Wow! What a Weekend!
Many of us have just gone through an intense weekend at The Living Course (TLC) building self-awareness and exercising emotions that may have been dormant or diminished in our lives for a long time. Some of this work was almost certainly painful and unfamiliar to many of us and yet, most of us leave TLC with a sense of relief from our past, renewed hope for the future and a desire to live in the present emotionally connected with others with healthy personal boundaries.
Keep in mind that while this weekend may have been cathartic for us, that we have a lifetime of habits and coping methods that are powerful in our lives. They served us well at times in our childhood and past life, but now some of them are hindering us from living our life fully in a state of gladness and well-being. One weekend is a great start but the work isn’t finished. It’s the start of an exciting and lifelong journey if we choose to keep going.
These are suggestions on how we can build on what we experienced and learned this past weekend and keep making progress in our lives. We have a special window of opportunity now and what we do with it will largely determine whether this becomes a pivotal moment in our lives or we may find that we slip back into the old patterns and habits which are so comfortable and familiar to us. Ultimately that is our choice and our choice alone.
- Realize that we may be leaving this course emotionally raw and with a great deal of enthusiasm for what we’ve learned and experienced. The TLC weekend is carefully constructed and managed to keep it a safe place for us to open up and share. While it’s understandable that we’ll want to share what has happened for us with others, be aware that not everyone is “safe” for that and be careful in how and where we share that we’re not opening ourselves up for additional harm or pain. Look for safe people to build on what we’ve learned and experienced and determine to keep building that skill in our lives. Be aware too that when we’re emotionally open in new ways that it’s wise not to make major life decisions right away. Giving ourselves at least 30 days to process and apply what we’ve learned before we make a major life decision is wise.
- If you have a therapist or counselor that you have been working with, schedule an appointment with them as soon as you can. Discuss with them what you have experienced and learned and if you’ve come away from TLC with some specific recommendations from the instructors in the course share them with them and enlist their help and support to work with you on those goals. If you do not have a therapist or counselor, this would be an excellent time to find one. Changing lifelong habits and beliefs is hard work but the benefits are well worth it. Enlist all the help you can to build on what you’ve learned and continue to grow.
- This is an excellent time to take a personal inventory of our lives and look at how well we are caring for and loving ourselves. We’ve given ourselves a gift through our courage this past weekend to be challenged in how we’re living emotionally and dealing with pain from our childhoods and past. This is a huge step for us in self-care. In addition to our emotional well-being realize that all areas of our lives work together. This may be an opportunity for us to look at things in our lives such as diet, exercise, spirituality, and building healthy relationships individually and in safe circles. As we identify areas we want to work on, look for the resources available to us and reach out for help and assistance at the same time that we learn we can do the same for others in a healthy way and in so doing help ourselves. 12 step groups, support groups in a religious community, a trusted friend or spiritual adviser, social media groups, men’s or women’s groups, or group therapy are all possibilities where we can find this type of support.
- Come back to TLC as an assistant as often as we can. This past weekend in many ways has been like drinking from a fire hydrant. It’s quite normal to feel overwhelmed with all of the information and emotions that this weekend introduced. Many of us find that coming back to assist as an angel to new students is just as powerful and in some cases even more powerful than the initial experience as a student. There are always new lessons to learn and new awareness to build upon. We find as we participate in the course as an assistant that we identify and often empathize with new students. This is their gift to us even as we seek to be a support to them. Attending the TLC course every six weeks early on also provides us an opportunity to remain emotionally connected and open and avoid slipping back into our old patterns and habits. As an alumnus we can return to assist as many times as we want with only a nominal cost ($30 currently).
- Some of us may have been strongly challenged in some areas while we were at TLC. Some of what was said may have felt harsh to some of us and we may be leaving with some sense of anger toward an instructor, an angel or the program in general. Understand that, much of what takes place in a TLC weekend is purposefully intended to “comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” Part of personal growth is learning how to take feedback from others in a constructive way. For many of us, this is something new, especially if we grew up as children who were constantly criticized or shamed and we built defenses against it to survive. If this is the case with any of us, please don’t allow it to keep you from coming back and carrying on with your work. If you feel the need, please know that the instructors in the course are open and available to talk with you to resolve any issues. We genuinely care for you and want you to grow and heal. If you find yourself harboring resentment, ask yourself if this is something that happens in other areas of your life and use this as an opportunity to try something new. The old defenses in our life were often necessary when we were young. Those things that worked when we were young are to be honored, but if they’re no longer working for us, it’s time to learn something new. We can choose to be right, or we can choose to be in relationship. This is very new for many of us. Take a risk and trust others as you learn new things and learn to trust yourself as well.
We’re glad you were with us and we welcome you to continue your journey with us for as long as you wish. Lives are changed. Relationships are transformed. Gladness, Hope and Joy that have been so elusive for many of us can be developed and instilled in our lives and potentially impact the lives of those we love who surround us. It’s a whole new way of living!