I’m Fine – not a cry for personal help (honest), but a call for honesty and listening…
I started these blogs to bring to the discerning public the showcases, fringe shows and special events I had been at. Over time I have used them to reveal some of the other aspects of my life from the workshop participant, the teacher, and the clothing optional researcher. Now I am working with a group of 15 deeply experienced beings in Edinburgh on the next stage of their path to master the tools and teachings which can help them be rich workshop leaders, therapists, trainers and practitioners in the embodied development of new work and new artists. My job is to be a coach, to hold space and a mirror for them; to ask them open questions and help them find very practical steps forward in their practical journeys. It is for them and their pathmaker leaders to look after and challenge their soul, spirit journey and creative practice. I’m more involved in marketing, project management, budgets and life/work balance. However I have taken the weekend, at the very least, to be in the mud looking up to the spiritual and creative sky with them.
Now I am sitting on a train back to London reflecting on a day where I was invited to explore my shadows, to welcome into the light some of those familiars/gremlins who have been embedded into the “me” that everyone sees because of things (lovely or scary) that happened to me 30-40-50 years ago. I began my journey of self awareness nearly 18 years ago (thanks Kath) when I would declare time and again that my childhood and my mother had nothing to do with my adult life. Over time, even I have accepted that we have to be careful of our charges at a young age for fear they will be rattled by what happens to them. We can recover from the crazy world of growing up, but we put together survival mechanisms which pop up in different ways as we age.
Some of my workshop colleagues can find these shadow experiences at the drop of a meditation. I get hung up on the accent of the meditation voice over, or the missing instruction which makes me create precisely the wrong environment, or anything which helps me stay in my head and not in my soul. But in time, even I realise there are more things in heaven and earth, genes and family, than are dreamed of…
So as I woke up last night from a wonderful (if crazy) dream I grabbed a pad and jot down my thoughts in some vaguely poetic form – before returning to the dream and trying to get those very muddy potatoes which have been stuffed in the fridge back in the fridge and not falling all over the yard [I recommend you don’t try and get inside my dreams…they are suitably crazy]
So this is from the helper grady, the coach who asks questions which hopefully help others find their stuff, and from me about to go back into Day 2 of the workshop where it might be good to have some creative thing to offer to the group.
By Grady (Enneagram 2)
I love the light
I relish the tangle
I love the gremlins who pop in and out of the shadows
How are you?
Tell me your life.
What about your shadows ?
Dig deep. Tell me how I can help.
What would your 9yr old self say ?
Oh Mine ?
I had a lovely time on my bike
Yes I was alone in the holidays
Yes I was at Boarding School
(No I don’t want to dance, thank you.)
Yes I kept quiet
Hated seeing others bullied
But I was fine
How are you ?
Written during the pathmakers Shadow workshop 2 days, and inspired in part by my being fine, and reflections with J about my “I’m fine” defence mechanism developed at boarding school (well any school) where I didn’t want to be noticed, because those who get noticed can get bullied or teased [eg John T and the bending of his Bowie album]. Maybe this should be subtitled “the shadow of the helper”
In the last couple of weeks I have seen some great theatre (Hair at the Union, London Road at Mountview created with support from the Mountview alum who started the show/research), some really disappointing flat theatre (American in Paris), done some fascinating explorations about future creative projects with producers, theatremakers, and directors. Plus I’ve done the final preparations for the arrive of 23 Chinese Theatre Producers. And in the midst of all this I’ve explored what it is to be fine.
Excited as always to be in Edinburgh for workshops like this
Cheers / I’m fine
But all I would add, is to listen behind the words next time someone says they’re fine. They may be. Hopefully they are being honest. But just listen. Maybe ask the old coaching question – on a scale of 1-10, how fine are you. By the way I’m 8 going on 9…and would be 9 if I didn’t have to go on stage in a moment and read out names for a graduation.
Wonderful blog, Chris. So open and giving. You reminded me of this simple poem that I learned when studying Non Violent Communication ( or Compassionate Communication, which I prefer)
Words are Windows (Or They’re Walls), a poem by Ruth Bebermeyer
I feel so sentenced by your words
I feel so judged and sent away
Before I go I got to know
Is that what you mean to say?
Before I rise to my defense,
Before I speak in hurt or fear,
Before I build that wall of words,
Tell me, did I really hear?
Words are windows, or they’re walls,
They sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear,
Let the love light shine through me.
There are things I need to say,
Things that mean so much to me,
If my words don’t make me clear,
Will you help me to be free?
If I seemed to put you down,
If you felt I didn’t care,
Try to listen through my words
To the feelings that we share.
Beautiful Grad-up <3