Posts tagged: gcp

The Growth and Communication Program

I originally wrote an outline of this story for a Toastmasters speech that I gave on September 28, 2009. It was my fifth speech in a series of ten I have to give to earn my Competent Communicator designation. The purpose of the speech was to use stance, body movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to improve my speech. Toastmasters calls the fifth speech, Project 5, “Your Body Speaks.” I delivered the speech in 6 minutes, 40 seconds. Here is an expanded, more detailed version of the speech.

I’m going to tell you a story about something that I participated in almost thirty years ago.

The Growth & Communication program was for graduates of the Relationshop workshop. (I previously wrote about Relationshop in “Thanks for having the courage to be here” and “Let Your Love Flow and Relationshop.”) The GCP was “an advanced level program focusing on accelerated personal growth and enhanced communicative ability for those who wish to share Relationshop in a very special way as a Relationshop Prospective Leader.” The GCP program took place over a three month period.

We met for several weekends over that time period, usually in a Manhattan apartment in New York City. One weekend was spent reviewing the Relationshop workshop and one weekend was spent assisting at the workshop. The final “graduation” weekend was held at a retreat and study center called Kirkridge, on the top of a mountain in Bangor, Pennsylvania. It is just south of the Pocono mountains.

On Sunday afternoon the eight students in the GCP went into a room in one of the buildings at Kirkridge. On one side of the room there was a blackboard. On the blackboard written in white chalk was a sentence:

No matter what and regardless of the circumstances,

I will live my life out of the context: Being Satisfied

On the other side of the room was a single chair. The far wall was made of sliding glass doors. There were drapes over them to darken the room. In front of the sliding doors there were mats placed on the floor. They were similar to the mats that you would find in a gym class. In the middle of the room several mattresses were stacked up, one on top of the other. They were waist high. There were a couple of rolled up newspapers about the size of a baseball bat on the mattresses. We were going to beat the mattresses with the bats.

The eight of us sat on folding chairs on one side of the room.  Our instructions were to yell, “No matter what and regardless of the circumstances, I will live my life out of the context: Being Satisfied.”

We were supposed to yell this throughout the event, until everyone had their turn to beat the mattress. We started yelling and the first person moved to the empty chair. There was a person standing by the chair whose job it was to get you angry enough to grab the bat and start beating the mattress. I will call her Miss B. After a short while, the person got up from the chair, grabbed the bat and started beating the mattress. There were two people at the mattress to assist the person and make sure no one was injured. When the first person was totally exhausted, Larry, who led the GCP and was supervising the goings on in the room, must have given a signal to the assistants that the mattress beater had had enough and to take them over to the mat and let them recover.

Then, the next person went through the same thing. When it was my turn, I went over to the chair. In a very short while Miss B. (not her real name) made me so angry that I wanted to grab her instead of the bat. Instead, the two assistants muscled me over to the mattress and put the bat in my hands. I beat that damned mattress for all it was worth. I was soon exhausted and they took me over and dropped me on the mat.

I was on my knees and I said something to someone else on the mat. I then took off my shirt, leaving only my undershirt on. I then collapsed on the mattress. A few seconds later, the two assistants were picking me back up. Someone thought that I wasn’t exhausted enough because I had the strength to take off my shirt, I guess. I had to go to the back of the line and do it all over again! I wasn’t too thrilled, but I did it.

I remember that the second time I beat the mattress, my back was killing me. My arms ached and I was sweating profusely. Finally, I was put back on the mat. Later in the evening we were each given a small marble. The marble was supposed to represent something we wanted to get rid of. We then went outside through the sliding doors and threw the marbles into the woods.

It was a pretty intense weekend.

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