Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend & Workshop Update

“When we care, we feel the bite of both success and failure deep in our bones.” Sam M. Intrator & Megan Scribner

This past weekend was a wild one. My birthday was on Friday and I must say it was an absolutely glorious day. The weather was perfectly stunning and everything fell into place with little surprises along the way.

Saturday was the “dress rehearsal” for my newly created workshop/day retreat. As you may know, I have been so excited I could hardly stand it and have been creating with wild abandon and praying for the women who would participate, as well as myself. Little did I know how participatory I would be.

No matter how many times I do facilitation, I always seem to forget how impacted I will personally be. I mean, I KNOW I will be impacted and still, some little part of me puts it out of my mind. I think it's a safety valve of my own internal making since the impact of which I speak often comes in the form of shadow work - those little things that hide in the shadows – both the sides of us we wish would come to the surface more often and also those pesky ones we would like to keep their opinions to themselves. This time, the painful shadows reared their ugly heads telling me: "I am not good enough – never good enough," etc. etc.

It has taken me almost 48 hours to come to the conclusion that the “dress rehearsal” was a huge success. It went just as it should with areas of perfection, wonder and grace coupled with clunky spots that are rough around the edges and need fine-tuning. When things were clicking, I could totally feel it, and when the timing was off or the participants seemed less engaged, I was aware of that too. The evaluations were quite reflective of my own experience, so I have to wonder why I felt so naked and exposed when everything wasn’t absolutely “perfect.” I went in saying to myself, “It will not be helpful if they don’t offer good feedback.” I wanted honest and realistic input. I want to grow. I want to improve. That’s why I offered a “rehearsal” in the first place….AND that’s where the beginning quote hit me hard with realization when I read it last night.

It was NOT just a rehearsal to me. The women were real and their experience mattered to me as much as I hope it mattered to them. I CARE about what I do and in large part what I DO is who I AM. Not in the “I am defined by my work” kind of way, but in the way that says, “my work is my PASSION and my passion is ME.” So, I feel both perceived success and failure deeply.

It all rolls around in there together and gets a little messy, so yesterday I let myself feel what I needed to feel. I couldn’t muster up the words to say what I knew others wanted to hear (i.e. "It was great!!") I did a lot of writing to process and as I was sorting through my supplies, images began to stand out to me to create my own collage. The end result speaks to me of intertwined shadow and light, the balance of caring for myself while caring for others, the nakedness of putting myself out there and a few dozen other things ☺. (I would have posted it here, but my scanner decided to go on strike.)

Over time, I soaked up the places of the workshop that need refinement. I slept. I read. I pouted. And today, I woke up and re-read the evaluations which expressed, in addition to the places for improvement, many thank yous and comments like this:

The experience was
“playful…restful…personally challenging.”
“enjoyable and special to be with friends and explore who I am in a creative way.”
“I had SO much fun with me today ☺ ☺ ☺”
“What a gift to the world of yourself!”

And so I smile and consider the process that has run its course in the last 48 hours: exhaustion and excitement, pouting and playfulness, rejoicing and refinement, creativity and criticism. I have paid attention to my own emotions, and realize I am probably right where I need to be. I was an active participant in my own workshop.

It was definitely a learning experience filled with beautiful moments, smiling faces, soaring hearts and places of imperfection. Oh, and IT WAS GREAT!!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congradulations of your workshop!! When and where do I sign up!!! Love, Pamela

Kate Iredale said...

Congratulations Lucy! As I read your words I could feel so clearly the excitement and apprehension of the day...I felt like I was there with you helping to facilitate the workshop and being nervous along with you! Thanks for sharing this special moment in your life.

And yes, i would love to come to one of your workshops too...maybe one that you and Christine do together!

lucy said...

thanks, pamela and kate. the "official" one is october 3 here in the great pacific northwest. head on over. i'd love to have you!!!

Kel said...

you have so perfectly described the tears and laughs, highs and lows, that come when creating an experiential space for others

if you were impacted yourself, that means you were on the money :)

kigen said...

"I wanted honest and realistic input. I want to grow. I want to improve. That’s why I offered a 'rehearsal' in the first place."
---
In Zen meditation workshops, the leader will sometimes clap loudly, and say "Good, good," when one has done something well. As a participant I always liked that, I think because even though one is being praised (which would make me feel naked), the sharp claps kept us present, very real, and on an even keel.

lucy said...

kel - your words were a breath of fresh air this morning as i know you have been in this space of creating for others. thank you.

kigen - "the sharp claps keep us present, very real. and on an even keel." i love those words. not sure if we are on the same page, but some of the feedback felt like sharp claps. i need them and they do help me be present to the places where i can grow.

reminds me of the old saying "be careful what you wish for." and also how i know that it is out of the challenging places where more growth seems to come. oh what a journey!

Barbara said...

I am exhausted just reading your post, lucy. You are a tour de force! And a gift to all who attend one of your workshops!

lucy said...

thanks, barbara. i wish you lived a little closer, so you could come over and play!

Tess said...

You are indeed a tour de force! A wonderful one.

I love this idea of having a rehearsal, and also your passionate caring, rehearsal or no rehearsal.

Resonate with what you said: "I always seem to forget how impacted I will personally be." I've sometimes tried to hold back in those situations and it is never as rich.

You are so fabulous my dear, and we're lucky to have you in the world!

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Good reflection - I bet on one hand you knew immediately where spots needed to be "sanded" and probably didn't particularly care or maybe were a little disappointed to know that the participants found the same rough edge - on the other hand, so wise and brave for you to present these women with the opportunity to make this workshop even better for your participants in the future. A good facilitator can take the truly constructive suggestions, pout(?) is that the word, and then absolutely go for it the next time! Oh, and there will be lots of next times!!!! You're on your way:)

xoxoxo

kigen said...

Lucy, we're very much on the same page. Your openness to what you saw as "sharp claps" in the appraisals I think demonstrates your love for your craft and your professionalism.

lucy said...

tess--thank you for the added affirmation... i can always tell when someone else has been in my shoes :-)

SS--yep, i knew when the bumps happened, but it's still a little wobbly to have them noticed by others, 'cuz you know i just want everything perfect and in control... sound familiar?

kigen et al--thank you. i do want things to just be better and better for myself, but especially for those i facilitate. looking for that win-win situation!

Rebecca Johnson said...

Lucy, I read this poem this morning at Macrina Weiderkehr's site. It made me immediately think about your post yesterday.
“To find your creativity
You have to leave the city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
You can’t get there by bus--only by hard work, risk
and by not knowing what you’re doing
or where you’re going.
What you discover will be wonderful.
What you discover will be yourself.
-adapted from Alan Aida

lucy said...

rebecca--this poem is absolutely delicious and perfect. (sometimes the discovery of ourselves is not totally comfortable, but definitely worth the risk!) thank you SO much for sharing these words with me.

i popped over to your website and am so delighted you have started that venture. i look forward to following along!