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February 4, 2006

Being Human Workshop

John moved his hips from side to side with trepidation as he held his hands out in front of him. He looked like he had discovered a new joint in his body. His face showed deep concentration. The group was gathered around John in a semi-circle on the floor.

"John" Ted interrupted. "Yes, Ted" John replied in a slightly concerned tone. "Can you say: I'm a man and I have hips?" The tension increased and there was a brief pause before John was able to squeeze out, "I'm a man ... and I've got ... hips." A sigh went through the group. John looked around at everyone as tears started to form in his eyes.

Ted turned to the group and asked, "Can we accept John, hips and all?" The resounding reply came back: "Yes!" Jillian raised her hand and John looked at her with a tear now running down his cheek. "I think you've got wonderful hips John" she crooned while hugging her knees. Albert lifted his hand up, "I think you've got a lot of courage to get up there and really move your hips like that John."

John started to sob and Ted asked, "Can we all stand and hug John? Let's create a safe space for John and his hips." Everyone stood and formed a circle around John, hugging in close, like a big humming beehive. John continued to sob and some of the others joined in. Rachel picked up her guitar and started to sing gently:

You're a human.
You're a being alright.
You're a human.
But your hips are too tight.

This elicited even more sobbing from John. Sally stroked his hair while the others pressed softly and lovingly against his body. Rachel hovered around the outside of the group, singing into its core. The others joined in and sang through their tears:

You're a human.
And you'll move as one.
And this means that.
You need to move your bum.

After a few more moments Ted said, "Ah! You see we're all human. We all have hips and legs and sweat glands. If we can only accept this, we'd have so much more freedom. Let's have Sally sit down with John and continue to comfort him. Everyone else gather round." Ted pulled up a chair and then Nancy put a chair next to his.

"Okay everyone sit comfortably and close your eyes." Nancy began. "I want us to really feel how human we are ... Every cell in our body is a part of us ... Every bogey, every drop of blood, and every bead of sweat: I want us to accept them all ... It's all part of us ... Let your mind wander through your body and bless every molecule ... Bring the light into every corner ... Let it be what it is, warts and all ... Let yourself be a human."

"Okay!" said Ted with a big grin on his face, "I hope you all ate your beans last night. Get yourselves into groups of three." There was a lot of shuffling around as people joined together. "Does anyone not have a group?" Ted asked. Jillian raised her hand. "Okay Jillian, you can be in a group with me and Nancy."

After everyone was seated in their groups, Ted started giving the instructions, "Now one of you in the group needs to go first. That person should sit in the middle and try to fart. Just really push and try to release something." There was some shuffling as the first person in each group moved into the middle. And then there were a few moments of silence, punctuated by a grunt here or there.

And then the cacophony began. Squelches, splats and deep rumblings began to blend into a chorus. There was an exquisite beauty in the harmonizing of the various sounds. "Now," said Ted, "let's all accept the one who is farting. Put your hands on them and say: I accept you and your fart. It's okay to fart. You're even more lovable because of your farting." The trumpeting sounds blended with the words, as acceptance and love flowed in each group.

"Okay can we really accept that we are lovable, even when we've farted?" Ted continued, "Let's breathe that in. Take a deep breath ... and breathe out ... Hmmm ... Now let's change places and the next person can take their turn."

"This was great. Hilarious." — John

"You silly goose! Honk!" — Rosie

"This was funny. I didn't know if you were serious or not at first." — Matthew


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