Friday, October 09, 2009
I attended an Insight reunion/seminar last weekend and reunited with people I haven't seen in twenty years. With some, it was like yesterday. I felt the same kind of connection as I recalled emotions we had shared in various hotel ballrooms. I personally was looking to rekindle some of the magic those early seminars had provided.
I wasn't disappointed. All the clichés about "you can never go home again" are true and then again, they aren't. I went home to a place I'd almost forgotten existed. "Self-help" workshops were incredibly popular in the seventies and eighties, beginning with Est and branching out to Insight, Lifestream, Life Spring, and others. The word cult was bandied about by those who had never participated in those workshops, because whenever something new or different or strange sounding is feared like that, divisions are created.
I remember my first seminar. Not every exercise or process that we did, but the way I felt each night when I went home… like I'd been put through a wringer. They talk about peeling the onion, and I was one onion that didn't especially want to be peeled. Throughout my life, I had carefully built a fortress of walls to protect myself and my image of myself. The walls were coming down and it was terrifying.
This kind of work is hard and perhaps it's not for everyone. But it was one of the best things I ever did. So the weekend reminded me of what it's like to be in a room with an assortment of people who have chosen integrity over the mask.
I have to admit, there was some concern on my part that the folks I knew twenty years ago would not understand (or would challenge) my most recent life choice/direction. And some did. What was evident was that my mask was still off and my "new" self was as authentic as whoever it was they remembered. Way cool.