Last night I taught my newest class for the first time – Loving Yourself: A Workshop For Men. This is a class I’ve felt the urge to create for a few years, but have resisted. I finally gave in and set a date before any content was created in order to force myself to make it. Well, wouldn’t you know that a day before the class I come down with a toxic reaction to poison ivy (or one of it’s evil friends sumac and oak). My face swelled up until I could barely see and my whole body raged red.
I never had any serious thought of cancelling the class. In fact it seemed even more important to teach it. To show the power of self-love, being able to present and speak from my heart while looking and feeling quite hideous, LOL.
The big problem was I couldn’t see well enough to drive. My eyes were barely slits. My wife, Lori, offered to drive me (the class was two hours away from our home thanks to rush hour traffic) even though she couldn’t sit in on the class. This was for men only.
One thing that cracked me up during this was that I posted a photo of myself to Facebook and it was so funny to see worlds collide as many comments were along the lines of “Get to a hospital!” “See a doctor” and at the other end was “Sending you healing” “Seeing you in love and light” and then there were some of my favorites about me turning into Wilford Brimley.
Well, I did not see a doctor and seek out drugs. I decided to trust that whatever was unfolding was what I needed. I’ve had this reaction twice before over the last decade, but never had it come on so quickly, so I believed it would leave quickly too. Lori gave me multiple energy healings as did many others from long distance. A few people confirmed my instinct that it was more important than ever for me to teach the class and that cancelling was not an option. As they read my energy they saw that my physical reaction was my last bit of resistance to teaching. My block to allowing or believing I love myself enough to be able to speak of it to others. It was crucial for me to fully love myself and speak my truth regardless of physical appearance.
If you think I’m nuts spinning some spiritual significance into poison ivy, that’s cool. A few years ago, I would’ve thought the same thing.
Even before getting those messages I knew that was the case. Yesterday morning (the day of the workshop) I was asking myself whether I should cancel or not and I pulled a card from my Soul Coaching deck. It was “Communication.” I laughed and read the message.
“Communicate from your heart, and speak your truth without hesitation. Be willing to stand before the crowd and share from your center. This isn’t the time to be shy and hesitant, but to heal through communication. You’re a natural teacher.”
That settled it for me, and even if every Facebook friend was screaming, go to the emergency room, I was going to my workshop.
The distraction of my physical condition meant I never practiced or rehearsed my presentation. Yet I wasn’t nervous at all. It was almost like my physical condition had given me an excuse to flop so there was no pressure. My hideous face of pain was truly a blessing, I laughed to myself as I set up my computer and projector. And I realized I was teaching this class as much for me as for anyone that showed up. Even if only one person came, “Loving Yourself” was going to happen (and now I feel I must once again stress that this workshop is NOT about masturbation.)
The workshop went great. A small, intimate group of brave men showed up willing to share and to grow. A few minutes in, I even forgot what I looked like. It was only when I needed to demo Mirror Work, when I look into a mirror and hold my own gaze, that I kept stopping and laughing because I couldn’t find my own eyes. By the end of the night I got some great feedback and folks who had been strangers were hugging each other goodbye. A powerful night’s work.
On the drive home the perfect song played on the radio, of course, Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”