Thursday, April 7, 2011

Workshop Addicts

Lori and Isabel have been in New York for the last week. I have missed them both very much. I have so many things to blog about right now it is an embarrassment of riches as they say. I wanted to know all about the workshop they attended and I asked Isabel to tell me about it, this is what I got (I was eating a cinnamon roll wearing a new shirt when I read this, the end made me cry! OH, and note, she even remembered to put an "h" on my name!):

Dear Sarah, 
Lori and I had such a good time at the Omega Women’s Conference in New York (April 1-3) that we decided to go back every year. We may become workshop addicts. We had three enlightening (and very entertaining) workshops, one with Geneen Roth about the way we handle food and we spend money, and two about resilience with Joan Borysenko. There you have two wise spiritual women who also look great! 

With Roth I learned a lot about food and money. I had never seen the connection between them but the truth is that the way one does something is the way one does everything. That means, for example, that if one overeats without paying attention, trying to compensate for loneliness, anxiety or any other negative feeling, most probably one buys unnecessary stuff with the same compulsion and for the same reasons. Eating and shopping can never satisfy the perpetual hunger of the soul. What do I really want?  What would feel good in my body? We live in a mad culture that emphasizes body image and consumerism. The mark of our madness is when we accumulate more than we need.

I came out of the workshop determined to never weigh myself again, eat only when I am hungry, and think before putting anything in my mouth. The same for shopping: buy what I need and think before I do it. My closet is full of several identical black skirts and tops, absurd dressy stuff that I never wear, and high heels in which I couldn’t possibly walk. I keep buying make-up with the fantasy that a particular shade of lipstick will give me Julia Roberts sex-appeal. 

Borysenko taught about resilience and strength. She said that resilient people are not pessimistic or overly optimistic, they are realists. Pessimists take everything personally, they are paranoid or they blame themselves. Optimists tend toward magical thinking and usually end up very disappointed. Realists, however, evaluate the problem and look for ways to optimize their possibilities. Resilient people can think outside the box, they have a sense of humor, they reach out for support, and they are not afraid of change, because for them difficulties are challenges. They hang in there when the temptation is to bolt away from scary situations. 

Part of the workshop was about faith but not religious faith only. In one of the exercises we had to get in pairs—terrified, I clung to Lori—and each person had five minutes to talk about faith from the heart, without thinking much. I discovered that I have faith in my capacity to get back on my feet and my intuition; I have faith in Willie, my current husband, Nico, my permanent son, and Lori my blessed daughter-in-law. I also have faith that everything in the immense universe and beyond is connected, we are all particles of the same spirit, unlimited, indestructible, divine, so I don’t have to worry about my minuscule self or my minuscule (albeit wonderful) life. 

Joan Borysenko talked a lot about forgiveness because, how can you be resilient if your energy is wasted in grudges and you live in the past? The first step is to forgive oneself, then to dispute one’s negative story. People often play the victim in their own life stories. I don’t have that problem: I am always Zorro in the narration of my epic life. As a writer, I know that if I change three adjectives in a paragraph I can change the tone and the mood of a scene. Here’s an example: It was a cold and rainy day when the maiden met the bulky stranger who would change her life. Now change three adjectives: It was a crisp and luminous day when the maiden met the handsome stranger who would change her life. Personally, I have chosen carefully the adjectives to create my own Technicolor legend. Try it. Don’t worry if it digresses a little from the truth, nobody is checking.


  1. Querida Sarah!! he leido con mucha emocion la carta que Isabel te envio... que generosas son ambas por compartir esta maravillosa experiencia en estos talleres!!te contare que he analizado ciertos comportamientos, la verdad es que soy una adicta alos supermercados!!.. a veces pienso que en otra vida debo haber pasado mucha hambre, por que compro alimentos como si fueramos aestar en guerra!! te juro me desespero cuando ya las reservas se empiezan a consumir!! creo que desde ahora sere mas medida, y solo comprare lo que realmente necesito .. claro la publicidad te muestra que con tal o cual crema las arrugas no apareceran y ahi vamos.. como hipnotisadas a comprarla.. y se gsata y gasta , y al final las arrugas aparecen igual!! y una vive estresada por que no te hace efecto!! por otra parte soy muyy optimista. el terriblemente realista es mi marido!! lamentablemente no siempre son personas a las cuales se les entienden muy bien.. mi optimismo pasa, por que soy alegre por naturaleza, con pensamientos y sentimientos que vibran al unisono y hacia un mismo norte... mi FE es grande tengo fe en mi, en mis hijos, mi marido y al igual en Isabel en el universo, se que que todo lo bueno se devuelve. que estamos conectados.. Tambien tengo fe que un dia voy apoder darle un abrazo con mucho cariño a nuestra querida Isabel.....El perdon!! una pequeñisima palabra que encierra tanto... no soy para nada victima.. para que??? nadien me va hacer un monumento!!!.. he aprendido con el tiempo a no arrastrar cadena.. e ir soltando las pìedras que se acumulan en la mochila,y si cambiando un solo adjetivo, la frase cambia totalmente, la expresion es otra.....Querida Sarah!! te mando kilos de cariños y por favor da de mi parte a Isabel un gran abrazo, colmado de cariño y bendiciones, la quiero mucho.. te agradesco por este blogs que me hace estar mas cerca de ella y familia.. un beso. Florencia Parra

  2. que curioso, escribo de una forma y cuando aparece, las palabras parecen que se entremesclan.. que curioso??