Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ireland 3

I've realized that in writing about the 2013 workshop in Ireland I cannot write about the participants since we request of them a confidentiality about what happened in the workshop. So, I won't use names or even change names, I'll just say "a participant...."

"A participant" got the workshop on the morning of the second day. You see, this is a workshop that doesn't require 'understanding' anything. In fact, one of the things I've said over and over over the years is "understanding is the booby prize". What you need from the workshop is to 'get' the workshop.

There's a sense in which the workshop is like a joke--you either 'get' it or you don't. And we all have the experience of having tried to explain a joke to someone who didn't 'get' it. There's just no way to explain a joke and have someone 'understand' it. You get a joke, or you don't. You 'understand' biology or physics or algebra. You GET a joke...and the workshop.

(Another thing you either 'get' or don't are the parables of Jesus. There's no 'understanding' involved. I often think of Jesus as a stand up comic: "A shepherd lost a sheep...get it? Or how about this, a woman lost a coin...get it? Or this, a man lost his son....get it about 'lost things'?")

In one of the rare times I was in the front of the room (this workshop being about the Irish leading it, more than anything) a question by one of the participants revealed to me, without a doubt, that he 'got' the workshop two days too soon. That often happens in workshops. Just as some people 'get' the joke first, some 'get' the workshop early. And there are two possible outcomes: either the early 'getter' is impatient and frustrated that he or she is first in on the joke, or they just lean back and let the workshop work for everyone else. Happily, this 'getter' was in the latter group and simply smiled and beamed the whole rest of the way.

"A participant" was, from the beginning, so involved, so connected to the others and the leaders that I began to realize she was 'in love' with the process and the distinctions and centering prayer and the whole thing. And when it came time, after all the moving backwards creating a free space from which to declare who you 'be'. She was one of the first to stand up and declare, "I am Love!" And I knew it all along and it rang so true, so true....

"A participant" was both the humorist and philosopher of the group. God love him. To be both humorist and philosopher is a rare and lovely thing. And he would forward the movement of the workshop from time to time with humor and from time to time with philosophy and always with integrity and "being". Would that we could plant one of those in every workshop. It would just make the leaders' job easier and more enjoyable. What a gift he was.

"A participant" was in the midst of some agenda of his own that had nothing to do with the workshop. The reason that person had come had made sense in his/her mind. But he/she was working on stuff much different from the stuff we were presenting. The way I speak of such people, who show up all the time in workshops, is like this "He/she is here for his/her workshop, not for ours...."

The leaders didn't 'get' that and he/she took us on a rabbit trail for quite a while. But when we met as leaders, the leaders 'got it' and just let him be. (Another mantra of the workshop is this--mostly about the distractions of centering prayer but also about the distractions in the workshop--"if you 'let it be', it will 'let you be'."

I can't tell you how amazing this workshop is. It's called Making a Difference. And if you Google "The Mastery Foundation" you will find lots of stuff about it.

It is one of the primary sources of both my Pride and my Humility that I have been a part of it for over 25 years. I wish I could be a part of it for another 25 years--but then I'd be 91 and in my dotage. But I have a few years left and I want to train people, like the three leaders in Ireland, to keep this work alive.

Really. It's that important.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.