The secret of life is to be alive, feel alive, look alive, act alive…

This life, which had been the tomb of his virtue and of his honour, is but a walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

As you know we are doing an experimental communication course right now. Six participants, as different as they can be.

Experimental course means that I invent what to do from what is developing.

The course happens, seemingly, in the classroom, but really the course happens in the participants' life.

Last night I didn't sleep, though in bed, lights turned off, until 3 am because I was pondering this. I was pondering talking to an ex teacher of mine, of my favorite courses I have ever done in Landmark in my nearly 30 years of participating there.

When I looked, carefully, I came away with two things I got from the course, that was a year long and cost close to 10 grands.

  • 1. You live in a world of your own design
  • 2. Who/what is driving the car that is your life?

I looked if it was worth to me ten thousand dollars. Maybe. Maybe not.

When I looked at the year long course, and the number of hours I invested in it, what I got, what I was left with was so meager, I cried.

Why didn't I get more out of the course? Who or what is to blame?

Maybe because the technology of the course did not translate to life for me?

It was intellectual and visual.

I am neither.

Things don't have any real use for me unless they are kinesthetic. Unless I can act it out with sound and fury... lol.

On the Tree of Life. Experimenting. Giving it voice. Giving it shape. Giving it rhythm. Giving it life.

And then, maybe, had I had a coach, I would have been spotted, and guided, and helped to make it a fine-tuned practice.

I am talking about the most important thing I didn't get when I did the course: shifting out of a role... in a conversation.

I wasn't able to see the roles I play,  until I started to look at it in the context of my work. Until I tried to teach what I'd never learned well myself. Until I gave little skit assignments to my experimental course. Until I showed them how it's done... with my voice, my laughter... don't forget, the course is not live. 1

Skits, like: Tell your girl friend you want to break up. Tell her from the role of a nurturing mother. Now tell her from the role of a friend. Now tell her as an admirer.

Tell your customer that unless they comply with your rules, you fire them... lol.

Sound and fury... the scenes were dramatically different, and I felt myself coming alive.

Suddenly the concepts leaped from the pages, the intellectual, and became real.

Real life is not concepts, real life doesn't happen flat and theoretic, real life is blood, sweat and tears, to pull another cliche, ha-ha.

Recognize, evaluate and shift if necessary. And shift again if necessary. And again... until communication starts working. Until life starts working.

Understanding in this realm, in the realm of real life, is definitely a booby prize... understanding won't help anyone but the ego.

This is a life-thing... It needs to be experimented with, played out, and practiced.

Life came to everyone without a manual, and all the books and all the articles in the land won't help someone who is not willing or not able to put them on the stage of life and see if it works. Experimenting.

My job, as the coach, is to provide participants what I didn't get in any of those goddamn expensive courses... guided practice. So they can FEEL and EXPERIENCE life surging through them. So they can SEE if it works.

The opportunity to "Recognize, evaluate and shift if necessary. And shift again if necessary. And again... until communication starts working. Until life starts working."

Not even in the Landmark courses that were teaching something to do, like leading an introductory session...

Only those who were already good at leading classes won. Those who had years of practice to find out who to be in front of people, how to look in their eyes, how to take your attention off yourself.

Or, when I look back at my architecture school years, only the people who already knew how to do the basics won. The rest of us never had a chance to really practice... we were thrown into deep water without knowing what it feels like to swim...

People like me... I did not win so much.

The most cherished parts of my life are the parts where I can experiment. Where I can dance. Where I can express with my body, my voice, my laughter. Where I can be the child again: nothing is sacred, nothing is out of bounds, it is all experimentation.

This course has produced unexpected results for me in that I find myself irresistibly funny, and also noticing funny everywhere. I laugh out loud ten-twenty times a day.

Fun, laughing, mocking, punning are all "kinesthetic" activities, and I am coming alive. Crying is kinesthetic too. Talking is kinesthetic. And for me listening is kinesthetic. If and when it isn't: I don't hear it. Reading is kinesthetic. Words are kinesthetic. Tree of Life. Alive. In sync. None of that deadness.

I have students living in the house on one side... one of them does a lot of whooping and squealing... I was irritated by it for months, but suddenly I am getting it. He is making sure that in all that bookworm life he is allowing a little bit of life.

Culture, political correctness, has painted us in a corner where being subdued, proper and mute: this is what society seems to want us to be.

No self-expression. Don't run in the halls. Don't sing aloud. Don't laugh so loud! Be proper.

Don't yell... This is how it's done...

Life, aliveness dies in you...

But the spirit wants to be alive. So it will do what it can: resist the authority, conspire, and fail it... as it is its last recourse for feeling alive.

You don't do what you are supposed to do. Even if it is cutting your nose in spite of your face.

Some people actually do the cutting. Others get drunk. Yet others play video games, and refuse to be obedient.

One of my students wrote to me this morning, that keeping her budget is an issue. This doesn't seem to be connected, but it is... keeping your budget as a child is very painful. Being suppressed. Dominated. Told what to do.

I don't often find myself in "father-child" or "mother-child" where I am the child. I make sure I don't... lol.

I don't do child well. I don't do obedient well.

It just dawned on me, that when I did find myself in a father child some 20 years ago, I managed to do something absolutely ingenious: I said no to the "father" figure, a class leader, and I declared myself: "I am never going to be anything less than magnificent."

Authority tries to suppress you, authority wants you to be dull.

Your job is to bring creativity and genius to remaining alive with pep...

That it is YOUR word that defines who you are, not theirs.

Now, bringing that to "keeping the budget" may be stretching it, because "keeping the budget" is boring, and flat.

But living like a king on a pauper's budget is not boring and not flat.

That is how I live. Like a king. Raucously, flamboyantly, and unsuppressed.

On a pauper's budget.

My time: ditto.

I decide what's important and what isn't, and house cleaning isn't. Picking up the place isn't. Answering the phone isn't. Taking a shower every day isn't. Getting regular hair cuts isn't...

I can't imagine myself lying on my deathbed regretting that my hair wasn't cut every month... lol.

But that I didn't dance, didn't laugh, didn't joke, didn't shine... I would regret that.

Find your resistance, find your obedience, find your deadness.

They are your guidance.

Resistance should tell you where YOU haven't declared yourself. Declaration is not your usual beating yourself up drivel. Declaration is like the Declaration of Independence. It is solemn, and it comes from your core.

Obviously you have never done it... because obedience, deadness, and resistance have been your life.

But you can start looking... it all begins with that: looking.

In the 67 step coaching, aka Reclaim your life, we do just that. Looking, and when we see, and when we are ready, we put in tiny changes...

Resistance turned around can be the source of aliveness... Just remember that.

Footnotes

  1. I probably would have done a lot of pantomime, and dancing, and somersaults, if it were a live course where we all gather at one location. I have done courses like that, and boy, I can yell, I can dance, I can drop dead, I can fight... The me I need to honor is rambunctious, and childlike.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

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