With just over sixty people in attendance, the newly built and beautifully designed space was filled to capacity with little room to move; a great turn out for what is only the beginning of what is sure to be a compelling series. Jean talked the audience through the story of an everyday acorn, one which falls from a tree, that has everything neatly contained inside of it to grow and flourish into its full being. Add a little soil, rain, sun and a few other weather conditions and the rest is guaranteed. But Jean asked the poignant question - what if we’re the same as human beings? What if we’re born having everything inside of us that is needed for us to grow into amazing and natural human’s beings but that life just somehow seems to interfere with this? And if this is so, what are these interferences and how can we work with or around with them to truly grow?
With this kick starting the workshop, Jean and the crowd unpacked and discussed the various ‘weather conditions’ that life throws us that are anything but perfect, often resulting in us growing in some strange ways with some strange behaviours, leaving us not only feeling less than our full selves, but also feeling that there has to be more. The conditions unpacked by the crowd included things like family and cultural expectations, dogmas from differing institutions as well as pressures from the education system, all asking us to perform and act in ways that may or may not be natural to who are. Presenting in a way that was equally open, playful and hilarious, Jean displayed her wit, sharing stories from her own life (including her marriage –with her husband in the audience) that made the room laugh heartily as they came to see themselves in the behaviour, making the day not only educational and inspirational, but also enjoyable.
Handing it over to the group, Jean asked the crowd to form small clusters of four and discuss the topic - how do we medicate the tensions of life? And together we developed quite a list - food, drama, busyness, entertainment, over exercising, sex and alcohol, the list went on with these just the beginning of an alarming but not surprising list of behaviours and substances that we turn to help us mitigate the tensions we feel from not living ourselves in full. And in a room of over sixty participants, predominately all strangers, it was beautiful to see the commitment and honesty in the sharing’s, with each group member supporting one another as we came to understand that this was not just something we individually were living with, but was a human condition we were all dealing with.
Finishing on a reassuring note, Jean reminded us of the power of living in connection with ourselves and the importance of incorporating self-love into our everyday routine, supporting ourselves as we begin to face the things that might frighten or challenge us, proving to ourselves that we are much bigger than these. And with a standing ovation at the end, it was clear that participants had been touched by the presentation and felt the power that living in connection can bring.
The event felt like the ultimate therapy session, except that it was accessible, real and down to earth, where you walked away not only feeling connected to the therapist, but a whole room full of people, validated that you’re not alone and that we’re all in this together. And as an added bonus, it cost less than a tenth of a therapy session, let alone a three hours on, so it’s safe to say, the day was incredible value, in more ways the one. Observing the many who lingered around at the end to discuss and talk about the day, it was clear everyone enjoyed themselves and were eager for the next one.
Thankfully there are two more sessions to look forward to, Living in Connection to Others on Sunday 9th July and Connection with Life on Sunday 8th October, so if you missed out, there are plenty more opportunities.
This is a grand beginning to what is sure to be an incredible series. To find out more, head to our events page for all the details.