This month's column is dedicated to Joseph Ticehurst and all of the new friends I made at the "Facilitating
Skills Seminar."

Life's Lessons

How come I have to keep learning the same lesson again and again?  Years ago I thought I'd learned that I
couldn't be "Father to the World."  I made an attempt to surround myself with people who would love and respect me by attempting to create an intentional community in the 1970's.  I invited a number of people to hang out at our home and soon became a father figure to some of them.  I began to realize that things weren't going the way I had hoped.  Basically I felt like they were using me for a free ride and were not accepting any responsibilities for themselves.  I
got discouraged and uninvited our houseguests.  During a recent 8-day intensive seminar with Jack Canfield, co-author of many of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, I discovered that I had not yet learned that lesson.   

The workshop was called "Facilitating Skills Seminar" and was designed to train us to become presenters of
seminars and classes on self-esteem.  This is a subject that has fascinated me for many years.  The first time I purchased a set of cassette tapes by Jack called "Self-Esteem and Peak Performance" I was mesmerized.  I listened to the tapes over and over. Here was a man with a sense of humor who could get people to do amazing things that they never allowed themselves the freedom to do before.  I attempted to do the exercises he taught on the tapes by myself with some success.

This spring while enrolled in a course at our local community college I was required to set some goals for
myself.  I had decided that I wanted to teach the self-esteem techniques that I had learned from Jack. If I was going to do that I needed to get some more training. I went out on a limb and announced to the class that I was going to go to California this summer and take the eight-day seminar.

Next came the barriers I had to overcome in order to go.  When I made my decision I was jobless but soon I
had a job offer.  When I told my new boss I was taking a week off in July he said it would be difficult but
he could be flexible.  I wasn't sure where I would get the money. Then I received a letter stating that my
Aunt had remembered me in her will and I would be getting more than enough money to cover my trip.  Now
came the really hard part.  I had to tell my wife that I was going and would not be around to help her with
the annual clambake.  (My wife runs a restaurant.)  It took me 3 weeks to work up the courage to tell her.

There were over 100 participants from all over the world.  My roommate was from Australia.  On the first
day of the workshop I told one of the women that I was a Reiki Master (channel for healing energy from the
universe) and that I had been unable to give any treatments for the past nine months.  She was curious to know why and I kind of shrugged it off as a personal thing.  Well after a couple of sharing exercises on Sunday and a lot of hugging my Reiki energy was back and I couldn't shut it off.  Monday night I announced to the group that I would be happy to offer Reiki treatments to anyone who asked in exchange for a hug. It seemed like everyone wanted to experience my healing touch and it really stoked my ego.

One of the assignments we were given was to give a five-minute talk on Friday where we would be critiqued
by a professional and also recorded on videotape.  I began to write my speech on Monday.  On Thursday
evening I was planning to edit my speech and practice it when I was once again asked to help someone in need
and I couldn't turn them down.  The next day when it was my turn to give my speech I did not do as well as
I would have liked.  I was tired and distracted.  When our instructor asked me to try again I was unable to
accept her criticism.  

I did not realize what I was doing until my roommate reminded me of all the people I was trying to help.
This time I feel like I finally learned my lesson.  I just can't be "Father to the World."  I can only help as many people as physically possible, I can teach them how to help themselves and I can remember that I have to take care of myself also.

John Kaiser, August 2, 2000

I had the pleasure of being entertained by Jana Stanfield at the seminar.  She is called "The Queen of Heavy Mental."  If you want some great music with positive messages I highly recommend her CD's. I purchased the two CD set "Brave Faith" which I'm really enjoying.  I even take it to the office and play it on my computer.  You won't be disappointed. Order her music at

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Kim Burnett and Dale Witherow for their help and suggestions.

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