In the beginning . . .
If you’ve read “our story” on our website you know just a little bit about a pivotal event in our lives. We revealed a little about a ‘mystical moment’ we shared in 1976 that sparked a romance, a vision and a ‘relationship experiment’ that is still going on today, 33 years later.
But, as you might guess, that’s not the whole story.
Now, we feel compelled to share with you experiences and events that only those closest to us have known anything about.
You see, there have been five distinct passages in our life together and we are now on the threshold of our sixth passage. But, for this imminent passage to make any sense it needs to be threaded to the prior five.
Even though we were both relatively young when we met (Paul 29 & Layne 24), we were already pretty well bruised, battered and discouraged from our separate experiences of hopeful relationships gone bad. We had both experienced the pain of loss and disappointment over and over and over, again.
Was it chance or serendipity or fate or a soul agreement that brought us together in such a dramatic fashion? Who knows? What we do know is that we were blessed to have come into contact with some extraordinary people, a loving and supportive community and some amazing opportunities – and we took good advantage of them!
One of those opportunities was a program called The Loving Relationships Training created by Sondra Ray and Marshall Summers. At the time it was the only weekend workshop in the Bay Area, maybe even the whole country, solely about relationships.
We each attended the training as participants separately before we met. Then, after we knew each other we helped produce the training by being on the logistics and production team. With the popularity of Sondra’s new book, Loving Relationships, there was suddenly a demand for her training all around the country.
By this time, we each had spent more time in The Loving Relationships Training (LRT) than anyone else, along with our friend, Michael.
Sondra and Marshall had broken up and gone their separate ways and Sondra needed people to lead the training to meet the growing demand nationwide. That was a huge opportunity for the two of us and Michael.
Less than a year after meeting and ‘falling in love’ we were teaching about relationships in front of seminar rooms of up to 100+ participants all over the US.
One of the great things about the LRT was that it was always taught in tandem by two people in front of the room. As trainers, we were supposed to be modeling and demonstrating the teachings in our own relationships with one another.
The three of us would teach together in different combinations – Paul and Layne, Layne and Michael, Michael and Paul. It was an emotionally and psychologically rigorous training for us leading that workshop because it demanded openness, authenticity and congruence simply by virtue of the material.
The participants would see through any kind of act or falsehood. This wasn’t something that could be faked and it definitely wasn’t about ‘looking good’.
If any of us got ‘plugged in’, that is, if any unresolved, historical emotional pain got triggered, there was no hiding it! The space was such that we had to reveal what was happening with us. We had to be real and deal with whatever came up, right there in the training, in front of the entire room full of participants and assistants.
That was a very big part of what created the emotional and psychic safety for the participants to heal and grow in the workshop. Sometimes the atmosphere would become so charged with emotional healing energy that practically everyone in the training would literally fall out of their chairs onto the floor in wailing paroxysms of emotional and relational healing.
This is not an exaggeration or hyperbole. Imagine a room full of 50 to 75 or so composed adults sitting in their chairs in rows facing the front of the room where two trainers are sitting in directors chairs, their training manuals secure on music stands in front of them with a vase of flowers on a round table behind them, simply talking about content so psychically and emotionally potent, that those adults begin to tremble and cry and and wail. And, yes, fall out of their chairs onto the floor, literally, helpless to do anything but surrender and go through the experience – a life changing transformational experience.
We did not hypnotize them or put them into any kind of trance with some secret voodoo. It was, in fact, a dramatic example of people COMING OUT of a lifelong trance that had held them in its grip.
But, after a couple of years of experiencing this over and over again, weekend after weekend, with different groups of people, this level of cathartic healing and personal transformation was becoming common place.
Most of those people we never saw again after the weekend. We wondered what happened to them and their relationships. We wondered if such dramatic change lasted for them.
We felt incredibly fortunate to have been given this profound experience and opportunity to facilitate such healing for others so early in our own transformational process. We had definitely grabbed hold of a bullet train and we weren’t letting go!
Yet, we found ourselves yearning for something more . . .
Whether this blog post is your first time hearing of us or if you have been following us for awhile, perhaps your being here right now reading this is no accident. Regardless, you may want to stay tuned for the rest of the story – there is much more to come!
Of course, we welcome your comments. And, if you are someone who happened to be in one of those trainings or knew us way back then, we would especially like to hear from you.
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