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.
Let’s see what Day 3 brought to the table! A lot of it was confusion in a way but let’s dig into it and why.
Facing your choices in others’ eyes
Day 3 started with a Feedback process from an activity from the previous day and pushed us to discuss the decisions made toward others from the day before. As I mentioned in Day 2 post, we had influence over our own life so we did on other lives too to some degree and it was time to be honest with each other and tell people why we did what we did while looking them in the eyes.
This process was interesting, after we make quick decisions on the spot the day before, now it was time to face it and realize with a deeper understanding why we made it. The day before it may just have been a feeling in my stomach, but now it needed to make sense so I can explain and share with the others. I of course received feedback too and you may know what to expect! Some people wanted me to live with them because I shown care or knowledge, some people didn’t wanted me to live as I am in my head (and not doing as much action). Nothing was really a surprise at that stage in term of people who didn’t wanted to survive with me but the surprise was more with the person who wanted me on their side as survivors.
The way all these processes around surviving are built is that there are less survivors indeed and it was confronting at many occasions whether on a group or individual level. The bottom line for me was covered in the previous blog post, I don’t always give myself I chance and I clearly didn’t in this context. I made little stories to make it okay and softer than it is but this was worrying to me for the next 3 days of the training.
Another day? Another Open Sharing!
The day continued with the next Open sharing, it was our second. The main changes here that after the first from the day before, people started to bring how they felt in the moment. There was less games, less stories of the past. It also looked to me that the trainer started to be more supportive and it would make sense at this stage of the training as we went through 2 rough days. It was time for breakthroughs and realizations.
I took some notes when people shared and I will keep people anonymous but you will easily see the games that we were still playing
Don’t want it
No fulfilling goal
Very hard life > Survival mode
This first speaker was very touching when talking, it was all about his relationships in his household and particularly with his mother. I couldn’t understand why it was so touching but my guess is something unresolved with my mother. I took a few notes from him speaking: “Feeling emotional: Sad and Pain”; “Need to tell my mother I love her and miss her”. When I go home, I noted that I want my partner to support me with feeling the pain in my life. Allowing more pain in, will allow to have more love going out and chances in life come from pain or pleasure, so I will be more likely to want to change some thing in my life too.
The next speakers I took the following notes
Blaming (others, being a victim)
Look like me
(I need to) Keep accepting myself
Love isn’t an exchange
Control (I need to let go of)
Love (needs to be) unconditional
I identified to these participants to some degrees as well as made me realize how lucky I am with my actual partner. Many people in Choice shared about their broken relationships and the foundations we’ve built with my Wife makes me feel extremely lucky to have her in my life. How much she shares with me, how much we discover together or how much she made me grow. I also noted that I need to “Allow myself to be afraid”, I tend to fight it, not accept it and even dismiss it or creating comfortable situations that I can’t be afraid of. Lastly I wrote “I am dependent on you (my wife) as I can’t be myself without you”. What I mean is that I feels I can be myself with her, when we are alone but I still struggle to do that outside of us and I would like to work on that.
Since I listening to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people years ago (covered in 2 part in a previous blog! Part 1; Part 2), I worked on being an Independent person and I don’t believe I am one yet, but I’ve made a LOT of progress. It is always good to see if which way I am not yet there so then I have chance to do something about it.
You have to fight for your King… or die (I know again!)!
The next process was interesting and quite impressive too. I was in a slightly doubting and scared mindset since end of Day 2 and this process increased the uncomfort I was feeling. It looked challenging and out of my comfort zone by a decent stretch. The process itself is quite simple, you asked to perform against someone else and the judge decide if you are killed, wounded and alive. It is all about giving 100% of yourself for a short instant, in a burst.
Our team leader seems to knew that I wouldn’t be the best for that so used me as a last resource, which gave me plenty of time to stress and overthink I few times how I could fail, how other would judge me or how uncomfortable all that looked to me and it wasn’t really helping. I also tried to pay as much attention as I can about how people performed before, to see what seems to be worthy of death or surviving (intensity, voice, movements etc.).
When there were little to no options left in our side (3 people left), it was my turn. I did better than I thought I would, I jumped right into it and gave a good fight but it wasn’t enough and I was killed as my performance wasn’t enough. I wasn’t disappointed this time about my performances, a bit surprised by the outcome but okay with it. I felt that my voice isn’t gonna survive this process and it turned out to be mostly true. Yelling that much made the next days painful that way.
I didn’t get much out of the process when it happened but looking back at it now and knowing what happened the days after, I understand it better and it is a good practice for me to get out of my comfort zone. It is quite a safe environment as well, as the uncomfort was just a short burst.
A bunch of processes before the real one!
We had 3 small processes after wards, some have them have been actually quite funny. Did I say that Day 3 was the most long and intense day? Because after these 3 smalls processes, the next one took us I believe nearly 8 hour. We finished around 3h30 in the morning that day.
The first process was around Anger and didn’t worked at all for me, I couldn’t connect to it and bring back really painful moment in my life. So the expression of it was forced and felt non-genuine. I tried to fake it until I am it, but it didn’t worked. I know I have issue connecting to anger or letting anger in and that is something I’d like to work on in therapy in the coming months.
The second process was another way of sharing, very intimate, we were very close to each other and we shared the most scariest things of our lives. I went through a similar process in a way in my current relationship with my Wife. We shared our deepest fears, our most shameful secrets and there is nothing that I can remember today that would be a hidden secret or a shameful one that she doesn’t know. As nothing unsaid to anyone came up, I decided to listen, maybe by listening others they will remind me of something I can’t just think of it. Something I would have buried somewhere and forgotten about. It didn’t happened, I had a few thoughts about things I didn’t think about for a long time, but they weren’t shameful, they weren’t keeping me awake at night or I didn’t felt responsible for them and guilty about them.
I shared something that I am still a bit shameful of but overall I’ve accepted. Before my actual relationship I was single for roughly 9 years. I told the story why I isolated for so long, why I came out of that isolation and what it brought in my life. I felt like putting my hand on the upper part of my stomach. Which generated a feeling of warmth, a “circle” around the shape of my hand. That is a feeling I tried to generate the days before and the few times I meditated before Choice training but it never happened. While the feeling was there, I stopped talking and tried to just breath, to avoid being busy with my mind and let it go. Of course what I didn’t wanted to happen, happened but that’s okay, there will be other opportunities and it was a blessing to be able to generate that feeling.
The last process of these 3 was funny intimate questions, I will leave it as that. It was interesting to see who is having a classic intimacy and who is a bit more wild… 🙂
The process that made Day 3 never ending!
I will try my best to not disclose the process but also explain what happened. We’ve been in the room for nearly 8h, with some small breaks to refresh ourselves so as I can imagine, things definitely happened! This process is meant to help us having a breakthrough. It will help us identify something new about us or something we care deeply about and try to bound to it, so moving forward, we will make it a priority in our life.
Other people breakthroughs have been amazing to witness and this process really giving people a chance to have one. But before having breakthroughs, we had to understand what to do and how to do it and if I recall properly, it nearly took the first 4 or 5 hours before we had the first one.
We all went one by one, in front of the trainer and other participants trying to be there for ourselves but we didn’t quite get it. People did things in many different ways and while we were trying one by one, all the other ones were trying to figure out what to do or how to do:
- Having eyes closed and trying to meditate
- Bringing back memories and creating feelings in our bodies
- Trying to spontaneous
- Trying to be in the present moment, like we were remembered during the Open Sharings
- Trying to go back to back to see if something is happened
Probably a few other “methods” that I forgotten!
For me this was quite a challenging process too and I believe for everyone else. Some processes are easy for some of us but at this stage of the training, the big processes are really challenging for all of us. It was of course out of my comfort zone, which is a common thing now. It was scary as well as I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to complete it and the trainer made it clear that we don’t leave the room until everyone did it.
After hours of trying, the trainer was still repeating what it takes to do it, that it is simple and that thinking won’t help and so on; our first breakthrough happened. Some people have been extremely close before but they lost it close to the finish line. I don’t remember the order but I believe my buddy was one of the first to have her breakthrough and it was intense to witness. After going through the process, crying so much and so intensively, freeing herself from many years of being in this jail she created for herself, she was free. Our bodies store stress and emotions everywhere and when she realized all of it, she was feeling at peace, looked so happy and at peace. The breakthrough itself was a whole body experience, she was shaking and she could barely walk after it. Afterwards, she kept the feeling of peace but was drained.
We had another girl just before or just after and with a similar intensity. It was beautiful to witness, it was mind-blowing to some degree as I never witnessed such intensity before. But for the dude I am, seating in my chair and trying to figure out how to do that (which by the way is a lost cause, it doesn’t work that way^^), it was pretty scary. It reinforced my fear that I may not be able to do that at all. I gave it a go a few time but without much success. I was looking at other people, trying to remember what they did before having their breakthrough and doing the same.
The further we went into the process, the less intensive where the breakthroughs but we could still clearly see people looking at peace or relieved. People crying, group hugs, faces full of happiness. It was a very uncommon spectacle that I had the chance to be part of and witness.
One of the noticeable thing happening to me during these 8 hours, is that while I searched how to make it happen, I connected to the vision of my wedding. The wedding was the week after the training. I saw myself in a suit, my Wife in her dress. We were in the Townhall where my dad is living, I looked around and I could see my family who looked happy, her family who looked happy. For a moment, it brought happiness and joy to me, I felt a big smile on my face and it removed all the stress or the fear I had for the previous hours. It kept going back to the memory, seeing the same event in the same order, first myself, then my bride and so on. It worked for quite a while until I couldn’t connect anymore to it and then it was forced and wasn’t bringing much. But it was a very pleasing thought to have the week before my wedding I have to say. A wedding is also worrying to some degrees and all my the thoughts I had towards it during the week of Choice trainer were positive ones.
My breakthrough experience
Close to the end people kind of understood what to do to have that breakthrough and pass this process and it started to go quick. Intensity was going lower indeed but we all did it. I was one of the last 2 I believe, the trainer had to piss me off a bit to trigger me and for that he used my Wife. He worked with her a few years before and knows the challenges she can cause at times, being a high energy and intense person to be around (which I love!). It was of course on the tone of humour, but he said things like it is likely easier to just go and do it then living with her. It made me laugh and realize that I was probably stuck on something that isn’t that hard to do after all. I stood up, with energy this time, said my things, repeated it and I passed. I felt it until this moment. I felt energize, driven and I gave it without having to force it but the second part of that process didn’t worked for me at all. Following a breakthrough, we have a few minutes with the other participants and it is usually a very touching and high in emotions moment. But it wasn’t at all with me. As soon as I heard “You got it” and the trainer hugged me, I lost all emotions. I was in my head, trying to force happiness and joy as I didn’t wanted to look unhappy or sad for such a moment. I tried to connect to the wedding vision like I did earlier but without any luck, I tried to think about other happy moments of my life but nothing was coming. I just felt emotionless and that worried me a lot.
I felt like I didn’t had a breakthrough after all, or half-one. Maybe it was given to me and I didn’t had it? Could I have tricked the trainer somehow or just he gave it to me because it was 3 a.m? I compared myself experience to the first breakthroughs we saw and mine was nothing compared to that. It felt like I was not having something I should for some reasons.
The comparaison was of course stupid to do, the people who had such intense breakthrough had a million time more will to overcome what they did that night. They had enough of these issues of their life, it was heavy for so long and they put so much efforts into wanting to change that, that they had a lot more out of it. One of the first thing mentioned in this kind of training is that you gain back from it as much as you put in. Myself being scared and disengaging slowly couldn’t produce such results.
I think the bottom line for me is similar to the process covered a bit earlier where we fight for our king. Things that look uncomfortable to me, I make them really scary so usually in life, I can just avoid them and hope that I won’t pay the consequences for it. In Choice, you actually have to do it or go home. It is good to remember that it just take an impulsion to make it happen. It is a valuable lesson that I can bring forward into my self and hopefully share to help others!
Day 4 will be written very soon as I did modified my blog decently and want to close the Choice chapter soon so I can go back to other topics in the near future.
I hope 2017 is starting well for you and that you will have many occasions to grow and share! Wish you the best 🙂