I have been taking various seminars and attending a myriad of retreats and trainings for years. Amongst the first was landmark forum's curriculum for living; a 3 separate weekend kick in the ass. Other than that I have done Tony Robbins, Niurka, Kyle Cease, a couple years of hard core meditation circles, authentic relating events, ayahuasca, Kambo and many other unquantifiable systems of learning oriented on growth and transformation. Here are my tips on how to know what to say YES to attending and how to get the most out of it.
- When you start to get an inkling that you would like to put action behind your desire to grow as a person, opportunities will show up. It's really kind of freaky actually. Often times, I will be ruminating, in the privacy of my own thoughts, on how I would like to be better in a certain area and BAMN, someone will mention a workshop they took or I will see an ad for a book written on that subject. Just keep your eyes open for the magic and be willing to look at what shows up.
- Be ready to be confronted with uncomfortable emotions, aka going outside your comfort zone. When the seminar, workshop or experience that you have been calling out for pops into your reality (or your twitter feed), expect that it will be a mixed bag of emotions. You will probably feel both excited and scared and thats a good thing. It means you are at the edge where growth happens!
- Follow your gut. Before you click the "join" button, close your eyes and take a few deep, slow breaths. Ask yourself, "Is this the experience that my soul/heart/mind most needs to grow towards who I want to be?". Take a pause (this is KEY) and WAIT for an answer. Hint, the answer will be a subtle yes or no, not a long list of justifications or rationalizations. The heart whispers and the mind debates. You want to listen for your heart. If the answer is yes. Act IMMEDIATELY. The longer you wait the more cleverly words arguments the mind will be able to construct to keep you "safe". Safety is not conducive to growth. sorry ;)
- Once you are at the event you signed up for (and maybe then hyperventilated for a moment before regaining your composure), enter the room as if you know NOTHING. If you walk in with the mind of "checking things out" or wanting to "see what this is all about", in other words from a braced or skeptical place, your receiving of the experience will be limited. In stead of trying to figure out if you agree or disagree, try the whole thing on with all the naive enthusiasm of a 7 year old in a cult. For real. I know that seems scary. I PROMISE you that you can pick up your rational mind on the other side of the door. This doesn't mean to sign up for every thing, give over your checking account informarion or go against any intuition that will keep your from actual bodily harm (like, if you are in a sweat lodge and your body says, "GET OUT".. then get the f out!). This means to take in what you are hearing and let it bounce around inside you experientially for a bit before deciding if it's "for you" or not. Do every exercise you are asked to (again, don't be crazy about this.. There are some legitimately dumb things people in positions they shouldn't be trusted with, may ask you to do). Jump up and down, shout, look people in the eyes and say odd things.. whatever. PLAY FULL OUT. You might be able to tell the temperature of a pool but looking at a thermometer and THINK you know what that particular temperature would feel and how it would effect you, but you won't REALLY know unless you get all the way in the dang pool!
- Don't drink alcohol or do any other substances before, during or after the event. Eat healthy leading up to, during and after the event. There is something about preparing the body, honoring your internal space and having a healthy vibrancy when you come in that just makes everything go deeper. If you are walkin in with your body having to deal with toxins, you will have less energy to stay with the rigors of inner work. And it is rigorous if you are playing full out!
- Take notes, but be present. Find your own balance with this one for sure. I have found I try to absorb for a bit, but write down key words that will remind me of important thoughts or realizations to go over later.
- And finally, get LOTS of sleep. If not during, then try to give yourself a day of complete rest afterwards. If that is not possible because of work or family, just remind yourself that you may be a little raw and wiped out. Give yourself lots of love and understanding.
Ok, go forth and transform my dear friends! I have loads of resources in this area. Let me know if you want book, retreat, seminar, teacher, coach or shamanic journey recommendations ;)
xo ~ Anah