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.
Day 5 was our last day, Day 4 was finally over and it was for me a relief, a big one. After I completed the last process, I mostly felt okay and realized how I make little things so huge and that feel nearly impossible to overcome. Overall taking actions is one of the main thing I should probably change in my life, I tend to think and make stories in my head and find excuses not to do it and I do that on a daily basis.
The day started with a long open sharing, it was a good opportunity for us to have one of the last chances to have a breakthrough. Trainer was as supportive as it gets and we could feel people’s progress in their issues.
At that time on the training, we had many processes that allowed us to dig into our present pains, we shared our most shameful and hidden secrets or we received feedback on all aspects of who we are. People overcame issues that they carried for all their lives or most of it, we broke-through the pain and the fear and we bounded with other participants very closely. It is quite surprising to see how quickly you can bound with perfect strangers in such a short time-frame. How we connected, shared moments extremely high in energy or heavy in emotions. This blog a very good way of re-connecting with it for me, but for the participants who were there and are now following me.
As it was our last chance, I stood up close to the end of the Open Sharing. I wanted to go back to my issue with connecting to emotions. I talked for a while, touched different things and ended up confusing the trainer and myself. There were two positives outcomes though, the trainer re-framed my metaphor around that issue. The way I explain that disconnection with emotions to myself (and others) is that I build layers of walls to protect myself and that I didn’t find a way yet to break the walls left and that forbids me to connect at a deeper level of emotions and I seems to even suppress some emotions, like anger. The way it was re-framed is that instead of walls, it could just be a land that I need to expand and that I will slowly by working on it and experiencing life. It is a better way of looking at it and I want to keep it this way moving forward. The second part is how I will work on it? I know about it already but it was good to be asked so I can remind myself of the plan. The main thing is experiencing in my relationship with my Wife, this relationship allowed to grow so much already that I definitely want to keep that. The other ones is therapy, I will start that in the coming weeks hopefully and I hope to share my progress with you. Another solution was keep going with Meditation, I just started in November and like to keep it. So far I have been meditating 5-6 times a week and I will also write about it when I have more experience with it. I also have plenty of opportunities in my work as a Team Leader so overall, plenty of opportunities to work on my emotions and learn how to connect to them better.
Last Process of the training! Let’s get out of there!
I’m not sure how to explain what happened without giving it away on that one. We have been sent in town, on a Sunday to do certain activities. It seems that the people from the Netherlands aren’t really going out on Sunday. Most shops are closed, some bars and restaurants were opened. Ommen is a nice little town, a lot of houses are quite typical from the Netherlands as you would imagine them in your head when thinking about it.
I didn’t followed too much that process, it was more comfortable for me but I actually enjoyed how it went and it was very valuable!
I was a bit lost at the beginning of it, trying to accomplish my goal but wasn’t quite successful. Then I spend some time with one of the girl from the training, we hadn’t talked too much yet so it was a good opportunity to connect and interact. As usual, I talked a lot about my partner and how we handle certains issues or certains resources I use to my own growth. I tend to do talk about that a lot in general, some people liked it but some people were tired of it which is okay.
One thing I shared is how we try to share something that is bothering us with my partner. In general, people keep things secrets from each other but some couples share it with their partner. We tend to be on the sharing side of it, by a very strong stretch. Which means we share very often, sometimes at the expanse of the other partner. We didn’t mean too be hurtful, but as we are very close, being as open as we can and share what is on our minds, it can be easy to hurt each another. You can go back to my blog around Doubts (Part 1; Part 2) to see a concrete example. One thing we work on and change is that we ask each other before we share, if it is a good time, if the other is available. If not it can wait and that’s okay. When we share something which matter, it is important that both partners are intellectually and emotionally available. Sharing without considering the other partner is an selfish act after all and could be damaging when we came from a place of openness, weakness, shame or even love or care.
This girl shares a few things in common with my partner and it is always interesting to talk, listen at times and hopefully learn or help someone else.
Then a bit later I spent an hour or so with one of the guy from the training. We had some exchanges the first day but then not a lot of them. We are both gamers thought and he loves Blizzard game so we could have connected quite easily on that front a lot earlier! We mostly talked gaming, World of Warcraft or other titles, gaming industry and so on so I will leave that out of this blog. As a reminder and for clarify, I am actually employed by Blizzard Entertainment. It was very good to chat with someone I didn’t saw a lot during the training and see what we had in common or how we enjoy or dislike similar games we play.
After that, I spent a bit more time walking around and doing the process but the time was over. I met my buddy and we went back to the training. People have been very excited by the process, they had great experiences and everyone was sharing what happened. Some people had wonderful interactions with perfect strangers, some other took that opportunities to go to a restaurant to get a nice meal and meet people and so on. It was really interesting to hear the stories and see people faces being lightened with these experiences.
We had an hour or so to share about our experiences in town, which was interesting to witness. Most people had a very good experiences, some people had weird ones but overall it was nice to be outside for a few hours, having these discussions and interactions and have a chance to learn from other peoples’ experiences!
To conclude the training, we had a few processes that actually lasted a few hours in total.
First it was a Questions & Answers, we could ask anything to the trainers or Marko, the man being the Foundations who is offering such trainings. We also had some background explanation about the training and what is available next to us within Olde Vechte Foundations. The next step could be called Choice in Life, which in a brand new training and which is very different in terms of techniques or processes. It is mostly use systemic work (Constellations for examples).
Then we had a small ceremony, which was quite intimate with all the participants, trainers and co-trainers. It is touching and nice. It was closed by a wonderful poem, called the Invitation:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”
This poem make a lot of sense after such a training and I like to go back to it at times to remember.
Finally we had some time we each other before dinner. We could talk to anyone, people hugged in silence and shared what other participants meant to them, after all we have been very close for a few days. Everyone put a great care to make sure they had the chance to hug everyone else, no one would have been left behind without a hug from all the other participants. It was touching to witness and of course, do the same! At that point, we all shared so much: emotions, breakthroughs, tears, fears, daily tasks like cleaning the place, we told each other harsh things so having such close and intimate moments with each another is extremely touching. These hugs felt peaceful and full of care. The words exchanged were soft and kind. Looking around, everyone was smiling and looked happy! We had people who looked they are walking on a cloud of happiness, you could see looking at them how peaceful and full of emotions they were. I don’t remember when was the last time I could witness that, probably never.
One funny thing that happened to me during this training, I felt I wanted to say “I love you” to people. Not “I want you” nor “I am attracted to you”, but just “I love you”. Whether it is a man or woman, didn’t matter it seems. This last day, I also had a deep respect for everyone in the room, even the people who I judged harshly when I saw them for the first time. Sometimes you see someone, you look at them and you don’t want to be associated with them. After 5 days of Choice, that was just gone. The people who looked the more appealing to hang out with, weren’t the closer to me. The people who were the least appealing to me at the beginning on the training were the ones I felt the closer. It is a powerful lesson to keep moving forward.
For me, things started to be urgent in my head. I had to get to Amsterdam before 00h so I could be in my hotel. Then I would take my plane early the next day to be on time for my wedding interview in south of France the day after. While people finished hugging, I went upstairs and finished to make my bag and bring it downstairs to be ready to go anytime. The idea was to leave before 21h, so even if I miss one train or two, I can be at my hotel before 00h.
I was about to go before dinner, but it was a bit early, the dinner looked amazing and I was hungry. Also I will already miss the evening s and the morning, which are likely lovely moments to have after such a training and when everyone is around. Everyone else was leaving the next day, I was the only one having to cut it short. I would have loved to stay the evening to interact more with people and only leave the next day but I was also very happy to see my Fiancée again and go take the next steps for our Union that would follow the next Saturday.
Dinner was good as usual, I didn’t talked too much about food but we had a little group on volunteers working for the Foundation cooking us warm food once a day and they have been doing a very good job. This dinner was the next level though! I remember was had an amazing salad as a starter, some salmon later and I believe one kind of little cake with cream as a desert. I had to cut the desert and cut it for everyone else as I had to go. People wanted to take the group picture with me which I really appreciate! We also had some last talks, good wishes exchanges, huggies and it took nearly 30 minutes to leave.
When I left, no time to turn back! It was time to run up to the train station to hopefully get the next train. After running all the way I just managed to catch it, one minute later and I would have needed to finding another hotel in Amsterdam! All went well after that, a bit confused while in Amsterdam to find my Hotel as I arrived at the airport and I had to go to the City Square by train. Like I said in the first ticket about this journey, the machine to buy the ticket is amazingly simple but finding the train and knowing which one to take is another story…!
I made it to France, I made it to the interview, I made it to the wedding and now I have the pleasure to call my partner, my Wife!
I Will do my best to follow up in the coming days with a summary of some kind for Choice training. The main takeaways I had or the main realizations as well as explaining how a few things went in terms of homework we had between the hours of training.
Thank you very much for following my journey in this training. We still don’t have a lot of exchanges on the blog comments itself but it led to very good discussions in private with some close friends and the training participants! If you made it through Choice, I’d like to hear a bit about your experience!