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    Sharing Is Shifting

           When I was a kid, I went to camp out in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, not far from Kripalu. In my series of posts from years ago, called Concentration:Camp (Parts 1 & 2), I detailed my five year summer camp experience. I’ll sum it up for you here: It Sucked. Royal.
           Since then, however, I have actually enjoyed going back to Camp Becket several times over the years to visit. It’s a beautiful place, and I do have some powerfully good memories there. I’ve been able to put the whole experience in perspective. Overall, I have, as one woman at Kripalu put it, “turned poison into medicine”. I love the Berkshires these days, and take advantage of my opportunities to spend time in this magical part of the country.
           For the first twenty-four hours of practicing social silence at Kripalu, however, whatever medicine I had created was stuck in a child proof bottle. And I was the child. I felt ten years old again, stuck at a place in the Berkshires. Sad. Depressed. Lonely. Full of self doubt. Feeling like I was a defective model in a place full of well functioning ones. And I couldn’t tell anybody. Yup. This was a reliving of summer camp.
           In truth, however, my inner experience would have been similar no matter where I did this course. If I had been at a retreat center in California instead of The Berkshires, I would have felt the same internal strife. The fact that as a kid I had a similar experience, at a similar place not far from where I was now, just made it all a bit more uncomfortable, a bit more surreal.
           By design, when you do this kind of work, your stuff comes up. By design, not talking about it and being alone with it, thus removing distractions, forces you to look at it longer, and go into it deeper. The meditation, yoga, and environment provide new ways to frame your experience, new opportunities for learning and growth, and new possibilities for raising consciousness.
           But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m good at that. Sometimes I’m so far ahead of myself that I don’t know who I am; like driving too far in front of somebody you’re supposed to be sticking with. You turn around and they’re gone.
           Alone with all my own muck, I decided to share my experience during our  afternoon course session on Tuesday, just twenty four hours into my own social silence. Everybody else had been doing it a half a day longer, because I joined the course late. So I took the microphone and let it all hang out, getting really vulnerable and sharing how awful I felt. Looking at our instructor whilst speaking, I could nonetheless feel the eyes of everyone in the room on me as I articulated my painful inner experience.
           Then, something remarkable happened. Everyone’s head started bobbing up and down. They knew exactly what I was going through. They were all having a similar experience. I opened up. They felt me. And I felt them.
           Suddenly, I didn’t feel alone anymore. I felt part of a community. Part of a tribe. Part of a common experience. Part of something bigger than myself.
           That’s when things started to shift.
           More next week.

    ©2013 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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