Reflections from Kailea Frederick on our weeklong Walk Out Walk On workshop at the International Youth Initiative Program (YIP). The piece was originally posted on Kailea’s blog, harnessyourbreath.com.
This was a much anticipated workshop for many of my fellow Yippies, although I had never previously heard of Walk Out Walk On. We had just emerged from the exhaustion of our two week Permaculture Course, and I was feeling like my purpose of being here had been swallowed whole. So with a half day of rest between courses we arrived Monday morning into what would unfold for me the resettling of my bones and heart.
The week was lead with the following purpose.
- To experiment with walking out of our own limiting believes in this moment and as an on going practice.
- To name the beliefs on which we wish to build our YIP learning community.
- To practice systems thinking and explore emergence as a theory of change.
To better access these ideas we looked at the following personal questions:
Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I standing? Where am I headed? Who’s with me?
… and various beliefs in our personal and societal system (using the following steps):
- Naming beliefs in the in the dominant system: *Whats the water I’m swimming in?*
- Distinguish your-self from the system: *What are my beliefs?*
- Notice alternative beliefs: *What else is possible? *
- Exercise the muscle of discernment: *What do I choose?*
- Practice: *Where will I experiment?*
- Feedback loops: *What am I learning?*
We also were led through many different exercises that at times triggered moments of tension and pain. I will highlight the ones that I took the most from.
Live into ‘The Trembling’
Aaaah, ‘The Trembling.’ We were lead silently one evening into our classroom which had been cleared, where we formed a circle and were talked through a short session on Energy. We were then divided into two groups. The number 1’s were then blindfolded and the 2’s stepped into the role of protectors, and then we danced. As a protector the first round it was my duty to make sure that none of the blindfolded dancers danced into each other or into any object or wall, but with the challenge of not touching them to much, but more so guiding. It is something so beautiful to see people move without their eyes, to help them through space, and with so much trust laid quite literally in your hands. Some moved small and some big, and the welling need to keep bodies safe of individuals that laid their trust in ‘you’ sparked a connection for me that hadn’t previously been there.
Then it was my turn. ‘The Trembling,’ it is how it sounds. Without my eyes, dancing was hard in all the ways you can imagine. My center of balance was off, sometimes I stumbled, eyes could see me but I could not see them. Without eyes but with music as an added sense I felt broken and found all at once. At the end of my 20 min. blindfolded session, we all laid down through a guided meditation. I felt seen and not seen, and both were painful conclusions somehow to sit upon. I let myself be shaken and when I walked home through the cold I felt see through and a little hollow.
The Human Compass
This shit is genius! It works like so:
Five separate pieces of paper are arranged with number 1 and 5 located on opposite ends and 2, 3, 4 located in the middle. A question is asked such as, “Looking at the whole scope of our year here, how are you feeling in terms of personal growth. Are you standing on or near the 1 feeling that you are in a place right now that is comfortable and you are content, or are you standing on or near the 5 with the understanding that you want to be stripped down and witnessed through a vulnerable state? ” (It is important to know that there is never a positive or a negative regarding the question or answer.) After the question is stated, we all take a moment to feel into where we individually lie on the spectrum and then pick a place to stand on the numbers. After we all situated, we form small groups with others that are standing next to us, and then sit and discuss why we chose to stand we are. After a few minutes, the entire group comes back together and the groups share a few words or a common phrase that sums up their place. It can sound something like this;
1. (There were no 1’s for this question.)
2. “Our layers are not heavy, but a shield that helps us meet our boundaries. We feel comfortable knowing that we are in the greater process.”
3. “We are resting in the trembling space and were okay with that.”
4. “NO, it’s painful and hard. YES, it’s painful and hard, thats why were here.”
5. “YIP is a safe place to dive in!”
The value that I take from this tool is that a large group is physically able to recognize and see the actual differences of opinion and thought that every individual brings to a mix, and that no opinion is better than another. Often during our time here the group will hit uncomfortable points of difference that in the moment can be difficult to set down. With the human compass we were all able to hold value for each others differences. This one is getting added to my life tool box
This week brought me back to myself and the group, in that sneaky way that you can only see in hindsight. With these questions in hand I began to understand more of what my personal purpose will be for this year.
To be seen.
Without layers of preconceived ideas, without the barriers of words like ‘relationship’, ‘perfect’ and any other idealistic viewpoint that we hold for oursevles and other human beings. I want to be seen when I’m ugly and tired and impatient and still be held. And so I am sitting with this question
“Can I call upon a death (in the metaphorical sense) of myself and have it be beautiful and not traumatic?”.
You see, I am someone who has gone through several deaths and re-births that have always been tragic and hard, but in the end necessary. I am able to look at many of my deaths now and see depth they provided through the pain that change and growth can be.
This is my personal challenge that I’m walking with.
And as always, just follow the link for a more in depth reading into Walk Out Walk On: http://walkoutwalkon.net/