I had the glass waiting room all to myself. But not for long. As weary travelers drifted through the door into my space, I checked them out, one by one, trying to figure out who might be booked on my shuttle. Three women, filing in separately, wheeled their bags into various corners and sat quietly, not exchanging glances. I would spend the next six days with all three, bringing our lives back to center.
From the Nashville airport, I wasn’t bee-lining for the Grand Ole Opry, but to a Living Centered Program called Onsite Workshops, in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee. I was both relieved to have two hours before relinquishing my phone and computer for the week, and flat-out anxious about unplugging.
I spotted the Onsite shuttle pulling up to the curb. That was the cue to reveal myself. Gathering my belongings, I made my way to the van, along with the three female suspects. Handing Shamu (what my husband calls my bulky, more-appropriate-for-a-college-student, roller duffle) to the driver, I took a back row seat, wiggling in between a tall, handsome man and a petite woman with the face of an angel.
After exchanging pleasantries, I pulled my phone out – nervous – and checked texts and emails. As we drove an hour through the rolling countryside, I felt the weight of apprehension. At last, the shuttle crunched up the long driveway to a stately Victorian house, greeted by a four dog welcoming committee. With sweaty fingers, I sent my husband a quick text that I’d arrived safely and would call him in a week.
“The Living Centered Program is Onsite’s core program. It’s designed to help you bring your life back to center. Often life events, relationships, trauma, distorted or compulsive behaviors in yourself and those you love, depression, anxiety, codependency or the stresses of daily living can keep you from the peace and balance you desire. LCP has, at its foundation, an experiential group process supplemented by education and action for change. The first days of the program focus on the importance of knowing yourself, how you have become blocked from being all you can be, how you may avoid looking at yourself and how the sum of your past experiences may be affecting you today.”
After dinner, Bill Lokey, Onsite’s Clinical Director welcomed us. “This week is about you. You’re here to do individual work in a group setting. This is not about measured results. Its about our leaders sharing a broader perspective and giving you more tools to do your work. What each of you takes away is going to be very different. We’re here to walk the walk with you because we’ve all done it ourselves. While some of you may be dealing with overwhelming life issues, others have come to get in touch with your own hearts. Onsite isn’t a faith based program, but many who attend are seeking a higher level of spirituality. Its truly open to anyone who wishes to grow.”
Every day, every meditation, every lecture, every small group session, every delicious meal, every action-packed evening activity were filled with ah ha moments. Some participants say that six days at Onsite is the equivalent of 8-12 months of therapy. It’s difficult to quantify enlightenment, but that sounds about right to me.
My week at Onsite was, without question, transformative. Our group of forty strong had traveled a great distance since opening night. We came with vastly different stories but at the end of the day, we realized our basic human needs: to be heard, to be held, to be comforted, to feel safe, to be validated and to be loved.
I was ready to get back to my life. My new friends would go back there with me in my heart.
Trust the Process.