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Pre-requisites: There are no pre-requisites for this course—anyone may attend. Please consult with us before registering a minor.
Days/Times: Friday 7pm through Sunday 8pm. Ending times on Friday and Saturday are determined by the size of the group. A graduation is held Sunday at 6 pm
Cost: $470. Scholarships available through the Starfish Foundation (Download application)
Location: Center for Creative Learning Conference Center (directions/map)
Lodging: Please see the Lodging section on the About Us page for more information.
Spaces Available: Enrollment is limited to 12 participants.
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Do you know why angels can fly? Because they take themselves lightly!
It was 1983, and during the previous eight years it seemed that I had done almost every available self-improvement, metaphysical, or spiritual seminar available. I had done est, Mind Freedom, Insight, Loving Relationships Training and many other one-day or one-evening seminars. My parents had been active with me and I had done a lot of "work" with them. Yet, people still said to me, "You're angry." and they often suggested it had to do with mom and dad. I didn't think so and yet I didn't know what to do with their feedback. Then someone recommended that I do a workshop offered in Boulder, Colorado, by the Dreikurs Relationship Center, called "Understanding Yourself and Others" (UYO). I wasn't too keen on one more workshop, yet I was eventually talked into it.
When I returned from Colorado, people said to me, "You're different. I can't quite place it—you're different." The angry edge had been softened by some intensive work on sibling rivalry—my relationship with my sister—during the UYO weekend. The size of the group and individual "turns" supported each student in getting to the issue at hand.
Mine was the rage that started with being replaced at age 3 by another being and the competition between us that continued throughout my childhood. I made a deep shift by connecting with those feelings, expressing them and completing that part of my life.
... people said to me, "You're different, I can't quite place it—you're different."
Well, my friends wanted some of what I had, and within two months we had a UYO in Milwaukee. I went on to become an instructor for the weekend and wrote a facilitator training program for their organization. For three years we had a UYO every month. The founders, Bill and Kath Kvols-Reidler, were in the process of franchising their system and it became clear to me that I would not make a good franchisee. I was too independent, I wrote a lot of my own programs and needed the freedom to do my work, and we all know "you can't sell pizzas at McDonalds." So in November, 1986, I left the Dreikurs organization and, with the help of some friends, wrote a new weekend, named Taking It Lightly. Incorporating the best of what I had learned over eleven years of my own work and intensive study, a weekend dedicated to aliveness and personal responsibility was created. The Center for Creative Learning was born.
Once when writing a training proposal for the State of Wisconsin, I asked a therapist to name some of the techniques used in the weekend. When used in therapy the techniques are called: "Conflict Resolution, Self-Efficacy Training, Assertiveness Training, Individualized and Group Assessment, Gestalt, Attribution Training, System Desensitization Training, Implosion, Psychodrama, Catharsis, Social Skills Training, Cognitive Restructuring, Examination of Lifestyle Convictions and Task and Goal Setting.” From a personal growth perspective, we use Reiki and other healing techniques, as well as New Thought, NeuroLinguistic Programming, and Affirmations. I would describe it as unconditional love, sometimes tough love, going for the bottom line and then making and integrating new choices—all based on moving out of survival into aliveness; out of victimhood into personal responsibility and being safe in feeling and expressing emotions." Whatever it is called—it works!
A major focus of the work in Taking It Lightly is recognizing that we all made decisions as children that were based on what we had observed about how to survive and be loved. Those decisions were also about avoiding pain, usually by shutting down our emotions. As adults, we are guided through life by those decisions, keeping us "safe." However, upon introspection, it becomes clear that those decisions also keep us suffering from the past or in fear of the future, limited in the experience and expression of all of our emotions in the present moment. Through individual work and participating in the group during the weekend, each person has an opportunity to make a new choice and integrate it, freeing up his or her emotions and aliveness. This intense personal focus is possible because each weekend is limited to twelve students and staffed by almost as many assistants and instructors.
The student “team” itself is also an important factor, because a group can do work that is not possible in one-to-one counseling or therapy. Each team is "perfect" in its make-up—in each weekend, the "right" person is there to represent mom, dad, a sibling or other significant player in the scene about the decisions on which the students work. And there is always the safety and support that comes from knowing that others have experienced similar pain and that one is not alone in their pain and emotions.
Over the years Taking it Lightly has continued to grow and evolve. We have learned to allow the students to choose their work and empower them to re-discover their emotions in an environment of safety and support. We have become guides, facilitators and friends to those who do the weekend. It is clear we are all students and teachers to each other. As we continue to grow in clarity, Taking It Lightly is expanding its locations.
Today, the course is offered monthly in Milwaukee and five times per year in Detroit, Michigan. The lives of thousands of individuals, ranging in age from 9 to 84 have been touched and transformed as a result of Taking It Lightly. Communities have been created of empowered people, committed to making a difference by being alive and responsible.
The success stories of closer families, more satisfying jobs, and more enjoyable lives are too numerous to count. Other weekends have been inspired by Taking It Lightly, some offered by other organizations, some are a part of the wide variety of programs offered at the Center for personal and professional development.
There is an abundance of growth opportunities available; as I continue my work, I have become convinced that each has its place and time. Taking It Lightly is a tool for transformation, a unique tool that helps individuals produce quantum leaps in personal change. For many, it has also been a powerful adjunct to their work with a therapist.
I remain committed to my own constant transformation, for I also know that I cannot take anyone where I have not yet been.
In Illusions, Richard Bach wrote, "We teach what we most need to learn." I have often been called to take life lightly, to love and take care of myself, to be honest and ask for what I want, to go for the bottom line and make new choices for my future. Each weekend I am confronted with remembering how much I have yet to learn, and I am kept humble in my teaching. I remain committed to my own constant transformation, for I also know that I cannot take anyone where I have not yet been. I invite you to join me on the adventure of self-discovery. Remember: whatever you are doing, life is too serious to be taken so seriously.
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