The Way of Community
From the humble beginnings teaching a relationships course in our little tract home in San Diego grew what was to become the fourth era in our career together. This next phase as transformational teachers and relationship educators lasted about twelve years, from 1987 to 1999.
Once again, we found community growing up around us, much as it had in Hawaii ten years earlier. This time, however, it was also about refining and documenting a systems based relationship curriculum to help people in their relationships at home, work and in community.
The eight week course we started in our living room became a 72 hour, three weekend workshop called Secrets for Successful Relationships. It was taught one weekend a month for three months.
From this course there were students who wanted to go deeper and asked if there were other programs available.
We wanted a way to accelerate our students’ progress with less stress, both on us and on our students. Emotional, psychic and physical stress is a predictable side affect of deep transformational work. The powerful shifts that occur in a person’s core sense of self, while also clearing deep emotional patterns, can be unsettling and periodically stressful, to say the least.
We were able to achieve this with the new and improved six-month program called the Accelerated Personal Evolution Program or APEP. This time, rather than meeting 20 hours a week we were able to accomplish the same and often superior results, in about 20 hours a month.
The accelerated nature of our work was due largely to implementing many of the tools and techniques we learned from the field of Energy Psychology.
We facilitated ten APEPs, a Teachers Training and we maintained a full time private practice while we were in San Diego. In practical terms, that looked like leading some kind of weekend workshop every weekend and seeing clients Tuesday through Thursday with Mondays and Fridays off, sometimes!
Oh, and we started writing books during this time, too 😉
Again, the community that gathered around our work proved to be a vital part of our students’ integration. Having people to practice new relationship skills with is essential to developing the skills.
Book knowledge alone doesn’t transform people’s relationships, new practices, new skills, new knowledge and deep self awareness does.
Community can provide the caring feedback that kindles a deeper awareness of self and how ones words and behavior affects others.
In so many ways, learning to relate better with others is like learning a new kind of dance. First you become aware that there are new moves that look different and feel good, and then you find others who want to dance the same kind of dance with you.
If you’re learning the samba and all the people you know only want to dance the waltz, it’s not going to be very fulfilling. It’s pretty much a formula for frustration.
But, when everybody knows the same moves and they keep getting better at them together, it brings a whole new meaning to the word THRILL!!
Over time we coined the term “evolutionary relationships” to clarify how what we were teaching was different from the usual relationship support out there. Evolutionary relationships are about more than simply getting your needs met and getting along better with others.
Evolutionary relationships are committed to personal and spiritual evolution, for both the individual, the community in which they live and our species as a whole. We are talking about conscious evolution for people and the societies they create.
People who create evolutionary relationships are focused on purposeful action rooted in love and growing wisdom. These are people who want to bring forth the best in themselves and others. They are also people who value beauty as an important spiritual quality for living well.
Evolutionary relationships require a commitment to an awareness that comes from deep self-reflection and transformational experiences. When you put that together with the body of knowledge we now offer through our online curriculum, there is a profound level of insight that opens new possibilities for your life and relationships.
There are specific practices required to grow beyond the common understanding of relationships. In our view, these practices involve authentic, heart-centered communication, enlightened conflict resolution and problem solving, emotional clearing and well-being techniques and belief change tools, just to name a few.
Evolutionary relationships represent another octave of personal development that is fundamentally grounded in specific values, spiritual attunement and pragmatic application of embodied skills and behaviors.
Simply put, evolutionary relationships lead to relational and spiritual maturity and a life that is deeply fulfilling and filled with magic.
Now, that may all sound wonderful and high minded, and in fact, it is. But, remember the part above where we talked about the number of days we worked every week? Well, you can’t work that much for several years on end without something having to give.
Even though we were passionate about our work, a demanding schedule of 60 to 80 hours a week, month after month, year after year began to have some undesirable side effects.
Our relationship had slowly and imperceptibly become more about our work than our marriage. We had been so deeply absorbed that neither of us noticed.
If you’re familiar with the Roadrunner cartoons, you will recall that Wile E. Coyote was always trying to catch the speedy and faster roadrunner.
Sometimes in the exaggeration that makes for good comedy, Wile E. Coyote would find himself having run far beyond the edge of a desert cliff and hanging for a brief and terrifying moment in open space before plummeting to the canyon floor far below.
Well, we woke up one day only to realize that we were like Wile E. Coyote. Without realizing it, we were beyond the edge of the cliff and about to fall.
We were burned out, crispy critters and we knew we couldn’t continue working the way we had been. Something had to be done right away.
It was time to press the pause button and get a new perspective on our personal life and how to balance it with our fervent passion to help people transform their lives and relationships
And so the metaphorical curtains closed, we took our bows and quietly left the stage . . .
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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