This is a serie of blog post about a self-development training I attended in the Netherlands in December. The training is called Choice and provided by the Olde Vetche Foundations. The training had 5 days, the blog posts will include Day 0 (travel mostly) and all the training days; as well as a summary of the main highlight to close up the serie.

Yesterday was the first day and probably the shortest we will have (6 hours), but it was quite intense I have to say.

We had free time until around 16h. The morning and first half of the afternoon has been mostly used for eating, going to town, buying little things people need, getting to know each other a bit more and discovering the participants that arrived late at night. We have people from all around Eastern Europe and Europe, as well as someone from Egypt and Japan so it is very enjoyable to discuss things with them, reminds me of the benefit I have working with a lot of different nationalities at Blizzard.

All the persons in this training have issues of their own, like we all do, but are willing to face them, admit them, share them with 20 other strangers and then work on them to hopefully change their life for the best. Some gave up on themselves to a certain degree, but just their presence is very aspiring. It takes courage and will to want to better oneself, so I respect that a lot.

Breakfast was delicious and more healthy than I expected. Brown bread with hummus, turkey jam, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, some tea and finally a bit of honey and margarine on one slice- because honey.

As we had breakfast late, lunch was the same. For me turned out to be hummus again, this one is actually very good and since my partner introduced me to hummus when I met her, I am loving it very much so I guess I will have a lot of it this week (the fridge is full of it! yumi!).

To help us have our own experience, the trainers and the co-trainers are not interacting with us, at least, as little as possible and with a poker face at all times. There are no opportunities for us to bond with them, so we have to bond with other participants. We have to find people with whom we will share the journey.  At times we may feel low or hurt so these people will be our family for a little while. The good kind of family, the one the cares, the one that listens and understands your pain. The family that knows how to hold space for you.

Around 16h, we started registration. It is one of the first times we saw the co-trainers since we arrived. They spent their day in their own rooms and try to avoid us as explained above. Poker face indeed, formal tone and the first thing we signed was the waiver about injuries (mental or physical for this kind of training!).  Then the ground rules for the training and then we pay, got a bottle of water we can put our name on so we can stay hydrated at all time!

This stage started to create a bit of stress for me and some others, we’ve all heard many things about Choice training, being tough but million times worthy experience. We all know people who are recommending it, claiming it changed their life. We heard that the Choice is really about you, the more you invest, the more you get out of it and we knew that before the start- which is of course adding a bit of pressure as we all want to change. But how many of us really want to pay the price for that change? We will see that very soon.

These daily posts will focus on my learning and not on the content of the training that consists of so called processes. Some of you may attend this training one day and revealing the processes will remove a lot of value from the training. The process, itself, doesn’t matter much as everyone gets something different from it as an outcome. I may skip a few of them at time, some of them are small compared to some other that are overwhelming in challenges or emotions.

In the first 6-7 hours of training we went through a quick introduction, as well as the only lecture of the training and a few processes. The lecture was about the layers we build around us, the terms were a bit different than the ones I was familiar with, but everyone likely knows this principle: at the center we have our true being, and around it we build limiting believes as layers of protection, we act on them and become them and so on and so forth.

The first process was very simple and if I describe it even a bit I will give it away.  It taught me one thing: actions are stronger than words. It is sometimes a lot easier to connect to someone else without words.

The second process was challenging to me, it reinforced my issue of being honest with myself, even though I am thinking I am quite good at that. I tend to dig a few layers, but stop before I really hit the core and don’t know how to do that on my own yet. After some “back and forth” and some time thinking while others were taking turns, I wrote on my book two things:

“Life is passing by”

What it meant to me is that I am not fully in control, I work on some aspects, control others but at the end of the day, I just build a comfortable enough life for myself that I don’t need to have big changes. It is very hard for me to make a big jump, I make little steps most of the time. I have to say that that partially changed since I’ve met my Fiancée, through our relationship, our sharings and opening to each other, it forced situations where I needed to jump and I mostly managed, not always at first, but still I did.

When I thought about that sentence “Life is just passing by”,  I wrote a few extra points:

  • Don’t build memories
  • Go without goals
  • Not living in the present moments

This is pretty much a black and white thinking because I’ve certainly done some of these things but I don’t drive them 100%, they “happen”. At least, it is how I think about it myself.

It led to the next point:

“I am not connected to my emotions”

Again black and white thinking here, I am partially connected to them and I have been connecting a lot more to them in 2016, which I am happy about. But I have a huge wall to break. A wall I took nearly 10 years of my life to build slowly, adding a bit everyday.

When it was my turn again, the outcome was:

“I need to stand up for myself”

Nothing I didn’t know, I knew that very well, but when trying to come to that conclusion myself, I couldn’t. I came to that conclusion when something happens at work or in my relationships, clearly showing me that I did not stand for myself and that I need to learn how to do that. The good side is that I started a few months ago and I can do it in certain situations, but this will be a learning journey I need to take to be able to claim it.

The third process was by far the most confronting, it was hard in both roles, the giver and the receiver. I started as a giver for the first two rounds and I had issues to support some of my peers. I couldn’t find what to say, once or twice, I couldn’t say what I wanted as I was stuck in my head. “Is that fair?”, “Isn’t that the same that the previous person shared?”. One other issue I faced, was that when I spoke, it was hard to put a word on how I feel. I ended up using “Sad” or “Confused” but I can’t say how much this is true. Which is a shame as the value I decided to bring to this training is Honesty. It seems that in these situations I am not yet able to be honest.

When it was my turn to receive, I took from it 3 mains things:

  • I am still a kid and a scared one at times
  • I am disconnected to my emotions and body
  • I look fake

“Heal the boy and the man will appear”

These are strong in meaning and not always true, but they are really my bottom line. When things are hard, I will likely act like a kid, at least for a while until I understand it and snap out of it. When I need to listen to my Heart, I struggle more than I succeed. When I need to be genuine and honest, I struggle here too more than I succeed.

Being the receiver was very hard, my legs were shaking, my face was tense, my body posture told people I didn’t know how to stand. I even disrespected my peers once, as the flow of information was hard to handle, I let myself think for a bit and not really listen. I was trying to make sense of all that in my head. Greatly enough, one of my mates was nice enough to point this out to me so I could come back to the room and focus on what people were saying.

Again what this process highlighted is nothing I didn’t know, but it is still quite interesting to witness how easy it is to see deep traits in other people. It also re-enforced again the fact I struggle see my own issues, I need situations or others to remember these shortcomings and that is definitely something I want to change. These are my own issues and patterns and I need to be aware of them more.

 

Lastly over the course of the day, I had a few other interesting realisations. One thing that struck me is that how many people have relationships issues. Men and women as well. One thing that I am truly grateful for in life is that I met someone that stopped playing mind games with me, wearing her masks. Of course it happens at times, but she puts them down quickly, most of the time, in a matter of minutes. I can do the same with her, I can put down and leave behind the masks of: “How to look”; “What to say”; “How to act” and all these things that are tiring and taking unnecessary space. That opened so much space for Love, Care, Connection, Intimacy and just feeling free when we are with each other.

There was a turning point in our relationship, one day we realised that even if we thought we weren’t playing games, we acctually were- a lot. We wanted to stop that and a book helped us tremendously. This book is: Women Who Love Too Much. Don’t let yourself fooled by the title, it is incredibly useful for man too. My partner started with it and I followed up shortly after. I wanted to understand what she went through and it was extremely useful for me too and not just to understand her better.

That will be it for today, I spent the last 1h30 on this piece, I missed a few things that crossed my mind and that went away but I am sure they will be back soon enough so I can add them later. I wish you all a nice day and it is with a heart full of emotions that I close this post, which is something I need to embrace, love and be grateful about!

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