Since my last blog, I have participated in two fulfilling activities. I went to Boston and won the Head of the Charles, my third rowing goal for this, my seventieth year and I attended a reunion of the 6-Day Course staff near Kingston, NY.
After being sick and worrying about my training, I finally felt healthy and strong going into the weekend of October 19th. Two weeks prior as part of my training I had raced two head races of 5000 meters (about 21 minutes each) back to back, a double with my rowing partner, Bill Erkelens, and my single sculls event, winning both. So I was fairly confident I was on track. My major competition was my rowing partner in the double sculls from the Henley Master’s Regatta, Henry Hamilton who had won the event last year. I won in 21:20 only beating Henry by 5 seconds!!
Now I have been trying to win the Head of the Charles for 15 years since the last time I won in 1997, so I should have been very happy and as I write this I am, but at the time I didn’t think I had my best race and a number of records were broken in other age categories, so I was down on my self for not breaking a record – the mind trying to make me unhappy, taking the win away, and trying to repeat the “I’m not good enough” pattern.
Thankfully Diane was there to say, “Don’t let your mind take your win away, let yourself have it.” She would also say when people congratulated me, “Let the acknowledgement in, you won, you did what you set out to do!” I am so grateful to have Diane as my partner who is awake when I am not and with whom I can share my inner mind chatter and feelings and we can together look at the machinery of the mind. Once again I conclude that my mind is not my friend!! Sometimes a tool, sometimes a field where positive thoughts, intentions and feelings are expressed, but not my friend – as in someone I can count on.
Regarding my rowing, I won every race I entered in my single whether practice race or international regatta. I am gratified that I have a body that can perform at that level and I have learned a great deal about life through my rowing, another thing for which I am grateful. Of course, I am already thinking about next year!!!
The staff reunion for the 6-Day Course which I created while working for est in the 1970’s was an unexpected joy and validation of the magnificence of who we are as human beings – something Werner Erhard turned me onto when I first took the est training in 1972. Some of the original staff where there, people I remembered and have stayed in touch with since the 70’s, but the surprising thing was that the vast majority of the 75 people who attended I had never met as they worked at the 6-Day after I left in 1980.
What thrilled me was to see the continuity of experience people had as they stood before us and shared about their time working at the 6-Day (lots of starting in the kitchen stories) and more importantly how it changed and affected their subsequent life. It was enormously fulfilling to know that something I started and put so much of myself into had produced so much benefit in the lives of so many people – or to say it properly, that so many people had used the experience to create positive benefits for themselves.
The 6-Day Course was a very demanding and intense environment in which nothing but a person’s best efforts and highest standards was acceptable. This was especially true of the staff who were there “in service” to contribute to and make sure that breakthroughs were produced for each of the 100 participants each week. There was little time for socializing and almost every waking minute was about going beyond your previous limits. People blossomed and especially the staff.
Now to share with my reader the power of the mind, I will relate the following incident. Here we were in this reunion love fest and on Saturday evening Diane and I and Lon and Sandy Golnick where to lead a discussion on relationships. Well I started in, and something got triggered because several people shared that they had worked at the 6-Day and they were not known for who they were. In other words, people did not know their history and that they had not gotten to know each other as people regularly do in the normal world – “I’ll tell you my story and you tell my yours.” For a few people this was an enormous upset and was shared forcefully, full of anger and hurt and a bit of resentment in that it had never been addressed or completed and perhaps for the people involved even somewhat suppressed. So we, in front of the room, became the targets for this outpouring even though we had never interacted with most of these people prior to the reunion. Interesting.
What it once again showed me is that even the most evolved people sometimes get triggered and in discharging the previously suppressed emotions most often start from a position of being a victim, victimized by someone or some situation, where they felt abused, hurt, angry, etc. and blaming others for those feelings. Now this is a good start if the emotions have been suppressed and are now starting to be acknowledged so they can be dealt with. But if it simply stays at that level, the level of you or they or it did it to me, and I am just looking for agreement from others of how right I am and how wrong and bad you/they/it was, then there is no freedom in it. The upset will happen again and you and others will suffer.
But if you can use the upset (and these people were upset!) as an opening to see what got triggered, and to answer the question, “How am I creating myself being upset and unhappy right now?” Then from that responsible stance there is the possibility of great healing and increased freedom to create who you choose to be. That is the magic of being Awake and it is this process that has made my relationship with Diane to be beyond anything I could have imagined possible.
Eventually we did get to share a few things about relationships, but at the time we did not say what in hindsight would have been perfect. “Isn’t it interesting what is coming up right now as this is exactly what happens in relationships – people get triggered by something, blow their stack and blame their partner.”
May your life be filled with increasing love and happiness as you view each upset as a door to freedom.