When Does the Workshop Really Start?

by Simon Goland, January 27, 2013

One thing I learned over the years, and as a result of the many workshops and seminars I have attended, is that the workshop actually starts the moment I commit and register, which is usually way ahead of the official starting date. The Universe seem to listen carefully to such moments, at least for me, and is being gracious enough to provide me with ample opportunities to “prepare,” usually by way of showing me exactly why I needed that particular workshop (e.g. “Oh, I see that you have registered for a 10-day meditation retreat, to sit in silence and learn to be present?! Well, let me make sure you are going to be all over the place between now and then, with commitments, and errands, and last moment surprises, and a pile of work that you won’t be able to finish before you leave, so that you will really have a potent opportunity to learn and practice. You are most welcome! Come back any time…“).

Incidentally, there is a Right Livelihood Quest coming up at the end of March, 24th to the 27th, at the beautiful Whidbey Institute. The actual Quest process starts on March 4 (and registration is still open, in case you know someone who is ready to dive into the exploration and embrace their life purpose), and I have been sharing this piece of wisdom about the actual beginning of a workshop with the participants on the Quest.


“The Gods have two ways of dealing harshly with us. The first is to deny us our dreams, and the second is to grant them.” – Oscar Wilde

Just a few days ago, I read the incredibly beautiful and evoking gem of a blog post of my beloved, Alison, Running Marathons, and it has been working me since. Together with a few other forces, I have been looking at my own marathon runner. Or, perhaps, a relay team.

Believing in possibilities is a wonderful and beautiful thing. For me, it shows up often as saying “Yes” to life and to opportunities it presents; Life is an Offer talks about it. Yet, there is a price to pay, which – for the past few days – showed up as not listening to the quiet inner voice. There simply was no time, because many “Yes” answers culminated in external focus, at the expense of my soul and spirit.

The wake up call finally came when I realized that I am not fully enjoying the various wonderful projects I am currently engaged with. How fascinating! There is, evidently, someone else hiding behind the visible, whose need is not being met. So, he keeps running the show, hoping that piling up more and more tasks and activities will fill a certain void. Only it doesn’t.

That certain someone, of a young age of about 7 or 8, desperately wants to be needed and wanted. Loved too. Being committed and engaged with many different projects seemed like a good way to either accomplish it, or avoid that dark place of sadness and grief, of not being held close with open arms, of not being taken care of.

“You cannot get enough of what you don’t really want.”

Therein lies a juicy paradox, of finding a balance between saying “Yes” and saying “No.” Of knowing what feeds the soul, and what feeds a need. Of knowing when I operate from my head rather than from my heart. Of staying attuned to the quiet voices.

The upcoming Right Livelihood Quest has started for me too, apparently. The facilitator is not immune from his own medicine.