There has not been a time when I have stepped out of the Choices seminar environment where I have not felt as if something within me has opened up, released, given way, shifted, changed, moved, been revealed. It is a powerful experience that inevitably changes my life in a profound way.
This time was no different.
A friend asked me, "Let me get this straight. You give up five days of your life. Take time off work. Give up sleep, work long hours and hard and you do it for free. As a volunteer. I don't get it. What's in it for you?"
Yesterday, as I was standing watching the trainees go through the next to final process, I stood beside Joe, one of the key facilitators. Joe's wife Mary is the daughter of Thelma Box, the founder of Choices. He's stood in the training room thousands of times and yet he continues to be in awe of the process.
"Who could believe that you could take 69 strangers, put them in a room on Wednesday and have them end up best of friends by Sunday?" he said, his Texas drawl purring in my ear as we watched two men give each other a big hug. "Who could believe that those people who sat in defensive postures, attitude oozing out, barely able to look each other in the eye on Wednesday would end up four and a half days later hugging each other like best of friends, their faces transformed with smiles, their eyes alight with love."
I gotta believe it. I've seen it happen. It's true.
Even beyond the connecting in a real way with strangers, however, the Choices process is about finding the best friend I will ever have -- Me. Myself and I. Sure, all of us who go through the training connect with the people in the room, we form new bonds, new friendships based on doing things differently so we don't keep getting the same old, same old. Sure, we see people transform. We see marriages saved, lives turnaround, families reunite. Most importantly however, we experience an opportunity to move into our hearts and be free.
What an amazing gift.
I had some amazingly profound moments this past week. I will be processing and writing about them in the days to come. But for now, what I need to affirm is, I am love. I am loved. I am loving. I am a fearless woman, touching hearts and opening minds to set spirits free.
The question is: Who are you? Are you playing small or are you living large? Do you love all of you, or do you hold back pieces in fear others will not love you, warts and all? Do you keep your heart enclosed in a glass cage, or do you set it free to soar, to take you places you never imagined but always dreamed of being?