Two weekends ago I attended my fourth Gestalt workshop, led by Mariah Fenton Gladis called Arrive Already Loved - along with my brother, his wife and my friend, Gail Sobotkin (Happyboomernurse of Hubpages).
This workshop, held in Cape May, New Jersey, was the culmination of my first year of training in Gestalt therapy.
The beach setting of Cape May was the perfect environment for enhancing key concepts of Gestalt theory: awareness, contact and relationship with self.
For me, the ocean is a reminder of perspective, clarity and freedom. I immediately need to feel the sand between my toes, soon taken over by the urge to merge with the waters of Mother Nature.
One aspect of awareness is 'unfinished business'. We all have our own business. As one of my wise new class mates put it, 'every one of us is broken in some way'.
I'll readily admit I prefer to keep my business private - tucked far away in the crevices of my ever-busy mind.
I became aware of my mom at lunch on Saturday as rain poured from the skies. Mom always told me that rain was a sign of good luck. Time and time again, whether a drizzle or a deluge, Mom speaks to me through the rain.
Later that afternoon, through creating an exact moment of healing in Hotseat work, where Gail stood in for Mom, I felt a peace deep in my soul - centered and present in today, where Mom would want me to be.
By Sunday morning, the sun was out in her full glory. Gail provided a magical opportunity blending contact with our beach environment, our Self and an open invitation to workshop participants who wanted to walk the sand labyrinth for reflection.
Contact with others is a consideration of our health status. For example, I'm typically quite outgoing. I enjoy the company of and gravitate towards contact with others.
Sixteen years ago, at this exact time of year, I became withdrawn from most friends and contacts in my life - after a workplace trauma. I needed to keep a physical distance with my boundaries as well, as my safety had been seriously violated. Even a tap on the back of my shoulder could rattle me for hours.
Today, I celebrate that sixteen years have passed. I am alive and somewhat kicking...! I know that timing is everything. I could never have participated in a workshop as interactive as this even 8 to 10 years after my trauma.
I have developed a full sense of trust in others again - combined with a gut instinct to detect insincerity, indecency or dishonorable intentions, which will immediately cause me to flee the scene with the least amount of toxic contact to myself.
Relationship with self
I have long recognized my tendency to take care of others before myself. This is a trait common to many of us in the helping professions.
As much as I stress self care with my students and clients - care of the mind, body and spirit - I was typically last on the list before my Gestalt training.
I realized that I was doing myself a great disservice. I was actually disowning parts of myself in this process, as if parts of me did not exist....?
And that didn't sound right. So, while I'm quite sure I don't understand all of me - I am going to stick with all of me - for the long haul.
Thank goodness I have two more years of training...!
This was a song going through my mind in this glorious ocean that some of you may remember from the rock opera "Tommy" by The Who...
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