It’s The Feelings, Folks!

By walking into the classroom, a slight-built Japanese man silenced 12 people. The energy of his powerful presence assured the claim he was one of the best in his field.

I liked him at once.  Able to command immediate attention from 12 extroverts, all wanting to brag about the last group they facilitated, he was the teacher I sought.  At 28 years of age, I wanted to be the best management trainer possible.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Dick Arima.  No…please refrain from speaking for the next while.”  He smiled, working the pause with ease.  “You’ll understand in a few moments.”

“It’s my hope you’ve come to these sessions in Montreal because you are passionate about helping people learn.  I don’t want you to tell me – I want you to show me who you are.  Please follow me into the gymnasium next door.”  We stood up and began to follow our teacher through a single door that was part of a folding wall.

Once in the gym, we were to choose one of 12 lines taped to the floor, running across the width of the gym.   At one end of the lines was written a giant “#1”.  On the opposite ends, a large “#10”.

Dick told us he would make statements.  We were to stand in the middle of the line, eyes closed, listen to the statement and decide where we fit – a definite “Yes” (#10) or a determined “No” (#1).  Once decided, we could open our eyes and move to the appropriate spot on our line.  We could not change our minds or speak until he asked us a question.

He began, “The first statement: I am an effective trainer.

I didn’t like the question.  It was too exposing.  If ‘yes’, why was I here?  If no, why was I here?  I heard people shuffling.  I couldn’t make up my mind.  ‘I’ll just go for it’ I decided, opened my eyes and went to the safe #6 position.  I looked around the gym.  We were all 5 or better.  Two men were hanging around #9.

“Let’s only break the silence to answer questions I pose.  I’ll ask you to tell us the reason for your position.”

Obviously I needed to take more time to move beyond shallow and hurried reponses.

We went through eight more statements.  Each required deeper soul searching.  Struggling to access my truth before moving to the spot, too often I wanted to alter my choice after others expressed their depth.  I had been stopping short of revealing the real intimacy that fueled my life.  I shielded my spiritual self.

Dick questioned us in a bubble of acceptance.  He supported rather than judged.  I felt no threat or shame.

Finally, it was time for the last statement: “A trip to Jamaica would be more significant for you than a trip to Winnipeg.”

This time, I responded immediately.  I opened my eyes and moved to #1 – No!

The others, also responding quickly, positioned themselves between #7 & #10.  I’d finally tapped an authentic vein, but felt over-exposed. I dreaded the prospect of answering Dick’s questions.

Dick took everyone else through their paces, leaving me until last.

Then it was my turn.

“For me, it’s the feelings I experience that makes the trip significant.  I could go to either place and find enrichment beyond measure.  It could be through stories, experiences or a simple discovery.  A life-changing gem could fall into place and transform my life in any location – no matter its beauty.  It’s how I feel that makes it significant for me.”

“Thank you,” Dick said with a smile.  His lack of questioning told me all I needed to know.  He said, “Let’s return to the classroom and talk about what just happened.”

Dick Arima’s powerful and insightful training techniques continue to serve many aspects of my life.  Affecting mind, body and soul, it’s possible to benefit from love-filled subtleties that cause people to say, “What just happened?”

I can find no trace of Dick Arima on Google – he would have retired many years before the Internet.  But Maya Angelou’s quote often brings him to mind:  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Built in 1901 and deserted, I am, nevertheless, the keeper of diverse,  expansive and cherished feelings.

Built in 1901, a home now deserted.  It is, nevertheless, a vault of diverse, expansive and cherished feelings.

Dramatic beauty seals my joy over good news...a moment, a view locked in feeling.

Dramatic beauty seals my joy from good news…a moment, a view, a nanosecond of humbleness locked in feeling.

A dear friend, a long-time walk buddy, Helga, climb a local mountain.  She found a Faerie Door!

A dear friend, a long-time walk buddy, Helga, as we climb a local mountain. She found a Faerie Door!

At the summit, we look north and see one of our ferries docked on the lower right. We both love and hate ferries - it comes with island living.

At the summit, we look north and see one of our ferries docked on the lower right. We love and hate ferries – feeling from island living.

As we meditate, breathe deep and speak our gratitude, a plane drifts by below.  I zoomed and blurred...

As we meditate, breathe deep and speak our gratitude, a plane drifts by below. I zoomed…

Before descent, one last look west - over the jut of land on Vancouver Island where bear and cougar swim across at low tide.

Before descent, one last look west – over the jut of land on Vancouver Island where bear and cougar swim across at low tide.

My new walk buddy, Dawn, whose quick pace is going to keep my lungs in good shape.

My new walk buddy, Dawn, whose quick pace is going to keep my lungs in good shape.  Look forward to many trails, Dawn!

Dawn and I passed an old barn, leaking it's colour into fall leaves.  (I thought of you, Mel!)

Dawn and I passed an old barn, leaking it’s colour into fall leaves. (I thought of you, Mel!)

Feelings feeding memories,

a larder rich

with nourishment.

Soul feast.

31 thoughts on “It’s The Feelings, Folks!

  1. Pingback: It’s The Feelings, Folks! | Soul Dipper

  2. Inspired by the article, got refreshed looking at the pics along with your lively description. “Dramatic beauty seals my joy from good news…a moment, a view, a nanosecond of humbleness locked in feeling”. Extremely liked these words and the pic. Thanks for the lovely article 🙂

  3. A soulfest indeed. I’ve learned from people like Dick too, not always instructors but always teachers.

    There’s a soulfest in the silence of your lovely photographs too.

    Lovely post, Amy. 🙂

  4. A beautifully constructed post Amy… I wonder if memories also feed feelings, help to keep them alive? There’s so much to think about here! I need to go away and digest. Like fine wine and good cheese, your words require time! Thank you for feeding my mind, heart and soul. A soul feast indeed xx

    • Oh, yes, Jaq, I think they do – memories feed feelings. An initial feeling creates a well-held memory and the cycling begins. Sometimes when I am reminded of a great moment, the feeling seems to return even stronger. Or maybe it has more seasoning so it seems sharper, more profound. I do this a lot with memories I shared with/of my mother.

    • They rule our lives, Sheila, don’t they? Their schedules dictate our days and, like airports, we rush to be there an hour ahead of time so we can wait. However, it does give us lots of meditation time. As one islander says, the ferry trip is the time used for shedding the rush of city and all its pressures.

  5. Dear Amy,

    I found that story of Dick Arema’s session empowering and thought-provoking. While I loved that last response of yours, I would be curious to hear some more of the analysis and observations which Dick would have made after you returned back to the classroom.

    What is it really that holds us from speaking our heart in a group? What is it that makes us more dependent on the logic of our minds more than the emotional sense that the heart conveys? Is this a learned response, some facets of our education or the belief that our brains and logic remains more aligned to how we would like to show up ?

    I also remain curious about these beautiful photos that you have posted and their relationship to the post. I do however see how they are integral to your feelings!



    • Aha, Shakti, you’re asking for some of Dick’s wonderful training!

      The “take-up”, as we call it, was discussing how we knew so much more about ourselves and each other through this type of participation. Observation and quality questioning. This course was to train us how to be more effective trainers. However! While Dick taught us how to bring out the best in trainees, we pulled the skills out of ourselves as we experienced being trainees. Empathy.

      Merely sitting in class telling others who we were or what we wanted from the course would have robbed us of a great deal of information – about ourselves and each other. It’s subtle and powerful.

      What holds us back from speaking our hearts? My experience and opinion only:

      One part of my answer is that I could be rejected, ridiculed or abandoned if you saw the real me. The old chestnut, “You won’t like me if you see the real me.”

      The other part of my answer – What is in my heart is so precious that I don’t want it tainted or attacked. What if it was questioned and I saw it wasn’t really my truth? Then what would I have? With what would I replace a diminished truth?

      Of course, as we season and mature, this is much less threatening. I like the phrase that describes intimacy – “In To Me You See.” It makes us vulnerable. The less confident we are, the more vulnerable we feel.

      The photos? They were times of significant feeling for me. They represent the truth I was finally able to share in Dick’s class – you can be anywhere to experience deep feelings that impact one’s life.

      In a nutshell, it’s about ‘living my true self’ in each moment. How can it possibly be done without feelings?

  6. A great memory to share, Amy, providing much food for thought. How brave of you to stand apart from the group ~ I applaud and agree with your reasoning! The photos of your walk demonstrate that you don’t have to embark on a grand trip to demonstrate your philosophy ~ you can practice it every day! 🙂

  7. The color of the old barn is so patriotic!

    For some reason, this post brought to mind two lovely Canadian men that I met while on Vancouver Island with two other girlfriends many moons ago. I won’t go into the long story of how we met this gentlemen, but what they gave the three of us was a memory to treasure for a lifetime. They picked us up on Sunday morning at our motel and drove us to the marina where one of them owned a beautiful wooden boat. Then these 2 fellows loaded us up, along with lunch which they would later cook onboard, using a camp stove, and spent the day showing us the Canadian islands. They were so sweet, so honest and non threatening, I think all 3 of us fell in love with them. (Hence the safety?) There was little to no communication with them after this lovely day, but they sent 3 American women home bathed in the type of love women of our age rarely encountered.

    I can’t explain why this event came to mind as I read about your management trainer. The connection happened before I came to the lovely pictures at the end of your post…which really enhanced my memory of that day. I guess it was the feelings I experienced that day that etched the experience into my soul!

    • I totally understand why this memory came to mind, Linda. Yes, you’re right. It’s a perfect example of “remembering” thanks to the feelings associated with these men. I remember my mom telling me about “falling deeply in love” momentarily with a man she encountered for only minutes. I asked her if she ever regretted not pursuing this possibility. “What?” she said. “And ruin it?”

      Wise ol’ bird!

  8. He was, indeed, an effective teacher in that together, you learned something that changed you and that you never forgot. You are like him, Amy. May we all aspire to be open to that kind of inspiration… Namaste

    • His influence certainly went deep, Lorna, because I saw, respected and wanted to revere the gentle, spiritual nature I recognized immediately. His was the 3rd program I attended regarding teaching adults. When I got back to my office, I was given license to completely revamp the management training programs. (I was the Training Officer for a Canadian financial firm.) Thereafter, participants reviewed management principles, then came to the sessions where they performed management tasks. While doing the tasks, they contracted to observe and assess methodologies of another participant – and be observed non-reciprocally. They were then both a manager and employee. It was quite a step away from the conventional and the approach was under a lot of scrutiny. The results the managers pulled off once back in their offices spoke for themselves. And everyone enjoyed learning.

  9. I read this one a number of times, as I frequently do here. Wow was there a lot in here for me. (of course it’s about mememe….LOL) What’s the point in getting the lesson dropped in your lap if you don’t search your own ‘methodologies’ and look?
    First of all, I want you to know the word ‘vulnerable’ always gets me rankled. It’s a lousy excuse, in my book. One we frequently pull out and toss on the table. G’head and try to guard your heart…..lemme know how that works for ya. And the illusion that you ‘hurt less’……..great lie we tell ourselves, yes? We cheat ourselves out of so much with those lies. And OH MY GOSH how we cheat everyone around us…..*sigh* (I’ll kick that soap box now…LOL)

    Second–I applaud the ‘teacher’ who made ya’ll shush and DO IT instead of just crowing it…..and I’ll applaud you standing at the “1” and being willing to talk what’s true for you in a crowd (if even a small one). Maybe it’s just a bit of who Mel IS…..I enjoy the adversity (it creates opportunity) and “uncomfortability” that somehow gets created when I speak/chase my passion (and share the spiritual connection of it) with one or with a hundred.. I’m alright being a part of helping disturbing others and I adore staying true to me. It’s taken a lot of lessons to rest in just BEING who Mel IS. And the perk is–there’s one or two or six dozen who find you and WANT to live in the passion that they somehow think YOU gave them permission to live in. Ummmmm..yeah…wasn’t ME and I do let them know that, but boy…it’s a cool thing. To be used to help others find that…….is very cool indeed. And I’m humbled AND grateful I ‘get to’.
    Sounds like the teacher taught the pupil who now teaches the pupil(s)…. Ripples, dearheart….ripples. And it’s amazingly awesome to be able to look back and look around and know that’s only a BIT of where the ripple went.
    Right….LOL Another soap box I’ll get to kick away.
    Sounds like the man got used well……and the ripple lives on….
    Thanks for touching my life with that ripple! 🙂

    • About vulnerability, Mel…I so agree. Once we catch on to its power to free us, courage grows proportionately.

      About that great teacher? I can only hope that some of Dick Arima’s offspring google him and find this post. They ought to know how he lives on. I am so awed by my readers who SEE. You bring blessings many-fold by your propensity to see beyond the obvious.

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