I’ve just returned from an intensive weekend program at Easton Mountain called Authentic Eros, facilitated by Kai Ehrhardt and Don Shewey. I had heard great things about this program and knew that it would force me to look at myself more closely to see how I was being in my interactions with other men.
I came onto this workshop with the intention of being present all the time. Like many others on this high speed world of ours, I tend to always be thinking about many more things than what I’m doing at the moment. While my meditation practice has helped me be more centered, it’s much harder for me when I’m out in the “real world” and have more inputs.
We also did a lot of exercises on saying what you want and negotiating when that doesn’t align with others wants. This is a big one for me. As someone in the helping profession, I want to help others, many times to the detriment of my own needs. It’s and ongoing learning process, and this took me one more step.
Some of my key learnings were:
- I have a difficult time doing more than one thing at a time – I know this is why I like playing the hammered dulcimer (two hands doing similar movements) better than playing the guitar (two hands doing different movements). My mind just doesn’t function well in that situation. This also got me to recognize my coping pattern of trying to build systems where things are automatically bunched together. That way, my mind thinks it’s all one action.
- When I’m present in my body and all the voices in my head have been quieted, I can feel the rhythm of my body – We did a lot of meditative type activities (thanks Kai!) and one that really worked for me was when I was invited to take an inhalation and have the back of my pelvis go down. In all the breathing and yoga work I’ve done, I’ve always had the front of my pelvis go down. It probably just came at the right time, because it felt like my whole trunk relaxed. I then was feeling a pulse of my body like when I’m laying on the acupuncturist’s table. This revelation felt like finally finding your balance when learning to ride a bicycle. Now at least I know what it feels like and I can shoot for getting that feeling again.
- I tend to go out in the world with armor on – I’m finally accepting something that I’ve denied for a long time: people find me attractive. This may seem a silly thing to many of you, but it’s been something that has been difficult for me. I’m realizing that I’m in such need of control, that I get scared if men approach me and I’m not interested. I sort of freeze up and armor myself against everyone, or at least the shields cone up when I sense “danger”. More practice needed in claiming my own power to get what I want in the world, and to gracefully decline what I doesn’t serve me.
Any similar experiences? If you were at the retreat, please feel free to leave your own comments.