I did my first TLC weekend in September 2014, and I’ve been going back to assist at other weekends regularly ever since. I’m a therapist interested in bringing personal development education to those who seek it, and those who need it. I gladly promote TLC.
Personal development means working on the self. Connecting with parts that have often gone long unattended, expressing feelings long untouched. Good inner work accesses deep feelings and helps a person encounter the aspects of being human that are important: loving relationships, finding purpose, loving the self. TLC weekend is all that wrapped into one. I find it consistently challenging, comforting, touching, enlivening, and enlightening. I love the community of sincere seekers and healers that come to TLC. I tell people I love about it.
The Premise of TLC Work
Not only do we accumulate “baggage” from unresolved issues from our own history, we often continue with life strategies on how to get the love and acceptance we need, that we formulated when we were little. These strategies often have a “victim” quality to them, because in fact we were victims when we were kids. We didn’t have any boundary-making skills, and we inevitably took on the suffering or the “wrongness” of our family’s dysfunction.
To protect ourselves from pain we build defenses. We shut down our expression, we hide our feelings, we avoid conflict, we struggle to please. Before long, that’s who we become: our limitations.
Ironically, those same defenses keep us from the closeness and intimacy we really want.
TLC helps us navigate beyond our core beliefs that may no longer serve us, into the realm of choice and love.
Beyond defenses lives a simple, happy kid, a part of our psyche that belongs to us, no matter how little time we got to actually have that carefree state originally. It belongs to us now. Beyond defenses lives a deep capacity to be vulnerable, to be creative, to self-reveal, and to be honest: all hallmarks of intimacy.
We all crave intimacy, even the recluses among us. We do better in community, in relationship, than we do in isolation. And we need to navigate through the water of our defenses and our hurt to get there.
TLC provides a safe, challenging, supportive, kind, and wise setting in which to grow into the person we are meant to be. TLC helps us experientially push beyond our defenses, and makes it safe to be vulnerable and feeling in a group setting.
Welcome to the Magic of TLC!
Welcome to the magic of loving support! One hundred TLC graduates regularly return as volunteers in the TLC weekend in the role of Angels, to help the new group of twenty-five or so students. The space is safe, loving, attentive. Each student has four angels to follow her through the weekend, every step of the way, even during lunch. That kind of love and attention makes it harder to retreat into self-isolation or checking out. Angels provide a strong positive pressure to stay connected with feelings inside, and to stay present, and to be real.
Logistics of the Weekend
The weekend starts with the students meeting the Assistants (that’s the hundred volunteers), and the Instructors (rigorously trained facilitators of the TLC process). The Instructors begin with some didactic or theoretical material, including the Circle of Belief, the Spectrum of Feelings, and The Victim Triangle. Good stuff.
Then the “redirect” begins: each student takes her turn to present herself, her story, her intent for being in the course, and the Instructors, using the here and now and their finely tuned intuition, sensitivity, and coaching skills, guide that student to a place of feeling.
Next come the emotional “stations”, or “pods”, where each student gets a chance to explore each color of the feeling spectrum experientially. The anger and fear pods tend to get loud, the energy, intense. New layers of tenderness surface, and the group is there to contain it all. Contain and cradle.
Although emotionally corrective, loving experiences as adults don’t in and of themselves heal our childhood woundedness, they sure help.
TLC isn’t just a substitute “good family” to replace or supplement our original family. It stands as a community of fellow-travelers supporting fellow-travelers. We are there for each others’ growth. As TLC cradles the smallest parts of us, it helps those same parts grow up.
Let the Fun Begin
Sunday is the day of celebration of the hard work of Friday and Saturday. The group celebrates the students; the students celebrate themselves. A new, stronger sense of “I”, rooted in deep inner and outer connectedness, shows up. And we dance. Did I mention that we dance? We dance, a lot. Work hard, play hard.
Welcome to The Living Course! Let the healing begin! Let the fun begin!