MARCH 1, 2018 | by Akello Stone
"It's been only 10 days since Camera Ready ended and I am still processing it. Yes, it had that kind of impact upon me and it came from a place of truth - a high priority in my personal value toolbox and comes right after love (if ya don't know, now ya know). "
There are those moments that you experience in your life that challenge you in new ways. Admittedly, I'm a professional "try guy" (and have been long before the BuzzFeed crew or even the Internet). I have zip lined, rock climbed, ate a Carolina reaper nacho chip, and driven on the 405 Freeway during rush hour in order to achieve what I term "optimal sensory sensation attainment" (also known as a "rush", lol). Now, I know this already reads like a testimonial, but it is, instead, an honest, first person account to communicate "what went down" recently in my personal improvement and sharing a pretty profound experience with other people. This is also my "journaling" compromise. lol.
When I decided to register for the Camera Ready workshop I knew deep down in my very being that I was opening myself up for a major shift of perspective about my life. I knew it wasn't just a media training - which wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted to dig deep - deeper than I had ever dug before; like "therapy level" deep (without the cushion or sliding scale). There had to be other people present because you can positively tap into that energy. I knew I was setting myself up for a "no turning back" situation.
Perhaps it's just aging or even that fact that I have been getting deep tissue massages regularly for several years, for major back issues. Being performed by the same practitioner, I realized how important a relationship of trust is to be able to reap the full benefit of the therapy as has been the case for my massage therapist and I. However, I knew that things would eventually "come to the surface" over time as it was worked out of my physical body eventually re-emerging into my conscious mind - and things did. What came up, aside from memories, was a surge of emotions, with no storyline, that I was forced to reckon with. Because of habit and my own upbringing, I opted for the anticipated, socialized response of "repression." It's exhausting, really, yet I was tireless in my efforts to "shake off" those feelings. I even went out and got 16 hours of motorcycle training, took the test art the DMV and received my M1 driving classification. Part of the reasoning was to enact a strategy to ease the pressures of the "deep" feelings I was experiencing. I am a typical guy in so many ways and yet not so typical in others. "It" still just wouldn't let go...until Camera Ready happened.
The three day experience opened me up to experiencing my authentic emotions when they are occurring and letting relatability flow through me, manifesting as "the power and magic of emotional connectedness and presence." (Well, at least that's how I interpreted it). This attainable level of emotional connectedness is pretty much where I would like to "land" or at least walk like crazy towards. It's equally about how I want to be in the world, as I move through it and live it - not solely for the benefit of others, but for myself as well, actively practicing maitri (loving-kindness to oneself). Other people who experienced the weekend workshop had heir own reasons and their own revelations, all of which were powerful and inspiring on multiple levels.
Yup, it made an indelible impact upon my personal approach to life - and yes, I'm still the same person, but I like myself a little bit better and I am actively moving towards the other "L" word. Yes, it's okay if I cannot truthfully admit that I love myself - it's a BIG hurdle and it doesn't come naturally for me (and for many, for that matter). In fact, there are plenty of people who are dishonest about it, or who don't know how to show it to the world and share it. Admitting such things openly is challenging for me, yet I am willing to be more open about my shortcomings and things that I really want to work on.
Coaches Quddus and Carmina asked the right questions in the right way, employing what I describe as an "evolutionary approach to the language of transformation." It is so important to have something meaningful that can be intuitively understood and ultimately works for all kinds of people. But don't be fooled - you must be willing to put in the work, to be vulnerable - mind, body and soul - and to move through your struggles and share your fears - instead of hiding them. Not to mention, a supportive group is immensely and lovingly helpful.
You should strive to be honest wth yourself and feel energized and empowered to share...and...listen...and...think...and...be listened to. Transcend all that is pondered and ingest it. Activate it! Let it touch every aspect of your being and travel energetically through you. Walk proudly in your "you." Speak out. Think and feel more deeply. Finally, be committed to the endeavor and think of it as a lifelong companion disguised as an unending, evolutionary process.
You probably have more work to do than you might've ever imagined! I know I sure do - and finding the right people, a wealth of new ideas, and a willingness to surrender - all helped open new doors of insight for me and I wholeheartedly believe that it can get you moving towards where you really long to be as well. Do it while you are still here. Make life as authentic and real an experience as it can be. Be present through the comfortable and the uncomfortable experiences and and really work with those moments!
The video monologue posted above was filmed in February 2018 at the Camera Ready workshop in Los Angeles, California. It was lead by Quddus Philippe and Carmina Becerra, and it is called "Making Peace with Spiders." They filmed it and edited it and everything and the lighting is superb.