Day of Fine Tuning a Great Success!

by Jay on

The Center for Creative Learning held a Day of Fine Tuning on Saturday, with full enrollment of ten participants. It was a powerful day, which led to some observations and thoughts for me.

We often find that participants coming together in a course share a common theme. When I first began noticing this years ago it seemed a bit eerie; now it happens with such frequency that it is almost to be expected.

Taking It Lightly is usually the first intensive that people attend at the Center (or perhaps Taking It Lightly–Renewal, which focuses on shame from sexual abuse). There can be a wide range of themes shared by the group during these weekends, such as loss, empowerment, abuse, etc.

The courses offered after Taking It Lightly, such as a Day of Fine Tuning, Step Into the Light, and Walking In the Light, however, seem to have a smaller range of issues within the participant team. I believe this is because our healing and growth processes are structured like an onion; at first we work on issues that appear to be more about others—for instance, being harrassed by someone at work, the loss of a spouse or child, a parent who was abusive to us as a child. These initial layers of the onion have greater variety, because the range of our experiences is great.

However, once we get to the deeper layers, we discover more how similar we are, and the focus is more on us and how we take responsibility for our experience. There are fewer themes because there is a smaller number of core issues we have to work on as humans. The themes relate to the three primary needs we have as humans:

  1. To be safe
  2. To belong
  3. To be loved

“To be safe” can be a focus for people who have experienced any kind of abuse. “To belong” often has to do with loneliness—having few friends or wanting and not having a life partner. “To be loved” is similar, and can have a focus from wanting the parental love we didn’t get when we most needed it, as a child.

All of these three themes, however, often lead to an issue right at the center of the onion: self-worth. If we don’t have self-worth we may keep ourselves safe less often; we may not have the relationships we want because we don’t believe we are worth it; and we don’t feel loved, which as adults means primarily that we don’t love ourselves (because we weren’t taught to love ourselves as children).

Conversely, when we do have self-worth, we care enough about ourselves enough to keep ourselves safe; we love and value ourselves, and thus people are attracted to us and want to be with us.

This finding was born out again on Saturday as the theme was, once again, self-worth. While each participant had a different life history, the theme was always the same. The participants, again all grads of Taking It lightly, were also struck by the similarities; throughout the day they continually shared how they identified with and learned from each other.

While we are all special and unique, we are also quite the same.

We sign a confidentiality agreement at every intensive workshop held at the Center. It states that we won’t identify anyone present in any way, including talking about their life expeirence or the work they did in the program. This is our core agreement at the Center, which keeps the work we do safe. My discussing self-worth as a theme on Saturday may appear to go against this agreement; however, self-worth is an issue for everyone who breathes or has a belly button, so there’s no way anyone could identify a participant based on what I write here.

On Sunday of Taking It Lightly participants created what we call a “New Decision”—a healthy belief they want to be more true about themselves, which is in contrast to the unhelpful belief they worked on earlier in the course. As an instructor, my job is to support students by reviewing the statements with them. I’ll tell you a little secret: I have come to find that pretty much without exception, everyone could have the same New Decision:

I, [name], am safe to share myself with others.

(Review the three primary needs above and you’ll see why this is universal.)

Even so, students rarely have exactly this phrase because everyone has a different approach to how they come to their statement, which is just perfect for them.

The punch-line to the story about Saturday comes from an activity that staff does before students arrive of picking a theme card at random. What card did I get? You got it: self-worth.

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