Class blasted off all around me after lunch. I watched other participants clapping and dancing, getting really excited before class and anticipating the arrival of Barry Neil ("Bears") Kaufman. I stayed on the fringe, waiting and thinking about the morning when Bears had said, "What do you think about the idea that people might judge you, and you could still be happy and comfortable?" As soon as class started, another participant shared that she had brought a gift for one of the staff, but then hesitated before giving it, worried that her gift wasn't good enough.
I raised my hand and said, "At least you brought your gift. I chickened out and never even put mine in the suitcase." I had wanted to bring a gift of one of Eric's paintings for Son-Rise Teacher Carolina Kaiser, who has been part of Eric's Son-Rise Program from the beginning, and at the last minute left it on the dining table at home. That's when Bears took my hand and invited me to sit in front of the class.
"Who in the room is most like Carolina?" he asked. I chose someone who had been particularly kind and encouraging. "Now, tell her what you would say to Carolina."
I told the Carolina-stand-in what a great help she has been and how much I loved her. Then, the second part of the assignment: "Now choose someone you feel the least like Carolina and express your gratitude to that person." UGHHHH--now I had to tell someone that they're the least like someone I just got done saying was great. So I chose someone, closed my eyes, and looked for the gratitude. When I opened my eyes, the words poured out. Not words created to complete the assignment, but bubbling up from a gratitude spring that I didn't know I had. It was like believing I was caught up in a tornado and then realizing I'd landed in Oz.
(to be continued…)