continued to be. At the same time I had to support myself, so after having a couple of research jobs, I got my teaching credential in an experimental teacher training program. It was during the SF State student strike so I didn't have to attend classes or do much of anything to succeed at that. I kept looking for something that would truly make sense to me and I started going to see a therapist, Leo Zeff. He had me feel really good about myself and encouraged me to take a Basic Sensuality course at his place in Bolinas from a guy named Vic Baranco and his wife Suzie.

Well, that was a life changer! I felt very seen by Vic and found perfect. I went from thinking I was frigid to having my first undeniable orgasm while doing my Basic Sensuality exercises alone that weekend. Need I say I was impressed? That year I took a couple more courses in Bolinas from Vic, Hexing and Jealousy, Money & Possessions. Vic invited me to live with his family in their home in Lafayette. This was before there was an actual Morehouse. But by then I had a job teaching in a community controlled elementary school in the Fillmore district in SF and I hoped that would give me the thing I was looking for that would add to the world and gratify me... but it didn't. It gave me ulcers.

Then, in 1970 I felt very disillusioned working at the school. I watched the parents sell out one of the teachers to mollify the Board of Education and I couldn't help but think this was the same-old, same-old. I spent that Thanksgiving with my college girlfriend and the man she was living with in Visalia. He had been the project director for the Delano grape pickers' strike and had a lot of liberal and leftwing literature around. I read an article about the women's movement where the author contended that if the movement was to be truly revolutionary, it needed to have revolutionary means or it would result in the same ends as always. I don't know if that is an accurate premise, but it got me thinking. I decided to review my life and see if I had ever encountered anything that was truly revolutionary and had actually made my life, or the world, a better place. After I thoroughly sifted through everything, Vic and his information was the only thing that made the cut.
My life had improved immediately and dramatically from that weekend in Bolinas and subsequent courses took me even higher. I saw other people's lives get rapidly better from contact with the information. From there it was clear to me that I wanted to do as Vic suggested and serve the world unselfishly and make a profit. I moved into the first Morehouse still affectionately called "80," in Oakland. I've been in Morehouse ever since.

Living almost my entire adult life in Morehouse has been a thrilling experience for me with many twists and turns, ups and downs, ecstasies and agonies. No matter which way the wind blows, to my way of thinking, it's a lot more fun to do it with friends.