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.

There recap of Day 0 (travel mostly) and Day 1 are online, I would suggest to you to go through them firstly as the posts are describing a journey and hopefully you will see the evolution of it by following entirely.

 

Beginning of the day, rough start!

The start of Day 2 was rough, we have had some homework do and failed as a group. I will  not go into details as usual, the bottom line is that most people did what they think was good enough, some homework was misunderstood and we haven’t been working as a team. In the morning before the training started, it was common to hear:

“It is for myself anyway, if I do X instead of Y, it’s okay”

This first process was uncomfortable for most of us and it showed us our failure and how lightly we took the homework. The trainer set new expectations and we ended up changing our approach as a group, which wasn’t an easy exercise to do! It was interesting to see 18 people trying to work together and confronting as I took the pen to write what we would commit to. Many of us have a different idea of what we wanted and how we wanted it, some people started to boil inside as we didn’t did what they wanted, some others started to be upset or disengaged as disappointed. After various attempts, in 1h30 or 2h, we did it after all.

The following days, home work was done by everyone and we offered each others a lot more support so it was interesting to witness and take part of.

 

Open Sharing

We had our first open sharing on Day 2. An open sharing was usually 2-3 hours, anyone could stand up and share what they have in mind. The focus is highly put on what is there right now, how we feels at the moment of the sharing. The focus isn’t about the stories of the past. The focus is on future concrete actions so we have a chance to do something about what we shared. We all sitting on our chairs and to speak, we just need to stand up, when the person talking is done, everyone got another chance to stand up and share. The trainer is active is this open sharing, he is coaching us.
I wanted to share at some point so I stood but I was stuck in my games and my stories of the past, so it turned out I hadn’t much to share so I sat down. The main issue is that I stay in my head, I wasn’t there in the moment, looking at what is happening, where was the pain coming from in my body or mind. I picked up a topic before standing up, by the time the previous participant was done, I had the time to think about it and even overthink it, so when I shared, it was all about the explanations why this happened or what I did in the past or what I know about it.

It was a frustrating experience I have to say. The trainer at that point of the training is quite direct and leave little space for games and stories so it didn’t worked out. I sat down and was disappointed in myself. A part of me was hoping that if I share, the trainer may just guide me where I needed to go but in order for that to happen, I need to make the first steps. I can’t expect someone else to solve my issue or initiate the resolution of them but I still felt anger and unfairness that I wasn’t “helped”. The trainers aren’t there to give answers neither to guide us by hand holding, they look at body posture and what we say and give us a chance if we aren’t stuck in games and stories.

 

Next processes – Will I live?

After the Open Sharing, we had a few processes that were all linked together. Some processes related to that also happened in the beginning on Day 3 but I will touch on this part in the next blog post.

For Day 2 the main take away is that I didn’t gave myself a chance and I don’t give myself a chance in real life too at times. One of the key is personal development isn’t knowledge. It is action. People who know but don’t do, have less results that the people who are just doing and I fall in this trap very regularly. I like to read and listen a lot, I digest a lot of information from different sources and implement a fraction of it into my life. I knew that before going to Choice but it was clear to me with some processes or by seeing other people with less knowledge on self-development, but still achieving fabulous breakthrough(s). It seems I like mental masturbation!

In this process, there are some opportunities to save ourselves from death. You can’t do it on your own, it involves other participants at all time but there is a lot of space to give yourself more chances of success. I didn’t picked any of these, I even missed one totally, thinking about other participants only and didn’t saw I could help myself.

That was concerning and scary at once. First chance I didn’t took was because of fear, I was afraid to be judged by participants or other trainers.

I want to take a minute to clarify the fear that I had regarding the trainer. Both trainers and the man in charge of the Foundation running the training know my Wife as she was heavily involved in these trainings a few years ago. Before I went to Choice, we clarified that their opinions doesn’t matter to us and particularly to her. That whatever happen or whatever they say (which they are unlikely to share with her anyway), she will give it no importance. It is my Choice training, I will go through what I can and also do what I can and that’s it. This looked okay to me but the more the training advanced, the more I was scared of that. Which was also a good excuse to stay in my comfort zone and not go out of it due to me being scared, which is a game which started to be very strong at that stage and I started to feels that I’m loosing control of this fear.

Not taking this first chance made my think a lot, if I don’t take a chance to try to survive what could that mean? Am I dead inside to some degrees? I never felt suicidal so not really but then, am I alive? Do I live a fulfilled and happy life? To some degrees yes, but there are definitely ways of feeling more fulfilled and more alive.

The second chance, I didn’t saw it. I was the first to do the process and I had less time to think that other people but it just didn’t crossed my mind, not even for a split second. This reinforced the questions above.

After these few processes around surviving, I started to be in a bad state. I was concerned a lot of how people are perceiving me, I felt scared as I don’t give myself a chance to survive. I wanted to isolate and look sad, so hopefully after a while people will notice it and the few that care enough about me, will reach out at some point. This very game I started the evening of Day 2 will have a big impact until the end of the training.

When the training was over, I wanted to isolate and I went straight to bed. I felt very tired as I was stressed during the day. I took my little notebook where we put our home work and wrote the follow:

Even when I am thinking I am honest, I still play many games. I think I don’t, I even convince myself I do not play these games at times. I don’t know how to connect to myself, I don’t know when I am playing games or not. I am very sad and confused right now. If I can’t be myself, who else am I? If I can’t leave my games behind, how can I truly live my life? I don’t like when I can’t connect, I don’t like when I’m busy in my minds. Why do I want to please people? Why do I want attention?

Then I was nearly asleep already. I did write a lot like that when I was a teenager, a lot of letters, a lot of poetry, usually when feeling sad, lonely, misunderstand. It tends to be very black and white and this was definitely black. It isn’t my general feeling of myself or my life but when I’m hitting a low phase, it is the kind of things that come up to the surface.

The intention I said I will bring the next day in the training as part of my homework was:

Breath through emotions to connect to them

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