Monday, September 5, 2011


I just got home from a wonderful long labor day weekend in the woods in the San Bernardino mountains in California. What was so special about this trip was not just the fresh air, the gorgeous trees reaching the clear sky, the star filled sky at night, or even the great food. This was a camp specially for Unitarian Universalist youth from ages 18 to 35. Although we have a really good group of people my age at my church in Studio City it was wonderful to be around over a 100 UU's in one place. Over a hundred people that are open, loving, and caring people who have similar values as me. In just the four days I was there we formed a living community. I met incredible people who I was able to talk openly with and share my stories.

One of the most incredible moments of the weekend was the workshop I went to. It spanned Saturday and Sunday and was called "Shift Happens" which was a curriculum written by David one of the ministers in Southern California. I will try to do it justice but participating experientially was so powerful that it might be difficult. The concept is that everyone has paradigms or "lenses" that have been developed from the experiences we have had and the knowledge we are introduced to along the way. Such experiences that can influence how are paradigms are developed can include things such as poverty, divorce, religion, education, or religion. We did what is called a "diversity shuffle." This means we walked over to the group which represented a certain group such as growing up in a rural area. We discussed how it felt to be in the majority or minority group. For example I felt some shame and guilt when I walked over to the group representing that my parents did not graduate from college. I was probably one of three out of a big group where this was the case. I am proud of my parents and I felt extreme guilt that I would feel shame about their education level. I feel that this could be some sort of projection as I had so many things counting against me about getting a higher education. It was also very difficult to be the minority and feel that there might be some judgment. This workshop however helped me to see that if we are truly open to each other stories and where we come from there would be no judgment. If I feel I am being judged in the future it helps to understand that this is a lack of knowledge about my story and where I am coming from. Similarly instead of being frustrated or angry about someone's beliefs I can try to transform that into curiosity about their story.

The second part of this workshop was telling our story about a shift in our lives which changed the way we saw things. This was extremely emotional for me as I shared my story of adoption and my journey into removing the fear of abandonment. Although it might be unfair to say that I have removed the fear. It is definitely under the surface and can be triggered but I have found ways to keep it more in my conscious mind and not allow it to affect my emotions or actions. Basically just living with gratitude and trying to live in the current moment. We were all given five minutes to share our story. I probably got through 10 words before I started crying. I got through it because I was determined to complete my story but damn it was hard. It was really amazing to feel heard and held by the group. They sat and listened without comment and I felt very accepted. After wards we shared how we felt about the process. I shared that I was still surprised after all this time that the wound is still there and that there is still so emotion behind it. I got a huge hug from someone from my group after wards which was so nice. It was one of those wonderful experiences that changes your perspective and I am so grateful for it.

The rest of the weekend was so incredible. One of my favorite moments was getting up early and doing yoga and Tai chi. There was this great guy Dane who is an energy practitioner, body worker, and also teaches Tai Chi. I impulsively asked him to teach me some Tai Chi which resulted in getting a wonderful lesson two days in a row! It was such a gift. Dane stated 10 minutes of Tai Chi a day is better than than 10 minutes of sleep and is really all you need each day to balance your body and energy. The community meals, dance, swimming,talent show, hikes, games, songs, and worship all added up to an amazing time! I hope to maintain some inspiration and creativity that I feel I have gained this weekend. One of the readings that stayed with me was letting your passion burn inside and then burn so bright that it consumes you and you are on fire with it. I hope to continue to burn brightly.

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