I say this with a knowing that I am walking a fine line. I’m speaking anyway…..
The people who are leading can easily be getting more out of being the leader than they are actually helping you.
Workshops can end up being like vortexes of spiritual heroine if the person who is leading isn’t clear on what they are doing and what is happening in the space.
Sometimes leaders don’t trust the value of their own presence so they rely on smoke and mirrors practices and games.
Sometimes leaders get off on being the leader and organizing everything and being in control of the flow of things so they don’t have to participate and face their own shit.
I know. I was one.
When I was leading women’s groups weekly I loved it. It was healing for us all and the women in my classes had their lives changing and growing and we all got so connected. Teaching that work was an integral part of my path and it was beneficial to all of us.
And yet, I can still feel the part of me that at some point, was getting off on being the leader, because that was the only way that I was able to express myself fully. I didn’t understand how to be equals with anyone. So if someone saw me as a leader, that meant they saw me as above them in some way, so I had permission to be fully myself in all my glory without apology.
Because they were paying me to be the leader, I could be and no one could get mad at me for doing so. I could be big, bright and shiny and I didn’t have to deal with feeling like I couldn’t be myself when connecting to groups of people.
The truth for me was, I was HIDING behind being the leader and putting everyone else through practices, games, and coaching etc. And eventually, the weight of that started to crush me. I have spent the last 8+ months not teaching any groups or paying to go to group workshops, so I could untangle from all of that and look at what I was really doing.
Group therapy and spiritual groups can be some of the most healing places for a lot of people.
And they also hold the potential to be very damaging for a lot of people who are easily impressed upon and have learned to people please all their life.
Learning to be the leader can be so healing. And it can also be very easy to get co-opted by your ego if you can only feel free when you are in the lead position.
Truth: When you get people into a space where they are emoting, connecting, relating and having all these breakthroughs (especially for the first time), it creates this heightened energy field where it feels really good and it’s easy to get disoriented. It’s like a big giant room of orgasm and you lose your sense of reality if you’re a person who is easily manipulated; who is easily pushed off your center and isn’t sure of how to find your way back.
What I’m saying is that workshops and group work can easily be just as addicting as any common drug, to the participant and the leader. The people in the room consciously or unconsciously attach their orgasmically good feelings to the person leading and it’s easy to make that person the answer to your life issues.
Practices and games are useful. But not when the people leading the practices can’t see past them and are making them god. Not when the leader is so invested in what they are teaching that their identity is wrapped up in the teachings and who they’ve made themselves to be.
Not when the practices are being used at expense of the leader’s actual presence.
In the past few months I’ve come across a lot of authentic relating practices and games and after feeling it out, I came to this conclusion:
‘Authentic relating games’ start to get really inauthentic after two or three rounds.
They are often more like invasive traumatizing events where you feel like you have to pull out things to say to answer the question being asked of you or to *connect* with the person in front of you. A lot of times, I have ended up leaving feeling exhausted not knowing why, wondering why I just got so many people and their emotions put right in front of my face.
At some point, you don’t need to put yourself in the framework of authentic relating or structured games to feel like you have the space to be yourself when you are connecting to others.
At some point, you learn how to feel alive in your body without having to gaze into another person’s eyes for two minutes.
At some point, you don’t need organized practices or gatherings to give yourself permission to be yourself no matter who is around you.
And at some point, you’ll want to punch the next person who tries to gaze into your eyes or ask you to play another authentic relating game or go to another seminar or workshop.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s when the most authentic thing you can say is “I gotta get the hell out of here” and you just leave mid-way through the whole thing.
I agree and I know from experience, there is a time and a place for all that eye gazing, all those authentic relating games, and all that partner work in those workshops. It can be so healing and you can learn skills to bring out into the world with you.
But for the love of sexy jesus, at some point you gotta just let go and immerse in life for reals with nothing to hold on to but your own trust in yourself and the world around you. At some point you gotta sit in your own stuff, feel what’s there for you to feel, and then take off the training wheels.
That’s when life starts to really get fun 🙂
About The ‘Dirty Secrets of Self Help Land’ Series
After building a business in my community and online, teaching and facillitating women’s groups for 4.5 years, helping women entrepreneurs market and grow their own businesses, doing a network marketing business, traveling to seminars and workshops, getting flown all over the world teaching and training, and seeing behind the scenes of what it takes to build and grow 6 and 7 figure businesses in the personal growth industry… I thought I had my life pretty much figured out.
After I burnt myself out as a solo-preneur, broke up with the man I thought I would marry, and entered a psuedo sex cult, my life and my soul collapsed. And I went on a deep inner journey to untangle myself.
This is what I see. This is what I have to say. I’m gonna be real, raw and honest. You may like some of what I say and you may hate it. Thats a good thing.
This is my story.
Welcome to The dirty secrets of self help land.