Open, Vulnerable, Connected
Goals of the series
This is a series of workshops with a big goal: to give singles and couples actual direct experience being open, vulnerable and connected. Additionally, it will help attendees transition their interpersonal interactions from:
- Fear to Desire
- Discomfort to Pleasure
- Scarcity to Abundance
- Victim to Having Choice (External focus to Internal focus)
Long term, TurnOn Toronto plans to morph this series of workshops into one or more intensive multi-day events. For now, we are testing out concepts and bringing the pieces together. Most of the skills taught apply to all human interactions; some are targeted at interactions within a relationship. You can attend as a single or as a couple. We encourage participants to do exercises with multiple partners even if you are attending as a couple. These are life-changing skills.
Overview: What to expect
Our emphasis is on a wide range of communication skills. There is your Inner Game – dealing with your own limiting beliefs and giving yourself permission to grow and improve – and your Outer Game – what you actually say and do with your partner. Very often, Inner and Outer game elements are so closely intertwined that they need to be covered together. Attention, vulnerability and surrender are themes that will run through the entire series. These are the “low level operators” of powerful communication.
This series represents programs that are in development. Things may change at the last minute. The expected pace is roughly one workshop per week. We will often record or film workshops or segments of workshops so we can review and improve delivery. While it will be a powerful experience to attend all of the workshops, they will be structured so that missing a few will not invalidate your experience.
Chances are good that the entire series will be repeated at least once.
Learning Vulnerability 1
Our Vulnerability card game creates opportunities for people to practice opening up and being vulnerable with others. Participating also creates opportunities to learn how to respond to someone else’s vulnerability and how to negotiate the gradual escalation of vulnerability with another person.
The game is based on a psychological study done in the mid 90’s. Google “36 questions to fall in love” and there are hundreds of hits. We’ve taken the game and over a couple of iterations, expanded and adjusted the questions to 52 – and each corresponds to a card in a normal card deck.
Delicate Conversations 1
Our culture installs huge amounts of charge, guilt and shame in all of us around sex, money and power. This makes knowing what we really want difficult, talking about it more difficult and asking for what we want extremely difficult. It has always struck me as inappropriate that the most powerful and intimate of all human communication, when it is operating at full force, is referred to as “dirty talk”. We will learn how to communicate deeply – and remove the stigma. In #1 we will start getting comfortable talking about sexual matters and then do a series of exercises where we explore the giving and receiving of non-sexual touch and making requests
The first thing we will do here is to dispel a lot of urban myths that Hollywood has created around hypnosis. This ties in well with vulnerability and surrender – a trance state is one where our minds are open and accepting. A trance state is simply a different perspective. We will learn to enter trance states, to guide partners into trance states and the basics of how communication is slightly different when trance states are involved.
Hypnosis is not a spectator sport and it’s not something you do TO someone – it’s more like a dance or a conversation between two people. Something you do WITH someone.
In H2, we learn simple hypnotic language in the context of any kind of relationship, and the extraordinarily powerful Tell Me game.
Most of us humans have difficulty being congruent – free of inner conflict – about anything. We also have difficulty being open and vulnerable. The Vulnerability game starts us down the path to vulnerability. This session takes us much farther AND begins serious training in learning how to be congruent. I learned this pattern from Mark Cunningham and it is so beneficial that I use it and teach it everywhere I possibly can.
Delicate Conversations 2
In DC2, we continue talking about desires. In a comitted relationship, this often means sexual – the reality goes far beyond. This will be a deeper exploration of asking for what you want AND the art of talking about what you are doing.
We’ll continue exercises in the workshop around non-sexual touch. The invitation is always for participants to push the edges of their comfort zone. We will explore each of the five themes that allow deep vulnerability: Volition, safety, variety, connection and a sense of growth. How do we access these themes within ourselves and how do we talk about them with a partner?
Emotional Mastery 1
We will explore what emotions really are – how to accept them, how to really notice them, how to talk about and describe them, how to share them (amazingly powerful in any kind of relationship), how to play with them, how to amplify and diminish them – i.e. how to gain mastery and leverage over all emotions to empower ourselves. This first EM will be devoted to accessing sensations in your body and learning how to describe them.
In H3, we explore basic sensual communication with hypnotic language and begin Inner Game exercises. We will build directly on the Emotional Mastery material and explore how sensation and emotion can be amplified, diminished or morphed using hypnotic language. We will also teach all the participants powerful and robust techniques for self hypnosis and bypassing limiting beliefs.
We start out with existing experiences. When I ask my partner to remember a time when we had a lovely experience, that experience is re-vivified in his/her mind. This is an Inner Experience. We refer to it as Fantasy because any time we remember anything, it gets changed a bit. I can start to get creative and modify a past experience; I can talk about what we plan (or what I plan) to do this evening. Whether it happens or not, as I talk about it, it is Fantasy.
Emotional Mastery 2
We continue to focus on detecting sensations and describing them and we add skills at eliciting and understanding someone else’s sensations. For most people, the learnings in this session come as a big surprise. Emotions, as we talk about them, are not real. The bricks and mortar of emotion are the sensations we experience in our body – a realm almost totally unstudied in the world of psychological literature. Prepare for surprises.
In H4, we go deeper into sensual details, using what we’ve learned in EM2 to explore how sensations actually work. We humans have the capacity to create our own sensations. When guided with positive intent in the context of a loving relationship, this evolves into a tool for powerful connection.
We will also teach negativity clearing techniques that participants can use in real life..
Delicate conversations 3
In #3, we start pushing the boundaries of comfort zones around desire. Management and clarity around personal boundaries make a person strong and easy to be with – whether for love or any other reason. We dig deep into exercises that help people identify their own boundaries and determine whether they really “own” them or whether they’ve just blindly accepted someone else’s version. This depth of awareness requires exploring crossing boundaries. Remember: the most serious addiction in modern days is the Comfort Zone. Growth only happens when you press outside it.
Emotional Mastery 3
We explore what can be done with sensations – how they can be played with and the amazing things that happen when we do. EM3 is the first of two workshops where we teach the fine art of “playing” with sensations. The distinction between this play and hypnotic symbol manipulation is rather fuzzy – that’s why we do the hypnosis exercises first. People never cease to amaze me and themselves with the incredible range of internal sensory representations for very nuanced emotional states. Once they discover that all this is malleable at will, life starts to become fun!
We can go far beyond existing experiences and begin creating adventures that involve role-playing; we can create adventures that are physically impossible. The skills here are attention, vulnerability and surrender – finding out what sort of inner experience or fantasy my partner will enjoy (they often have no idea); learning to create coherent experiences; learning to share the experience; learning how to establish signals so you know when your partner wants more and when they want less.
Emotional Mastery 4
We explore getting a little wild in a relationship context – really spicing things up. After all, this series is about going deep into openness, vulnerability and connection. Let’s explore just what can be done with sensations. What makes sense in a sexual relationship, what makes sense in non-sexual relationships? What needs to be stronger? What do each of you want to strengthen or explore? Sense of volition? Sense of safety? Sense of variety? Sense of connection? Sense of extension / growth?
Here we explore boundaries and the differences between a real life boundary and a hypnotic boundary. This session is an opportunity to begin serious exploration around what each participant wants to discover. Remember, fantasy can be re-living old experiences, playing roles, exploring taboo, transforming the impossible into sensual experience. It also creates the challenge of negotiating a suitable fantasy with whoever you pair up with.
If we gave a final exam for this series, this would be it. We repeat the card game that kicked off the series. Remember – it offers people the opportunity to be open and vulnerable with others. We started cold. Now everyone in the program has had a LOT of experience with a great many aspects of the open and the vulnerable. Get a sense of how much you’ve grown.
Wrap-up and Party
What better way to wrap things up than with a PARTY! But first, we will recap all of the ground we’ve covered and get first person descriptions of just what everyone has gained from the series. Then we have a party as a group of open, vulnerable connected and empowered friends. Then we turn you loose on the unsuspecting world.