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I attended a two-day workshop last month in LA, hosted by the illustrious Rob Bell, called Something to Say. I went in thinking we’d be a mismatched group of creatives/business people/performers who would spend both 9-to-5 days leaning all the tricks of the public speaking trade from one of the greats; that the workshop would be more listening, absorbing and note taking; that we would leave with a set of tips and tools to help craft our Tedx-style talks.

I could not have been more wrong.

This workshop brought shifts and tilts I never expected. There were connections and tears, revelations and shared growth at the soul level. And when my chance came to be in the “hot seat”, one-on-one with Rob, where he asked me simply: So, where are you stuck?, I’ve never felt so totally seen and validated.

The whole thing blew my mind and opened my heart at the same time. Freaking awesome...

...and “re-entry” is real.

I only heard that term re-entry recently, by my friend (and amazing coach), Lisa Pepper-Satkin, as it relates to post-workshop/retreat immersion -- back to reality and all the functions and people that come with it. But it’s aptly named for sure. Leaving that small improv theater on Melrose, where I spent two full days truth-telling with non-profit organizers solving our soil health and homeless problems, progressive pastors breaking brand new ground with their clergy, women using their voices to evangelize for third age living and to shine a light on racism in the South, a Cancer survivor, trauma victims sharing their stories to incite systemic change and a beautiful soul who lost his sight at age 16 on a mission now to initiate conversation around inner city youth stereotypes in America.

All that, directly followed by a glass of wine with friends whose So, how was it? question seemed not only impossible to answer, but completely absurd. How was it? Good lord, I have no idea!

And everything I did say to try and answer that question, seemed to fly right past those blank stares and land with a heart breaking Splat! on the other side.

Which at first pulled me into a tailspin:

  • Oh-man-I-knew-this-wasn’t-all-that-big-I-mean-if-I-can’t-articulate-the-impact-of-this-it-must-not-have-been-meaningful-and-I’m-actually-none-of-those-amazing-and-encouraging-things-Rob-and-the-group-said-I-am.

  • I-knew-it-my-business-doesn’t-make-sense-to-anyone-and-it’s-just-so-silly-to-think-I-can-make-this-work-should-I-give-up?

But then, I remembered a little something Rob said to me on that hot seat:

“Shannon, this (my new biz, Enlivened Studios) is way bigger than you know. Doubt and fear are going to be loud and people aren’t going to get it. In fact, set them free from having to get it. You’re breaking new ground and bucking conventions, and it will feel lonely sometimes. But, we (signaling to the collective in the room) need you to do this work.”

Just re-writing this here, I can feel my whole body soften. Those words. Life altering.

So, yeah. I may not have an answer to So, how was it? Not because there isn’t one, but because sometimes the biggest lessons -- the ones that make our whole world shake -- don’t need to be explained so that other people get it. In fact, maybe we protect and preserve them because they’re still fragile and sacred and re-entry is a lengthy and integrative process.

Or maybe...we just want to keep all the juicy details to ourselves until it’s time to release/launch/introduce our life’s work into the world. And even then, spending precious energy making sure our friends and family are comfortable understanding it, is none of our business. We just need to stay the course and bring our awesomeness to light.

So, how was it?, you ask.

How is it? It was great, great. Yeah. It was just...great. More wine?

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