Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Recap: Elaine Aron Workshop in Austin

This past weekend, I was part of Elaine Aron's three-day workshop at the Crossings retreat center, here in Austin. It's the first time Elaine has taught in the US in a location not on the east or west coast.

Although it was quite different from the format of the Gathering in California, it was still a wonderful experience. The workshop started on Friday evening with what amounted to mostly an introduction and outline of what we would be covering for the remainder of the weekend. There were 22 people in attendance at the start. It felt a bit strange, because there were only two men, and 20 women-- and the other man left after the first break and never showed back up. Whereas I felt a bit self-conscious at first, I am actually somewhat used to being in metaphysics workshops where most attendees are women.

Elaine's three-day workshops are basically an "interactive" introduction to the basics of being Highly Sensitive, as she covered it in her books. What's nice about the format is that she asks participants what they want to talk about, and then the workshop is structured around those ideas. She also takes plenty of time for breaks, in case people get overstimulated. There's also no pressure to "participate," although the more interesting parts come about as a result of input and stories from the participants.

The workshop consisted of a Friday evening session, two three-hour sessions on Saturday, and a single three-hour session on Sunday. There was lots of free time in between, offering people a chance to get to know each other, and to use the facilities at The Crossings, which were wonderful.

Because I have already been "on the path" of self-discovering as an HSP since 1997, I didn't really expect to learn very much new-- although Elaine did present some of her latest research on rewiring people's neural nets after traumas, as an alternative to conventional therapy. My main reason for going was to meet other HSPs, and especially to meet HSPs in the Austin area.

Of the 20-odd attendees, 11 were from Texas, with 8 from greater Austin. We did get a little time to talk, and I do believe we have the foundations for a local HSP group! I also made a new friend-- one of those wonderful experiences where you just instantly "connect" with someone, and everything feels rather "effortless." Alas, she lives near Fort Worth, some 200 miles away-- thank goodness for email!

All in all, it was a great experience, and I felt like I got to connect with a new set of "tribe members." If you find yourself in an area where Elaine is teaching, I would highly recommend attending one of these workshops-- both to learn, and to connect with other HSPs.

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