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Monday, June 13, 2016

Mini Workshops Save My Life

Mini workshops save my life.

Diana and I are going through very difficult times.  Family members have been spitting hateful venom, attacking us since Diana’s father died over a year ago.  Our darling Ava has moved out. Then on Saturday I had a terrible morning that involved a car crash and some very painful strife with someone I love.  With everything weighing on me, I broke down in tears.

A half hour later I was to drive to the city to lead a Mini workshop.  A voice in my head said, “If you call and cancel, people will understand.”  The idea of retreating to my bedroom was seductive.  But I realized that putting myself in the room of love for two hours was where I’d rather be to contrast the hatred and judgement we’re receiving daily, compounded by the present emergency.

The workshop is about being intimate, and how could I be, sitting with this lump of pain in my heart?  When people ask me, “How are you?” I often don’t answer, because “Fine” is not an answer for me and if I express my pain they’ll usually want to hear more, which is not good for me.  Or they’ll look upon me with pity, or need to suggest fixes for the situation, or any number of responses that don’t serve me. 

But to be authentic this afternoon I knew I needed to express the pain in my heart.  So I decided I would also tell people I didn’t want to be fixed and didn’t need them to hear the story.  Then I remembered we’re taught in HAI simply to ask, “Is there anything you need?”  So I decided to share that little tool with the group, and let them now I needed hugs, caring and love… and that’s exactly what I got.

A HAI Mini workshop is a two-hour blossoming of compassion among people, many of whom have never met before.  We create a room of love where people can let go of issues, guilt and judgement, and just notice who they are as human beings.  The workshop ends with a very touching exercise where folks stroke each other’s face and share the connection of being human without agenda, where the event simply equals the event, and all there is is love. 
As I led the exercise, surrounded by that compassion and intimacy, it was as if warm waves of love were washing over the icy pain in my heart, melting it away.  I was left with a sadness that the folks who strike out in fear and hatred don’t get connected to the love I do.  And I felt gratitude to HAI for offering the opportunity to do the work I do to witness the beauty of people’s humanity.

Do HAI Mini workshops save my life?  Yes that’s an exaggeration.  But it is certainly one of the many ways I hold myself in love in this world.