It's all about compassion, community, and letting go of old patterns that are keeping you stuck. Some of the supporting materials ranged from Monte Python to the movie "Ghandi." People walked in withdrawn and giving attitude, and walked out smiling and, in one case, dancing (to a number from "The Meaning of Life.") They also call you on your crap and the act you put on for the world that is holding you back. Talk about tough love! And yes, we had a few people who walked out of the course because their Crap was more important to them than being happy, and they would rather be Right than have a life that promises true aliveness and peace and having new problem-solving techniques. The first course I described as "finally getting the User's Guide to the human condition," but the advanced course was really applying that foundation to life.
They got into the importance of standing for other people, and I really took that on with a couple people in our course. One guy had dead eyes, and the "thousand-yard stare" and would completely dissociate under pressure. I guess I identified with a shadow of myself, in him, a person I had once been who was so defensively closed into herself that I was "safe" but essentially dead in every way that matters. I told myself I would stand for him, and bring him back, whatever it took. (They talk about "being unreasonable" in the course, and I guess that's part of it.) I took him on, using their tools, instinctively knowing where he came from. It worked! The person who walked out was smiling and connecting and full of life, not the dead shell that came in. I regard that as a true miracle.
One of the other valuable lessons I have taken away is that one does not "fix" anyone, because they are not broken. They simply have lost their way, somewhere along life's road. You can help show them the way.
I'm also seeing my own patterns, now, and where they came from. It's amazing, like someone turned out the light, so I can see in the room of my life and not fall over the furniture or grope around in the dark. And most amazing to me was the fact that the mission I carry about what we jokingly call "living history as a religion" and making a difference by realizing you *are* history, and living into your legacy, is part of the overall package. Suddenly, I understood my passion, and realized why I was already halfway into the material they were presenting. Great toolset.
I also realized, in the last course day, using their approach, how I will know when my mission as a Civil War reenactor is over. It will be when the Confederate battle flag is only a piece of fabric. A piece of a tragic period in the history of our country, not a symbol of anything. When we are no longer figuratively fighting a war that should have been over almost 150 years ago. And that is what I am standing for.