Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inter-Relations: Teachings from the Golden Workshop

I’ve been sitting with our Golden workshop for over a week. I knew that I would eventually write a blog on “our” experience but wanted to take some time to integrate. I was telling G before the workshop that even though we’ve been teaching for over 15 years, I always come out of these experiences learning more… Every workshop is different despite the fact that we’re always exploring the Medicine Wheel and Indigenous Dreaming.

How do we describes what goes on at one of our workshops?

This particular workshop started off with the title: Northern Star. The objective was to help people find their path and purpose. Yet as the week got underway we noticed that more and more the workshop was about inter-relations. As it turned out most of the participants were hoping to work on their couple relationships and even those single individuals found themselves unexpectedly exploring different forms of love-relationships.

The whole idea of “relationships” is a great topic to bring to the page this month because we’re cosmologically influenced by the Moon of Inter-Relations. Last month though while we were in Golden we were still under the Moon of Territory. It was quite impressive to see how much of the topic of territory became an important perspective in the making of functional relationships.

Just a few examples:

Every year we spend an afternoon trekking through the forest until we reach the river and attempt to cross it to the other shore. This journey is always unique for every one. At some point during the crossing of the river the water got very deep and the currents were very strong. CC one of the strongest guys in the group almost lost his footing and realized that if his wife followed him it could get dangerous. He had to make the decision of leaving her behind in order to keep her safe and she had to trust his judgment. During the course of the week CC repeated this lesson a few times through different circumstances. CC and MI are a close knit couple and spend a lot of quality time together. It was quite an important epiphany for them to realize that “quality apart time” could also be a way to build a stronger relationship.

Too many people believe that setting boundaries is a sure way to destroy a relationship. Young men especially will tell you that “they don’t want their girl friends to believe that they are keeping secrets, or choosing their male friends, their hobbies or even alone time over them…” Boundaries are a sure way to trigger conflicts and for some reason young men try to stay away from those at all cost. Young women always have this fear that if their boy friends are setting boundaries it’s because they are slowly breaking up with them.

The most common response is: “It means I’m not pretty enough or good enough. Young women are also indoctrinated to believe that “to keep a man one has to be available at all times and eager to please as well as adapt to the man’s expectations.” You’d think that modern women would have grown out of these old programs but in fact they are stronger than ever and have taken new forms. Unfortunately the whole concept of boundaries has become a taboo in modern relationships. Parents don’t realize how important it is to teach their teenagers to practice setting boundaries in all kinds of circumstances. Ironically, it helps in building self esteem and self confidence. With boundaries we are all better equipped to listen to our instincts and our intuition. We suddenly have space for self-discovery and we adopt attitudes which allow us to step out of emotional reactions and drama; and make choices, which can best serve everyone.

I was impressed with how much the river experience and its many different perspectives could trigger all kinds of thoughts and feelings. DA and AN were another couple who were separated during the river crossing. DA shared with everyone that because AN was chosen to lead the group across the river, she felt it was important for her to support him and make sure he was not distracted.

“I could see him worried about my welfare” she explained “and I didn’t want him to have to make a choice between ME or the group. So I told him I’d wait for him and I urged him to keep going.”

All of our workshops are designed to bring people to experience intense and exaggerated scenarios, which they probably wouldn’t experience in daily living. As traditional dreamers we have the role to awaken stories and characters that will bring forth specific teachings and healings. These characters or stories play themselves out all through the workshop and even all through the following year. They allow the participants to touch feelings, thoughts, and insights that aren’t necessarily obvious every day. Plus, as a group we discuss the stories and we probe the characters in such a way as to bring up to the surface as much awareness as possible. The idea is to give everyone a good glance at themselves, others, and the Wheels in motion in their lives. All of our workshops are about “prevention.” Tragedy, ordeals or life challenges are natural but what isn’t natural is how to deal with them in a functional way…. If we haven’t learnt to react positively to life and to use proper tools, attitudes and attributes to survive these initiations – we often have to fall, to fail and to wallow in darkness before we can step out of it.

I often perceive our workshops as an upbringing. The dreaming which we manifest through our workshops allows us to open up to the idea that there are forces out there that are more than willing to parent us; guide us; and bring us to our heights. Believe it or not we are never alone. JN literally dragged her feet to this year’s workshop. She must have changed her mind a few dozen times before finally packing her suitcase. One of JN’s main focus in this life time has been to find her soul mate. A year or so ago she came in contact with a presence in the dreaming that revealed itself as her soul mate. Angry and frustrated, she refused to connect to this presence because she absolutely wanted “him” to be incarnated. She wanted to be able to touch him and to share a life with him.

Slowly through the workshop, JN surrendered and allowed herself to listen. Synchronicities, phenomenon and dreams brought her story together and we literally watched her fall in love with Jay and hear why they had both chosen to leave each other behind. JN and JAY’S story wasn’t any different than the story of CC and MI; and DA and AN.

The form was the only difference.

Since I’ve returned from Golden I’ve seen a synchronic repetition amongst the people who have approached me for advice or teachings. Many of the individuals have used the word “victim” to introduce themselves and their story. Most are overwhelmed by their ordeals whether it be memories of abuse, illness, death in the family, divorce or even horrible finances. I’m impressed by how many people have to rely on medication to be able to cope with life’s challenges. Too many refuse the idea of therapy mostly because it’s costly or because they are afraid of becoming dependent to it. And finally, the majority of the people don’t believe that they can learn new programs, new attitudes and new ways to deal with LIFE. They are already exhausted with surviving. They want easy answers and they don’t want to have to work at getting a life of beauty and abundance.

There’s no doubt that the journey to wellness, wholeness and happiness demands work or what I prefer calling: LABOR. It’s about birthing ourselves anew. I’m always impressed at how each of our stories are unique. AI waited almost until the last minute to get started on her learning and healing this year. It seemed important that she journey alone and face her darkness head on. There’s no expectations on how people learn and where they are heading with the learning. It’s all about encouraging the story to be revealed and encouraging everyone to become conscious of their journey.

There’s so much that comes into play when we’re looking a relationships. One thing is for sure if we take the time to communicate clearly and be honest with our feelings and thoughts – we’re starting on the right foot. Rather than coming into a relationship with needs and expectations, we should always come into a relationship with curiosity and open acceptance. The idea is to be able to uncover yourself and the people around you. Everyone who crosses your path is meant to teach you something about YOU and about life. Embrace the possibilities and don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries. Have fun testing the waters and don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself. The Medicine Wheel teaches us that if we all come together in a sacred circle and we contribute to the Wheel and to each other ---- relationships can last forever.


WampumBlueRaven said...

Thank for sharing Lisa. Sounded like alot of FUN! and LEARNING!
I was curious because you mention therapy in your blog, do you consider what you do I form of therapy?
And how do you decide the workshop theme- the Northern Star- and what does that them entail in term of preparation?

Lili said...

Hi Lisa,
I have been eager to hear your story from the workshop.
Al and I wanted to attend this workshop but it fell at the same time as my sons you would have had another couple...I love the idea of crossing the river.
What your blog brought up for me, infact, is something i have been thinking on today. I love the timing of your blogs!
I know for my husband to achieve one of his dreams then we will more than likely have to spend time away from each other. When he has worked away in the past I missed his connection, and the emotional support. I can function well by myself, i proved that to myself when he worked away for three months in Pakistan after our third son waS BORN...I GUESS I ASSOCIATE WORKING AWAY WITH DREAD. and as if by magic the caps came on!
I dont think it is something i need to work on it is something i know and do not like. I do not want to put out any blocks for my husband though cos i want him to achieve his dreams. Selfishly, this is prob more about me raising the children without his help. There are some days i need his support with the children. We are a team.
I would love to read a blog about teaching children/teenagers about setting boundaries (mine are still young but they still need to learn how to set their own boundaries. I want to be able to guide them appropriately.)
I think we do teach our boundaries but am open for guidance regarding the teenage aspect, my son acts like a teenager even though he is only 11, 12 in Sep. In Sept he attends high school. He is a good boy, he cares, shares and is a real comedian, i love him to bits and want to help him as much as i can.

Lisa F. Tardiff said...


NO! I do not consider what I do THERAPY.

I don't have anything against therapy. I think that it's an important part of healing. For a lot of people it's difficult to voice out their thoughts, emotions and stories. Therapy allows us to feel comfortable with the idea of HAVING A VOICE. At least that's the way I see it.

I come across lots of people who have judgments against THERAPY. I don't! Some of my closest friends are psychologists and psycho-therapists. I see how difficult their jobs are and how much they contribute to the healing of others.

We like to think ourselves as complementary to therapy. We basically help in the search for perspective by giving access to new thoughts and actions. We also give people the opportunity to live experiences they wouldn't usually live -- and look deeper into themselves. We're more about self-discovery and self-emergence. We don't focus on healing but we are more than aware that deep healing occurs.

Dreaming is our thing and I know we do it well!!! LOL

Great question by the way.

WampumBlueRaven said...

Thanks! Lisa Sweet Dreams

Rose said...

So glad Golden was good! I can't imagine crossing a river like that. All the rivers I can think of are either big or little! *laugh* I love synchronicity...

Michelle said...

I think what Golden taught me most was I learned that this path has to be explored individually and worked on personal levels before you grow and share the learning from it, C and I each had our own experience but then we also experienced it as a couple. I learned to see myself, which to be honest I didnt know really who I am/was, I am still learning....I know I am a Wife, Mom, Friend but those are roles.
Really knowing who we are is the journey.
I can see how at times I have put my needs, wants aside to follow or comply or out of fear not followed things through....Definitely had me thinking about why I thought I had to do everything with C. He even made some big choices for his path that at first I was in reaction to but now I see a different prespective and am glad for him and support his decisions 100%. I appreciate that I have my own path that interconnects with C but is side by side supportive and strengthening.
Three years going to the River and this time making it accross was a journey in its self and showed me how when you work on yourself anything is possible and when you get a lot of people working the same way WOW thats ABUNDANCE!

Lisa F. Tardiff said...


I love some of the comments you've made -- especially the one about creating abundance by working together.

Keep up on the journey.
The greatest relationship you'll ever experience is the one you create with your own personal wheel.