Marc and I just got back from our third round of Be Activated with Douglas Heel in Columbus, OH. And as it turns out, third times the charm. Well, not exactly, each time has been exactly what I have needed at the time – but I feel this past weekend I grew a lot and received so many gifts. Cue “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”:
Narrator: And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of*ten Grinches, plus two!
To begin each 4 day session (Level 1 and Level 2) we go around the room and introduce ourselves and say why we are here. And, as always happens, I stated my intent only to have Douglas turn my intent on its head and INSTANTLY re-state what my real intent was. How he does these things, I don’t know, but he reframed my intent into what I really needed to face and deal with. See, Douglas Heel knows a thing or two and even though he teaches tons of people each year, and I had not expectation that he would remember anything about the last two times we learned from him, he did.
I will not share my intent here. It turned out to be deeply personal and only something I could share in the safe space we created…you know that safe space with 30 other individuals that I had just met.
As a bonus to the weekend, our friend JL Holdsworth was the host so for the second time, we got to do this work with him and that was a blessing.
This was the first time Douglas had been back to teach in the states for 2 and half years. The last time we learned from him he was heading to a self-imposed time of rest and reflection. We were not sure he would ever come back to the states. Being at JL’s place also meant that most of the people in attendance had either had Be Activated training or had RPR (Reflexive Performance Reset) training. So pretty much everyone was starting out a tiny bit ahead of the game. That led to us getting a very, very, VERY philosophical Douglas Heel, one that didn’t focus as much on technique as he did on teaching through stories. This different perspective made so many things come into focus for me on how this awesome system works.
There is no “here’s the system in a nutshell” way to explain what we learned. All I can say is that if you have a chance to go and learn from Douglas then you can not miss that opportunity. And if you live in or around Columbia, SC and you are NOT at the RPR clinic we are bringing to town on August 17th and 18th then you will miss out. Basically, be there or be square. Actually, be there or be in pain and let your performance suffer, might be a little bit more of a ‘nail on the head’ way to frame it.
I am not going to go through what we learned. If you want details then refer to Marc’s article after our first Be Activated session in 2015: https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/found-some-of-what-i-was-looking-for-and-the-gift/
I am going to tell you a little story. It is PART of what I worked through. It is PART of my greater story. It IS a story about how to rid yourself of a lot of toxins, feel like utter shit while you do it and come out clean on the other end.
At some point on Day 1 my brain kept going to a situation that had happened a few weeks earlier. My girl squat got together for a girls night. We had not gotten together like this for over a year because one of our squad had moved to the other side of the world (California) and we missed her. So, this night, we brought the old crew together and added 2 new chiquitas to the mix. We met at a local fancy restaurant – 7 of us – and proceeded to enjoy our night together. I stated my desire to drink not one but perhaps, if the night went well, 2 proseccos. I am NOT a big drinker and 2 proseccos usually makes me silly and I don’t like that loss of control feeling. (Aside: remember the prosecco – it is pivotal to this story.) The night was fine, we had a good time. I engaged with our ADORABLE waiter and in the end made him take a shot of gin (on me) and show me pictures of his daughter. This was a highlight, I love meeting people, getting their stories and making connections. But at some point, I just got a weird feeling. I am not sure what that second prosecco did, maybe it tore down a wall that I had put up, but whatever it did for the entire night – though I had fun – I did not feel safe. It haunted me afterwards. How could I spend a lovely night with friends only to come out the other end feeling lonely and un-safe. None of it made sense so I packed it away in my brain and moved on.
And then we went to Be Activated, spent time with Douglas, and had some pretty big epiphanies and took a ride on the scariest of emotional roller coasters. Again, I am not going to delve into the what or why of that roller coaster, you are just going to have to trust me that it was more terrifying than that big green Hulk roller coaster at Universal Studios and trust that I survived.
On Monday night, after our third day, we were invited to dinner with just JL, Douglas and our other friend Jeff. Just the five of us at a lovely steak house in downtown Dublin, OH. The night before we had been to dinner with 5 other participants from the weekend and had a great time getting to know them and hanging out. Being with those men (again I was the only female) was wonderful, because they were all wonderful. This night, the night at the steak house was magical. Truly, I have not had that much fun since, well since JL came down to Columbia and we all hung out and before that since our friend Murph came down to Columbia and we hung out. And on this magical night I had *gasp* 5 glasses of Prosecco. If 2 glasses was my limit before 5 glasses was pushing the envelope. And guess what? My walls came crashing down around me, I had very little desire to reign myself in, to “not say the stupid thing” or to even worry that I would embarrass myself or say the wrong thing. I KNEW ALL NIGHT THAT I WAS SAFE. We talked about EVERYTHING – fun things, hard things, naughty things and probably things I can’t remember. I was given SO MANY GIFTS from these lovely friends that if I wrote them down it would take pages. I hope I gave as many gifts as I received, not sure if that is possible, but I hope it is true.
What was the difference? One night out with a group of people I love and I come away feeling emotionally unsafe and one night out with another group of people that I love and I come away feeling like a completely new and more resilient person. The difference? Well, we had all just had 3 days of activations, our filters were down, we had no agendas. None of us were in our heads, we were all just present in the moment. And. It. Was. Awesome.
Could there be a downside? Yep, for all good there must be pain and after 5 glasses of prosecco the next morning I was in for a lot of pain. If you have been hungover you know what I am talking about. I had not been hungover for a very long time. We got in late, didn’t get a lot of sleep and when I woke up the vomiting began. It was an epic amount of vomiting, not just that one time and I feel better hangover vomiting it was multiple times with my stomach revolting so much that it physically hurt. I made it to class, but couldn’t stay more than 20 minutes or so before I was back to the toilet. I went on like this until around 1 pm when I called it a day and went and laid in the car, windows down, no phone, no music, no nothing except my thoughts and just assimilated all that I had learned. At some point in the morning the vomiting, chills, sweating, loss of color and general crappiness began to feel less like 5 proseccos worth of fun, and more like a gigantic purge – not a prosecco purge, but a big f*cking emotional purge. My body was physically pushing out all the old thoughts and ways so that my container could have space for all of the new I had found.
Believe it or not, but I left so much of my old inner shit in the toilet at the high school where we met (so sorry for the flag girl who was there for practice and who had to do her business in a stall next to an old lady puking her guts out). There is nothing to do now but continue to activate and live into the new me.
So here it is. My manifesto. My new reason for being:
I am a WEIRDO. But I am the best kind of weirdo, because I want to f*ck shit up and make this world better. I WILL NOT let you make me feel less than because you are unable to meet me where I am. I will LOVE you, but I will no longer compromise for you. You will hear me, because I have found my voice.