I am writing on the deck of Bishop’s Lodge outside of Santa Fe. The lodge is nestled in a beautiful valley, surrounded by a national forest. It is rustic and charming. Much of this resort is old adobe, and like much of Santa Fe, there are many pieces of art (mostly sculpture) that grace the grounds.
I’m here assisting Gail Larsen with her ‘Transformational Speaking’ retreat. And when I mean assisting, I mean prepping and putting out the food, washing the dishes, making coffee and ensuring that Gail and the folks who are here doing this penetrating work, have the supplies or whatever they may need. It is not what you would call glamorous. However, it is a rich experience!
I did this same intensive (and intimate) program in January of this year. That is when I concocted the plan to come be a part of this adventure, as an assistant. First of all to stay connected with Gail; but also to keep her work alive for me.
I imagined what it would be like to be here for these four days. Some of what I imagined is coming true. Some of it easier than I imagined… Some of it more perplexing.
One benefit I could not imagine is the role of being an observer. I am in the space and witnessing what is unfolding, but for the most part, it is not my role to participate. I operate the video camera and show the participants how to view their recordings. The dialog/coaching that is happening is between Gail and the participants.
Of course, these are people who are doing deep exploration and self-discovery work. They are turning over old stories, tapping into outdated beliefs, doing the work to become current with their passions and purpose. They are ready to launch themselves into a new way of supporting and influencing their own target audiences. They are immersed is a philosophy/teaching that has firmly anchored a stake in the ground, that the most effective way of connecting with an audience is not through some technique, practice or script; but by tapping into who you are authentically and what personally brings you alive and connects you with your passion. Gail calls it ‘Original Medicine” (from her Shamanic background).
What has stood out for me this week is how each person in the group represents an aspect of me that feels so familiar. Some of theses aspects are still challenging and I am navigating my way with them. Others feel as if they are more a part of my past then my present. However, seeing them played out in the room is a amazing reminder of the spiritual journey I have been on for a long time.
As an observer, I can’t help but wonder why these amazing beings are not seeing their own power, beauty and authority with more ease. Their blocks and go-to behaviors, habits and emotional defense mechanisms seem so apparent, yet they are oftentimes blind to them. Like the dynamic group of women that I went through this program with, there are other behaviors that we are each well aware of…, yet still looking for that new way of responding or relating to them.
I realize that this unique perspective of being an observer is almost as enlightening for me as actually participating in the program. It allows me to be present and yet detached. It allows the thoughts and emotions I experience to stay inside me for awhile and simmer and stew. It slows my process down enough to realize when I have shut down ‘contemplation’ to quickly. It allows me to shift and change perspective in a more spacious and elegant manner. All the while, moving through the day with a ‘haul water, chop wood’ focus.
For many of us, being aware of and building mastery with our internal observer is a big component of how we are becoming more self-aware! The ability to witness ourselves in action and then being at choice for how we will respond in various situations. Will we react from an old perspective or belief that no longer fits us? Or will we come from a new place that is reflective of our updated Self?
I don’t think there is any accident that I have created this rich experience that is completely aligned with one of my current areas of focus! Isn’t it fun how the Universe conspires to support us? How about you? Is you internal observer getting a chance to come out and play?