Sunday, February 1, 2015

Speak Your Mind!

When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret. - Shannon L. Alder

Dear Ms. Alder! I know someone who was put in a situation like this not that long ago. He not only spoke his mind, but also consciously decided that nothing has the power to throw him off the chosen path and I admire him for his strength and determination. 

See, my dear friend joined a group of people who decided to make a major change in their lives. They were working hard for more than twenty weeks: weekly webinars, very long daily reading assignments, weekly blogging and networking with other participants of a program. 

I will not go into details here, but for the sake of clarity I want you to understand that the program was designed to help people discover their hidden potential and to develop a so called Master Mind. 

My friend is a man of exceptional qualities and integrity. He is a former Marine who served in the Vietnam War at a very young age. He worked on B1 Lancer and also in the Space Shuttle Program at the Space Center in Florida, but is very humble about his personal achievements. He joined the above mentioned program out of personal need for change. And for weeks he worked diligently reading, writing and networking.  

The Master Mind program is a very powerful tool and it requires a lot of self-discipline. It addresses personality, character, behavior, physical body and spirituality. Many people embrace the program with hope for grand changes in their lives, while others drop out after first few weeks when they realize that this is not what they expected. There are also people who continue with the program despite inner doubt. And some will not bother to do what they were asked to do by the organizers. They do not write blog posts and do not have much interaction with others. But not my dear friend. He worked hard from the very beginning despite the fact that he works full time, has a long distance relationship and has to take care of three young, demanding pets.

The program required a great dose of introspection and at some point, as participants progress in their self-discovery, they are forced to change their entire life philosophy. The entire framework of habits and beliefs collapses as they look deeper and deeper into their souls. Personal growth and transformation are very painful processes at any age, but I believe that fully formed adults suffer more than younger people. They have to revise and reevaluate everything they have learned and done in their lives, and have to face incredible inner resistance to change that comes from within and from without. They have to overcome the strong temptation to give up and return to the safe zone they cultivated for years if not decades. Only the very strong and determined participants continue despite a genuine emotional pain and they receive very little little support when you consider that some of them become incredibly overwhelmed and may require a therapy.

The inner change is often accompanied by cascading events in Master Mind program participant’s life that make the day-to-day existence even more unbearable and yet, they try to follow the program despite the doubts that surface from time to time. 

This was exactly what happened to my dear friend after one of the last assignments he received. The inner struggle slowed him down and he did not publish his latest blog-post on time as it was required of him. What followed next borders on ridicule and reminds me of a first grade school experience. He was told that he was disturbing the harmony and was punished with exclusion from the program like a first grade pupil who got suspended from school for misbehaving. Rules are rules and you will be punished if you don’t follow them. There was no room for emotional or spiritual support. No tolerance for a man in crisis.

The most interesting thing in the whole situation was, though, that my dear friend did not break down completely. He was so strong and so wise, and so much beyond the framework of the program! I believe that he simply arrived at the crossroads where the program did not work for him anymore. He had the courage to speak his mind and I admire him for that. The “punishment” only precipitated his "liberation" from constraints and a decision to continue walking on his own chosen path. 

I do not intend to make a judgment about the program, but as an objective observer I have an opinion and it is a valid one. The whole program sets inner processes in motion, but the participants are left alone without much psychological support when catharsis occurs unexpectedly. This is quite irresponsible.

Most participants face their pain bravely and try to use help of their support groups. What they need while moving on is empathy and support, not punishment and exclusion. Such actions remind me of dubious gurus who punish and ostracize their pupils at will to exert desire behavior and submission.

Many people face punishment, exclusion and power play in their daily lives. Only the very strong can survive without a scar. Such a casual “mistreatment” in the Master Mind program seems a bit out of place, but it can also be used to some advantage.  It may help strengthen participants who were let go. A few weeks earlier they might have become desperate and even depressed, but now they are strong enough to deal with the situation and maybe even laugh about it. Just like my friend!

 By Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2015