I had the honor and privilege of taking a life-transforming workshop this weekend: The Shadow Process with Debbie Ford. It's a little Landmark (which I have done for several years), a handful of Jungian psychology, and a big fat smidge of spirituality all rolled into one weekend where you literally get to unload years of crap. I can honestly say I look younger today.
We were asked to be in silence for the three days -- no cellphones, no computers, no texting -- and silence when we were not in an exercise where we talked. That means we had silence in every meal. Have you ever eaten with over 120 people in a big ballroom in silence. All you hear is clinking silverware. I wish in retrospect I had taped some of the clinking because it was so cool.
Eating in silence is incredible. I ate a lot slower, as you'd imagine. I enjoyed my food much more, as you'd probably also imagine. And, I just really enjoyed not "eating my words." And that means I didn't eat my emotions either. You know how eating out is such a fun past time with friends -- food, drink, laughter and chatter. And it is literally one of my favorite things to do. I love throwing dinner parties and I love going out with friends too -- in that order. "Breaking bread" is good stuff. But, man, sometimes I end up overeating and eating my words and emotions --- swallowing far more than nutrients.
I loved that this retreat was silent because in most transformational work I've done, during the breaks people let go of all the chatter that's been in their heads during the workshop -- judgments, tales of dis-ease with the process, complaints about how they are feeling or others are making them feel, etc. Instead Debbie asked us to just do our own process and not engage with anyone -- ever! "Free to just be you and me" as Marlo Thomas would say.
I got so many things out of this Workshop but I will say that one of the most extraordinary things is that I feel like I do when I would go to live in the ashram in India for a month of meditation, chanting and seva. I feel so peaceful.
The 24 hours before I left town for a business trip and the retreat I was breaking something every couple hours. I was literally completely off balance. I feel unbelievably balanced, in my skin and at peace. And, here is some proof. I live in a tiny town that has no stop lights, only stop signs. It's a sleepy little town. And, the speed limit through most of town is equally sleepy. My entire time living here I don't think I have ever followed the 25 mph speed limit in town. I found it unbearable, stupid, and truly unreasonable and unrealistic. Today I followed it, and I was more than happy to follow it and take my sleepy time.
Now, that, my friends, is transformation.