I had the completely enviable task of co-facilitating all of the workshops in France this summer—two in June and two in September. What a summer! I’ll try to summarize the highlights, but every day was a gem.
Les Labadous is situated in the unspoiled foothills of the Pyrenees in the valley beneath the picturesque and mysterious village of Rennes-le-Chateau. It is surrounded by rolling hills, limestone crags, castles, abbeys, fields of grazing cows and spectacular views in every direction. In June, it was the wild flowers and butterflies that took my breath away, as well as the chorus of birds at sunrise. In September, it was the sunsets, blackberries and figs along our walks and gloriously sunny days. It is difficult to imagine a more perfect location for a healing workshop.
What’s the worst thing that could happen during a workshop you are facilitating? I used to think that it would be having a client die – until one did.
On the morning of the last day of the workshop I was co-facilitating with Gadi and Saskia in the South of France, Christoph passed away peacefully in his sleep. What followed was a wonderful day of healing, peace, introspection and celebration.
I guessed that he had died when I saw Gadi and Axel (one of the retreat’s employees) walking past my studio towards Christoph’s which was next to mine. Sure enough, as I stepped out of my studio, Christine, Christoph’s sister, confirmed what I already knew.
Christoph had been given two weeks to live back in January. It was now mid-June. That he was at the workshop at all was miraculous and that he had the energy to participate as fully as he did was remarkable. Christoph’s body was fighting the immune system introduced eight years ago to combat his leukemia. He was partially blind and deaf, could
"I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt."
~ Maya Angelou
You can’t give something you don’t have! In order for any parent to be able to extend love unconditionally that parent must first love themselves. It is not possible for someone to love another fully without loving themselves. You can only really love your children if you love yourself.
At one of my recent talks on Unconditional Love, a mother told me that her young daughter had asked her “Mommy, who do you love the most – me or you?”. That mother had a difficult time answering her. She said “I love you to the moon and back, but if I didn’t love myself I wouldn’t be able to love you, so I love me just as much!”. That’s such a beautiful, but uncommon sentiment.
In Part Three we established that negative or limiting beliefs block love. In this section, I will show you how to find and fix negative beliefs using the Choose Again Six-Step Process (Diederik Wolsak). The method is applied to any upset however small, because these upsets reveal to us the feelings that we replay the most. These feelings are chosen by our beliefs. By following our familiar feelings we can retrieve early childhood memories in which we can discover the genesis of our beliefs and we can begin to transform them.
In order to learn to love unconditionally, you first need to discover the barriers that you have to giving love, and the barriers that your children or partners have to receiving it. The negative beliefs that you carry, often subconsciously, prevent you from having the loving relationships you want to have. I’ll show you how negative beliefs get started and strengthened, and how they block love.
In last week’s blog, I suggested that you take a quick quiz to determine where you are on the loving / fearful parenting spectrum. You may have been surprised to learn that fear plays a role in your parenting style. This week’s blog will explore the importance of learning to love unconditionally. I was able to learn so you can too!
This week, the Choose Again blog features a sample of one of the elements of the online course we are currently creating.
Our goal is to bring as many elements of our Retreat and Workshops into the course as possible, and those of you who have visited either will know how important meditation is to the work.
We are recording a series of guided meditations for the online course, and here is one for you to try now. Let us know what you think!
One of the things that I’ve become increasingly aware of since I began working with Choose Again is that there are coincidences and unusual synchronicities happening to me or around me, and other Choose Again staff and clients report the same phenomenon. In fact, Les Labadous, the Choose Again center in the South of France, has one such remarkable story attached to it.
In the summer of 2014, Martin Engi and his wife Christine Riedtmann, came to Vancouver from Switzerland for a visit. Martin, who is a now retired professor of geology, had lived in Vancouver for many years (first as a PhD student, finally as a staff scientist) at UBC between 1975 and 1984. I first met Martin when I came to Vancouver from Edinburgh to do graduate studies in Geological Sciences. Our families have been in close contact since that time, so it was natural that Martin would stay with us during his trip to Vancouver with Christine.
At that time Diederik was living in Costa Rica, making trips back to Vancouver periodically to do some counselling and giving talks to gain publicity for El Cielo. That summer was the first trip back for a particularly long stretch and so a staff meeting was arranged in order to
The process of creating "Choose Again - Six Steps to Freedom" began six years ago when Diederik finally gave in to some very persistent persuasion and reluctantly started work on the book.
Diederik was so busy at the time between the centre in Costa Rica and running workshops internationally that we chose the route of a ghost writer to put the book together. It soon became clear that without an intricate knowledge of the work of Choose Again, and the personal stories of how Diederik came to develop the Six Steps, the book would not be a success.
We knew we had the makings of a wonderful book because it has all the elements of a 'best seller' - a great personal story, a sound practice that can change lives and work that challenged established norms. More importantly- we also knew this was an incredible opportunity to share the Six Steps to Freedom more broadly so it could transform more lives for the better.
The incredible Anne Andrew got involved at this point, and applied her knowledge and experience to the task.
How to do Positivity Training (You'll need a little notebook):
When you think a certain way for a long time, you strengthen the pathways in your brain that run these thoughts, and it takes deliberate attention and perseverance to form new pathways.
This week's practice is scientifically proven to forge new, more positive pathways in the brain, helping you be more naturally aware of the good that already exists in your life.
It's a practice we do at dinner every night at all our retreats and workshops, and clients report experiencing a profound shift in how they view their day as a result.
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