so, the second day, we did some several exercises.

one was called THE RELEASE PROCESS. they turn down the lights almost completely. you're supposed to visualize an album of you. and each page you go back is a year back in your life. so it's just an album of collages and people in your life, etc etc etc.

and you do the same with your mom and dad (i'm skipping a lot because it would take too long to explain...). one at a time, you imagine your dad's album first and then your mom's. with both, you're supposed to find the "chapter" with the pics that have the most painful memories of your mom or dad and rip it out of the book. then you "put it" on the chair. and then you beat the hell out of it. and then you "sweep" it away. man, people were just beating the shit out of their chairs. it was unbelievable. pounding and screaming and crying...

and then you're supposed to imagine your mom or dad in front of you. and then you imagine what you would say to them if this was the last time you could ever talk to them. all around me... almost every person i could hear was saying "mommy, i love you..." "daddy, i love you..." and one person... very clearly... i heard "i HATE you"... and then for mom, it was i FUCKING HATE YOU! these people have some serious mommy and daddy ish. it was amazing.

i tried really hard, but couldn't think about issues i had with my mom and dad. they are annoying, sure, but i was never really truly hurt or abandoned by them. so i don't think i got too much out of that whole exercise. more than anything, i felt lucky.

there was this other activity. we got into 2 circles, one inside the other. we faced each other. we had to look at the person in front of us and vote with our fingers 1, 2, 3, or 4. (we couldn't talk to them.) one finger meant, i don't want to have anything to do with you. i don't even want to look at you. 2 fingers meant, i just want to make eye contact with you. 3 fingers, i want to shake your hand and make eye contact. 4 fingers, i want to give you a (non-sexual, non-grinding) hug.

of course, i'm right in front of my dad... and he's fucking around as usual. i put up 4, he puts up 1. so i said FINE. and ignored him. and he's like, trying to put up his 4 fingers to hug me and i told him FORGET IT. stop joking around! jeezus. it's not that i was taking it all seriously and shit, but i knew that all of these people there... they really had a lot of pain in their lives.... and all they want is some attention. this is really serious for them. and i didn't want to take it lightly. normally i don't care about people if i don't know them. but... i guess i just felt like, these people all had so much pain... and we had something in common with a loved one in that school program. anyway, after a long hug, both circles are supposed to step to the left. and that signifies a whole new experience with a whole new person.

at any rate, later i saw this guy... the first thing i thought was, "oh hell no. i ain't huggin' this man." he looked... shady, to say the least. and then we had to make eye contact. i grew up learning that eye contact was rude. so this exercise was pretty damned difficult for me.

anyway, i stared at him for 10-15 seconds... which really felt like it was a longer time than that. and as i stared into his eyes... they looked just like my friend's. so, we both voted 4 and hugged. now, we're not supposed to talk, but when he hugged me, he started sobbing. and he said, "oh thank you. i thought you didn't want to hug me."...

now that's some neediness. good god. these people all just want approval. it's weird.

after a while, i just started voting 4 for everyone. because it's easier for me to hug someone than to make eye contact. might sound weird... but it's true. it was bad enough i had to stare at them for 10-15 seconds... i couldn't take making eye contact for any longer. i hugged 20+ strangers that night.

all these people are rich... successful... with the exception of only a few, money is no object. and they need so much love. it's really, really sad. i've never seen such a large group of pathetic, needy people in my life...

so, again, saturday went until midnight. i think they break through your defenses by keeping you tired. there were moments when i cried... when i know i would normally not cry. it was mostly because i was tired and sore... i had a hard time keeping my own thoughts whole. i was kinda just going along with everything because i was too tired to think. it was really weird.

anyway, these kids in the program go through a very similar process. i think something like this may break my brother. not completely, but he might think a little bit more about things... i hope. i really do.


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