Hear me read this post.
Recently I attended a personal development workshop called The Wall, taught by Carol Peringer of Excellence Seminars and eight supremely helpful volunteer assistants. For the eighteen people who attended, the workshop transformed initial hesitation into a powerful and moving exploration of purpose, relationships and inner space. I came away deeply satisfied with the experience and put my learnings to use immediately — and just as immediately saw positive outcomes from that joyful and intentional energy.
More from my reactions than anything formal in the agenda, The Wall taught me again how easy it is for me to project onto others all kinds of stuff that doesn’t belong to them, including such things as placing negative intentions on another person when he/she gives me feedback. The Wall gave me a chance to examine the process by which I literally put someone else’s face on a stranger (such as my father’s face or my brother’s) and loosen the grip of my more or less hair-trigger reactions when there are power-differences in my immediate environment. I noticed how I’ve learned to quickly suppress real feelings in order to deal pragmatically with the moments that come and go in any meeting where tensions abound. I found I was turning stuff around in ways that hurt me without even knowing I was doing it. That was my Wall. Other people had other issues to attend to. But mine was like the “Gravity” that John Mayer sings about:
Is working against me
Wants to bring me down
And after a few days I was very much in tune with his vulnerable prayer at the end of the song to “Just keep me where the light is.”
Sometimes it surely seems true that we live and work in environments that do not support the heart. And yet, The Wall also surely made me wonder how much I bring to that equation. I do not wish to be naive. And yet I also do not wish to bring the instincts wrought from hurts of the past. And to what degree do I bring that unconscious programming, racing ahead of myself in my relationships and situations to warn me without any particular foundation of the bad things that might happen? Anyone who leads — anyone — cannot afford projection, cannot afford to assume. There has to be clarity, light on the water, light on the branches and the river-worn stone that knows so much better than any of us what it means to endure, and more: to live with vibrancy and passion at every single beautiful moment.