This is the Message Centre for Fruitbat (Eric the)

Hi Fruitbat!

Post 1

Mort - a middle aged Girl Interrupted

I saw your entry in peer review so thought I would help you out with the GUideML as I thought one or two comments were a bit harsh.

Go to edit entry. Delete all of the text of your entry (trust me!)and update entry. Go to edit again and make sure the GUIDEML box is ticked (under the text boxt) and then click on change style.

You should have

in the white text box.

Copy and paste exactly the following text into the space between and

then update entry smiley - ok ( I have checked it and it works fine. You might also want to try and remove the first person references. Good Luck with it,smiley - smiley Mort

Personal Growth Workshops

There are many of these, with different agendas, intensities and durations. Most of these have been around for about 30 years and have gone through bouts of intense popularity and low attendance.

After a general introduction, this is a semi-personal account of The Mastery of Self-Expression

Why we need Personal Growth Workshops (how the world keeps us small)

If we could do what needs doing by ourselves, most of us would be. But we can’t. Most of us have grown up believing that being ordinary is quite acceptable; for some, it is. Yet some people, underneath all of that, have the burning desire to be exceptional.

Throughout our lives we’re subject to the constant (uninvited, and often unwanted) input from friends, parents, authority figures, colleagues and most often, the media. These messages keep us small and feeling inadequate so that we’re comfortable for those people to be around.

My parents encouraged my dreams to stay small so that I wouldn’t be disappointed when I didn’t achieve them (and so that I didn’t step too far outside their comfort-zone); teachers sometimes squash dreams because the teacher thinks they’re impractical or impossible; institutions often squash dreams because the dreamer has stepped outside of the ‘acceptability’ box.

Media reports of people doing extraordinary (to the rest of us) things result in the conclusion ‘sure, I could do that in their place, with that training, with that support’....yet few of us actually achieve the feats of these others because we’re content with keeping what we’ve got and we genuinely believe that we couldn’t do some of those things.

This is about inviting change; risking the known for the unknown; being willing to stand up and say ‘this is what I’m up to. Join me if you will.’ and then continuing on.

Why do a Personal Growth Workshop?
To have more conscious choices about behaviour, thoughts and words.


To step outside the box you’ve been put into, gaining effectiveness and personal powerIn this context, Personal power means being able to defy conventions to achieve something personally satisfying; to stand up against the forces that say ‘no’ with a powerful ‘yes’ and then push past them. This is about doing what you want to do because you want to do it, regardless of what anyone else says..
To boldly go where you’ve never been before and discover you really are capable, regardless of what they say.


Someone you know has just completed a workshop and displays some new behaviours or attitudes, and the results look extremely appealing....especially when they start achieving things that they wouldn’t previously have gone near.

The awareness by an individual that they feel themselves to be ‘missing’’s just out of reach, or around the corner where they can’t see it and the workshop promises to deliver it;

The gentle reminders from friends, colleagues or spouses that you might benefit from doing this - that they’re seeing something that you’re blind to, or frightened about....

The belief that this may improve an already good, or bad, situation;

I did The Mastery because I knew I had problems and didn’t know what they were....and wanted to change that. The advert I saw for The Mastery promised to alter what I had for what I hadn’t. I was eager to let go of what I had, which I knew didn’t work, for the promise of something that would. I waited while a friend did the current workshop because she didn’t want anyone she knew doing it with her....then my turn came: I took a leap of faith and won hugely.

How to find one

Most workshops do very little advertising through media; they rely on the results speaking for themselves:

Check in with your friends or colleagues, look in ‘new age’ magazines or local independent community papers for adverts. You’ll suddenly discover many connections that you never would have thought about seeking. There are also a multitude of web-sites of varying quality.

The Mastery of Self-Expression workshops are held regularly in Vancouver, BC, Los Angeles, London and Paris. All others are held irregularly.

The Outcome: strongly based upon the amount of effort put out by the individual participant. Someone who remains resistant to all the exercises and ideas througout any workshop will achieve very little change; one who throws him/herself into the process, trusting that this is going to work, will have a tremendous personal experience and gain hugely throughout.

Participants of The Mastery of Self-Expression report a variety of changes in themselves. Some feel empowered, others feel freer and more willing to take risks. All report the desire to fulfill themselves, taking on projects (either putting on plays or simply doing a dream holiday) that they’ve never believed they could actually accomplish.

Some people have discovered new life-partners through The Mastery; others have discovered that they wanted something else and amicably separated from a difficult situation. Babies have been born in the tribe; people have died - though this came many months after doing the workshop: nobody has ever died during a weekend, although they may have felt like that inside.

I had a strong physical reaction to being in the weekend. I had begun the process of releasing a lot of trapped emotional energy, which my musculature was holding tightly bound so that I couldn’t feel it. In some cases, relaxing the always-tense muscles was quite painful....but I knew I was gaining what I wanted, in a nurturing space, so I kept at it. This process continued over the course of two years, and as it did I gained greater and greater access to my emotions; I was also learning how to handle my reactions to the emotions of others.

Which one to choose?

....depends entirely on what’s being sought. The Mastery of Self-Expression is an emotionally-based workshop designed to provide each participant with different experience of themselves. Unfortunately, describing what happens in the workshop would be meaningless for you; this is experiential: you have to doit to understand.

All of these workshops are intended for adults; The Mastery may offer a separate workshop for teenagers.

The Mastery of Self-Expression

Is a three-day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) intensive, experiential workshop that uses principles designed for actors to release emotional blocks in participants, freeing them up to express themselves more clearly and effectively.

The weekend was created by New York actor and stockbroker Dan Fauci in 1976. He recognised that many actors had lost the passion for their craft and consequently their performances were suffering.

Actors recreate emotional states, from within themselves, to suit the needs of the script under the guidance of the director. If an actor has a psychological defence around going into a particular emotion then the performance they can give is weakened and they run the risk of losing work.

The experiential, emotional exercises used in the workshop support actors in pushing through those defences and free themselves of their psychological blocks. Additionally, The Mastery is conducted in a closed space: only those people who have done the workshop are allowed in. This provides an emotionally safe-space for participants to fully express themselves without censure or the perception of ‘screwing-up’. The weekend is a laboratory: mistakes through experimentation are expected.

Having participated in the first Actor’s Mastery, actor Ted Danson caused the workshop to be brought to Los Angeles when he discovered that his life had improved in addition to his acting.

This discovery caused the creation of a variation of the Actor’s Mastery to be created: The Mastery of Self-Expression.

This variant was intended for anyone to do the workshop. Since the creation of the non-actor’s Mastery, over 20,000 people in many nations have done the workshop and gained tremendously by it.

The Mastery of Self-Expression workshop has a strong theraputic/counselling undercurrent to it, although this is not the primary aim of the workshop. The psychological gain is that each participant is treated individually, with personal needs addressed. Because there are a group of participants all dealing with their own issues, the effect is both self-sustaining and powerfully encouraging: seeing others pushing themselves encourages me to push myself and everyone gains.

The Weekend

starts on Friday at 6pm and often goes quite late. Because the programme is individualised, each participant is given as much time as necessary to be worked with. The number of participants varies with each workshop. Generally, the minimum is 10 and the maximum is 25. These numbers have fluctuated dramatically over the years.
Friday is about getting there: showing up, being seen, learning the rules and getting sorted out.

The workshop starts again on Saturday morning at a time set the night before, based upon the hour at which Friday ended. Saturday is a series of emotional exercises that are built upon what was started on Friday, and also goes quite late. There is one large meal break toward dinner time. Participants are recommended to bring whatever sustenance they need to get through the day, provided that their supplies are not used to stuff down emotions.

Sunday’s starting time is set by Saturday’s finishing time. Sunday usually ends at 9 pm, after which there is a party for participants, family and friends.

Throughout the weekend there are regular breaks, usually every 90 minutes, with the occasional washroom break in the middle of those.

The Facilities

....will vary, depending upon what’s available in the city at the time. In Vancouver, the regular facility has a small kitchen with a sink and fridge, but no stove. Sometimes Assistants will bring in a microwave for general use.

The building itself is usually a free-standing hall. Hotels are not used because the workshop goes very late on Friday and Saturday nights, frequently gets quite loud and the workshop needs to be able to control the space.


are doing the workshop for the first, or sometimes 2nd or 3rd time. Each participant receives individual attention throughout the weekend when they are on ‘stage’ and each will have an individual reaction to it; very rarely do two people have the same experience, although many will have similar experiences.

The youngest participant was 14 and the eldest was 81. In Vancouver, the minimum age has now been set at 16. People of different financial/ethnic/religious/sexual backgrounds, disabilities and nationalities have done The Mastery.

The Assistants

are a group of Mastery grads, some of whom have done the weekend more than once. They are committed to being at the Mastery throughout the weekend and handle the logistics of making the workshop happen:

They arrive early and set up the space, maintain the security of the ‘safe space’ for the participants and keep the energy of the room focussed on the participant being worked with. They handle the tea/coffee/water supplies, clean cups and keep the participants focussed on their specific exercises. They leave after everyone else has left.

They are a vital part of making The Mastery happen; all their efforts are voluntary.

The Observers

...are a group of Mastery grads who cannot commit to being in the workshop for the entire weekend, but who show up for as long as they choose to be there for. Some stay for an entire day and then vanish, others show up for a few hours only. Others stay for the entire weekend anyway, without the duties of Assistants.

While Observers there there for their own reasons, they lend their energy to the room and focus their attention on the participants.

The Leader(s)

....have also done the Mastery and undergone several years of special training to lead/facilitate the workshop. There are often two or three leaders-in-training co-facilitating the Mastery with the main facilitator.

The Mastery Advocates:

Personal responsibility: you are responsible for your thoughts, actions and words. Therefore, you can change any part of yourself that you wish to. While you may have believed what your parents, teachers, siblings, friends or other authority figures told you throughout your life, you are now able to make conscious choices about continuing to believe those stories or make up your own.

Respect for others and self: as much as you may want to deny your actions, you know when you’re doing something personally destructive (cheating on a diet; being chronically late; breaking promises). By perpetuating this (these) behaviours, the message you are sending out is that you cannot be relied upon to keep your word. Changing these behaviours will bolster self-respect and the respect of others by proving yourself reliable.

Openness and honesty: this will make you vulnerable to others....and The Mastery believes you’re strong enough to be able to handle whatever others may have to say, or think or do about you. Openness and honesty puts you into alignment with intention and action, as well as respecting others’ ability to handle what you have to say.

Risk-taking: which ties in with being responsible. Playing in traffic isn’t risky; it’s stupid. Going to a nudist beach when you have body issues (it’s too big, too small, too fat, too thin, too....anything) and slowly becoming aware that nobody else cares is both responsible and personally risky.

Support Groups

Following the completion of The Mastery, participants are divided into support groups for maintaining the start they gained through the workshop. Some groups have been going for years while others last only a few months; dedicated memberships make for effective groups.

Having support can mean anything from soliticing advice on a given line of action to arranging with others to keep you on-purpose with an activity that’s desired and which may be terrifying in the beginning. This is also known as tough love.

An example: If I’m struggling with a piece of writing and going into resistance around it, one of my support-group might camp out in my living room to make sure that I sit down and start writing....regardless of the long as I get back into writing again.

The Community

A large and boisterous community has grow up from the ranks of Vancouver-based Mastery grads. These are people who’ve gathered together because they want to share their experiences, create new ones and be with each other in the process of exploring their lives.

Out of their passions and the community have arisen a Choir, sky-diving weekends, river-rafting trips, annual Winter and Summer house-parties, Theatre performances, baseball teams, and fun/fund-raising activities. People are seen to be stretching themselves; taking visible risks and being encouraged to do so.

Other Workshops

Context Training is intellectually-based workshop designed to make participants think about new paradigms for communication and action based upon questioning belief structures and methodologies. The three stages of this workshop are The Pursuit of Excellence; The Wall; The Advancement of Excellence.

My belief is that Context Training and The Mastery are complementary workshops, because they each deal with 1/3 of the whole individual (the final 1/3 is spirit) and give tremendous value to those wishing to push themselves.

Hi Fruitbat!

Post 2

Fruitbat (Eric the)

Hi Mort,

Thanks for those suggestions.


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