I tend to be a shy person and often have problems connecting with others and maintaining lasting friendships. Over the last year I have dealt with several physical ailments that have pushed me out of my shell and into the unknown. I began my journey by going to various churches, spiritual events, etc. to help me overcome shyness, make friends and develop some spirituality. However, I always felt I needed to do something bigger that would rocket me outside my comfort zone.
The other week I spotted a postcard at the Center for Positive Living that had the image of a man reaching for the sky surrounded by a cheering audience. The postcard said “Breakthrough Performance Experience Workshop”. I read the back of the card and was intrigued by the idea of singing with a rock band. It was both a horrific and exciting idea but a nagging feeling drew me to their website which is where I found out they were offering an free introductory workshop. So with great hesitation, I went to a 1 hour introduction and liked the talk so much that I decided to sign up for the weekend workshop…
Their were about 5 people in the weekend class. The husband and wife facilitators, Mick and Tess were friendly and warm. I could sense they were sincere and not out to make a quick buck. Each person in the group introduced themselves and we began with a calming meditation followed by a series of exercises to help us feel grounded in our bodies.
One of the main tenets of their teaching is to get out of your head and learn to access your feelings through your heart and body. By doing this you learn to acknowledge your fears and transform that energy into a vibrant expressed life.
At the end of the first day we were given a final song that we would sing for the Breakthrough Performance. Mick and Tess carefully picked the appropriate song for each person and mine was “Break on through to the other side” by the Doors. I started nervously sweating when I saw what I had to sing.. I told myself that there is no way I could even come close to singing like Jim Morrison..Why couldn’t they have picked out a song by Boy George….”Karma Kameleon” maybe.
However, they gently reminded us that the intention of the workshop was not to reproduce the song exactly like it was sung but to reinterpret it in our way… That didn’t make me feel much better but I went home that night and spent 1.5 hours practicing the song. I finally went to sleep but awoke at 5am with a mini panic attack- thoughts like “I can’t do this “or “I am going to make a fool of myself” kept racing through my mind.
The next day we rehearsed and practiced for 4 hours before the band arrived. Everyone invited some of their close friends and relatives for the performance. The band arrived and was seriously intimidating. I felt very humbled and small compared to the talent of the band. Anyway, when my turn came I just went for it and by the time I was done (I don’t seem to remember anything in between) I felt a HUGE rush of good feelings. Right then, I new that I was one step closer to freedom from my negative self talk and shyness.
Our group of people that began as strangers the first day were closer and more connected to each other by the conclusion of the workshop. We all knew we would be talking about this for many months to come…This was a life changing experience that I recommend to everyone even those outgoing,extroverted types.
The lesson for me is GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD and jump into the unknown that is life. Acknowledge the fear, but follow your heart….
Here is a link to their website
10/25/08 UPDATE: I have signed up for their 2 month workshop and have a post about my experience here