Darbella’s Articles — “ME Emerging”

Shifting the Internal Picture — how I Came Alive

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Reflec­tions on my Come Alive Experience

At the begin­ning of this stage of my life jour­ney, I had an intense expe­ri­ence at a work­shop I attend­ed with Wayne. We were asked to do a sim­ple exer­cise. We were to look around the room and sim­ply notice the things we saw around us, then tell our part­ner what we saw. When I lis­tened to Wayne tell me about the room around him, I real­ized that he noticed the peo­ple. As I looked around, I noticed things. I left that work­shop feel­ing des­per­ate­ly alone and want­i­ng to do some­thing about it. Since Jan­u­ary 2000, I have been work­ing on just that. My most recent expe­ri­ence was attend­ing a Come Alive pro­gram offered by PD Sem­i­nars at Haven By the Sea on Gabri­o­la Island. It was a fab­u­lous 6 days where I was able to play, learn and tru­ly “come alive.”

Pri­or to attend­ing the Come Alive, I saw myself as a per­son who chose not to con­nect to peo­ple around me. In fact, I believed I could make myself invis­i­ble with­in a group sit­u­a­tion. I felt very iso­lat­ed and alone ‑even in a group sit­u­a­tion. In the past, being shut down was a com­fort­able place to be. I spent a lot of time there — alone. Although I chose to expe­ri­ence life ful­ly with Wayne — could be open and hon­est with him — could com­mu­ni­cate with him from my heart — could share with him how I felt in my body — could tru­ly be me — I chose to see myself as a per­son unable to share in a sim­i­lar way with oth­er peo­ple. A fear of rejec­tion kept me iso­lat­ed in my own safe, com­fort­able space. I was aware at a cog­ni­tive lev­el that I had begun to change the way that I relat­ed to peo­ple but my inter­nal pic­ture of me remained stuck in the old view of isolation.

The tim­ing for the Come Alive was per­fect. I was ready for a shift. I went to the Come Alive with the intent of mak­ing myself present with oth­er peo­ple. In my jour­nal writ­ing before the pro­gram began, I adopt­ed the theme or goal for the week of “me emerging.”

Just pri­or to the work­shop, I found a native Answer Feath­er in a store in Nanaimo, B.C. I had nev­er heard of one before. The card on the back said to hold a ques­tion in your heart and keep the feath­er with you for a day and your answer will come to you. Then it said to return the feath­er to nature. This sound­ed just per­fect. I held the feath­er close to me with a ques­tion in my heart of why I was so fear­ful of let­ting peo­ple know who I was. The answer was sup­posed to come to me about the time my Come Alive start­ed but halfway through the day I noticed I had lost my feather.

By the end of the Come Alive, I real­ized that there are no answers — there is just life. I did­n’t need the feath­er — I just need­ed to let go of the ques­tion. Let­ting go of the feath­er was my answer. I no longer need to know why.

My intent for the pro­gram was to expe­ri­ence con­nec­tions with peo­ple at some lev­el. I planned to par­tic­i­pate ful­ly and try to keep myself from shut­ting down. I worked hard at not mak­ing judge­ments about the qual­i­ty of the con­nec­tions and not focus­ing on the times when I felt alone. I often took chances and I approached and spoke to peo­ple. I took chances and offered peo­ple my thoughts. I took chances and told peo­ple a lit­tle about myself. My inter­nal pic­ture remained one of me iso­lat­ed rather than me emerging.

As we worked through the com­mu­ni­ca­tion mod­el on the first day I noticed how uncu­ri­ous I was about peo­ple. I guess that keeps me safe. The most mean­ing­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion prac­tice for me was telling a per­son that I pur­pose­ly chose to work with her, but was real­ly scared because my judge­ment was that she would not want to get to know me. After all, she had been to Phase 1 and she knew all about this com­mu­ni­ca­tion stuff and maybe I would not get it right — etc. etc. We had a won­der­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a won­der­ful hug after­wards. We con­tin­ued to con­nect as the week went by and still do by email.

A Come Alive pro­gram offers peo­ple a chance to work on issues in their lives. As peo­ple began to talk about their life issues in the group, words, phras­es and emo­tions hit very close to home. The feel­ings poured freely out of me. I cried and could­n’t stop. I felt very alone, scared and iso­lat­ed — but I am pleased to say — not so iso­lat­ed that I failed to notice the two peo­ple sit­ting close to me reach out to me.

Then there was a visu­al­iza­tion that raised very strong feel­ings of sad­ness and more tears. Dur­ing the music at the end of the visu­al­iza­tion, the ener­gy flow through my body was quite dra­mat­ic. The ener­gy raced up my spine and slammed vio­lent­ly into the back of my neck again and again. I was unable to get the ener­gy to go past the block and cir­cle through my body.

In my com­mu­ni­ca­tions over lunch, I shared my inter­nal pic­ture of myself of being a per­son who does not con­nect with oth­er peo­ple. The reac­tion to that one was great dis­be­lief. I actu­al­ly heard what peo­ple were say­ing and I was amazed. This did not fit with my inter­nal pic­ture of me. By the time I returned after lunch, I was aware that I had made an inter­nal shift in the pic­ture of me. I now saw myself as “me emerg­ing” — a per­son who can con­nect with oth­ers. The ener­gy vis­i­bly flowed in my body. My legs would not stop vibrat­ing. How­ev­er, the block in my throat and jaw remained. I tried des­per­ate­ly to say some­thing but the sound would not come. It stuck in my throat. I was so pleased when one of the lead­ers noticed my legs vibrat­ing and asked what was up. I did notice that once I start­ed, I was eas­i­ly able to explain about my expe­ri­ences and about the block in my throat and jaw. I went into the cen­tre of the cir­cle to do some body­work to help release the block.

It was an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence. I emerged from that expe­ri­ence with a soft­er face and jaw line. I saw peo­ple look at me intent­ly, with car­ing in their eyes. It was won­der­ful to feel so loved by so many peo­ple. I felt lighter and freer. I do believe that the true shift was when I changed my inter­nal pic­ture of how I saw myself. I was see­ing my world with new eyes. The old fil­ters were gone. It was awhile before my feet touched the ground.

On the sec­ond last morn­ing I woke in a pan­ic and felt a wave of sad­ness. I so des­per­ate­ly want­ed to be home. It had been almost a month. I also had a vision of the inevitable time when the good­byes were being said. I cre­at­ed a famil­iar pic­ture in my head of being total­ly iso­lat­ed and alone in a group of peo­ple with every­one say­ing good­bye to every­one else and nobody notic­ing me. The tears start­ed to flow. I quick­ly decid­ed that it did not have to be this way and I want­ed to be with peo­ple rather than alone. I put myself out there again and again with peo­ple as the day pro­gressed keep­ing hold of my new inter­nal pic­ture of being a per­son who does not have to be alone. I expe­ri­enced the ener­gy loop­ing gen­tly through my body dur­ing the music after a visu­al­iza­tion exer­cise. (I had been giv­ing myself grief over not being able to make the “loop­ing” hap­pen. Now it “just happened.”)

In the visu­al­iza­tion, we were tak­en to a room of trea­sures. As I explored this room I noticed with great delight that there were peo­ple in my room. My trea­sures now includ­ed peo­ple. When I viewed the mir­ror that showed the future me — there I was, front and cen­tre — and so many peo­ple were there just behind and very close to me. By sup­per time that day, I was at the same exact place of light­ness, free­dom and joy as I had been after the body­work session.

My good­bye time the next day was filled with many won­der­ful full body con­nect­ed hugs, appre­ci­a­tions, which I tru­ly heard and was able to give, and no sense of lone­li­ness. In fact, one resort guest I met and chat­ted with a cou­ple of times ear­li­er in the week searched for me on the last day to have a hug and say goodbye.

On the last morn­ing, I lis­tened to anoth­er per­son say that he real­ized that he had to con­tin­ue to make him­self stay present when he went home. At that point, I real­ized and acknowl­edged to the group with joy that when I heard that I real­ized that I had come to the place where I need­ed to keep myself present rather than make myself present. To do that I sim­ply had to breathe and be aware of the sen­sa­tions in my body. I learned that if I chose to keep myself present in the group, I sim­ply have to shift my body posi­tion to move for­ward — lean­ing into the group rather than back from the group. It was as sim­ple as tak­ing a breath.

My learn­ing from the Come Alive — shift­ing the inter­nal pic­ture allows us to hear dif­fer­ent mes­sages from the world around us. We have fil­ters through which we choose to look at our world. We pay atten­tion to the exter­nal mes­sages that we are ready to hear — the ones that fit with the inter­nal pic­ture we have of our­selves. We miss or dis­miss the ones that con­tra­dict our inter­nal pic­ture. When my inter­nal pic­ture was one of an iso­lat­ed per­son, I noticed all the times I felt alone, could­n’t say the things I want­ed to or could­n’t feel the ener­gy flow­ing in a gen­tle loop through my body. When I shift­ed my inter­nal pic­ture of me to one where I did con­nect with oth­er peo­ple, the mes­sages I heard shift­ed. I heard the appre­ci­a­tions from oth­er peo­ple. I felt our ener­gies con­nect when we hugged. I felt the ener­gy move gen­tly through my body. I also shift­ed the inter­nal pic­ture about being able to dance — but that’s anoth­er story.

I returned home to find a week­ly horo­scope in an email mes­sage. “You should be feel­ing a lit­tle more sure-foot­ed, both per­son­al­ly as well as pro­fes­sion­al­ly right now.” And I do. I’m walk­ing with the con­fi­dence of know­ing that I am not tru­ly alone. I want oth­ers to know more of me and I want to know more of them. That is part of my new inter­nal view of me — ME emerg­ing.

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