While I was sketching in the lobby of the Sonesta Hotel, Kelly Medford, an artist from Florence Italy struck up a conversation. She invited me to return the next day to experience what she called a wisdom workshop which is an offshoot of "Landmark Forum." Being curious, I returned. When I entered the ballroom, people were gathered in small clusters in animated conversations. There was a point to all the social interactions. On the chalkboard at the front of the room the following questions were written: "What is happening in your life? What do you want to get out of being here?" It was later stated that life is a conversation, that one person can change a conversation and a conversation can change the world. Participants were asked to continue a conversation even when it got uncomfortable. One person said that when the conversation moved beyond the awkward moment, then suddenly the person would offer some insight which he needed. Everyone was asked to get seated. I continued to work on the sketch in the back of the room. People were asked to introduce guests. Kelly stood and gave me such a glowing introduction about being an influential artist who is helping build and strengthen the arts community. I got choked up, and a tear rolled down my cheek. I didn't bother to wipe it away since no one was close enough to see. I shouted out, "Thank you Kelly" and got right back to work.
On tables around the room, there were scrapbooks which had visual biographies. Each page signified a year. Kelly showed me hers and there were childhood photos and snippets of conversation. Post its with negative thoughts were pasted here and there. These negative comments were things she said at the workshop and they originated years ago in her past. By recognizing the origin of the negative thoughts she could leave them behind. She could complete her past.
Other collages were called Originating Circles. They acknowledged that words that come out of our mouths create our new reality. Images were picked to symbolize those words. I read the back of one,
"Seems like I don't trust women."
"Seems like I don't trust people."
"Seems like life is a big lie."
"Seems like everybody but me is crazy."
None of these statements were true and by visualizing them they can again leave them behind.
The workshop really stressed the idea that we are part of a community. We need to talk to people to find out what they have to offer. If we use the community, anything is possible. Things we create live through other people.
Another important aspect of the workshop was to recognize the importance of play in our adult lives. Life can be play and it is important to bring that to the people in our lives. By playing we bring a flow back into life. As an exercise people sat in circles and had to relate something that they always wanted to do in a group but never had. Kelly pointed out that she had just seen people shouting out hell and brimstone on Church Street at night. She had never shouted out her convictions to a group. She stood on a chair an shouted with her fist raised. I had related that I never express anger. I shouted in anger though I had no one to direct it at. Then the play began. I was recruited as part of a human pyramid. At the front of the room a chorus line formed and then a conga line. A woman related that while she was in the women's room, she started singing, "If your happy and you know it clap your hands!" Women in the other stalls started to sing along. When it was all over, Carl related that "This never happens in life, only in the movies. In the proper environment there can be play. Thank you."
To make anything happen, first you must dream it. Perhaps a community that allows for play is possible. The universe rewards action. Nervousness is power and energy. Be big in the moment. Inspire those around you with playful exuberance. Continue to grow every day. Think big, pursuing that dream while being truly alive.