After completing iEvolve, I knew I wanted more. Because I live near Geneva, Switzerland, I didn’t even consider The Foundation Course. Flying to London every week for three months, seriously…. But here was an opportunity to go more deeply, the possibility of transformation. I repeatedly asked my friend who introduced me to Concord “was it really worth it, what did he get out of it, what did he think it would bring me?” I was in between jobs, so the timing was okay. It just sounded crazy to me, and the cost… I made a budget and rationalized it was do-able. Still I struggled. In the end, I decided that growth beyond the patterns and life occurrences that had left me burnt-out, unhappy, unfulfilled with very low energy had to be my priority. I said Yes to life!

The journey of The Foundation Course has brought me to a place where I experience freedom to show up more authentically, beyond the stifling grip of patterns that have snagged me and held me back from living life more joyfully. And when I do invariably get snagged, for we are all works in progress, there’s more freedom around that too. I can recognize it (sometimes later than sooner!), get curious and look for learning, all the while giving myself the huge gift of loving compassion. Life is brighter and has more possibilities. I have more space around and distance from things that happen, which gives me more choice about how I show up. It’s empowering.

And, no pain no gain; transformation, like birth, is messy. Everyone’s experience is uniquely theirs, and to an extent, you get out of it what you put into it. My journey was intense, deep and liberating.

The diverse and varied bodywork and glorious wholefood cooking we did as a group and individually were unexpectedly rich experiences. They were the terrain of the hero’s journey, where hidden traps and pitfalls (of my own making) confronted me and revelations and light bulb moments inspired me. As I tend to be very “mental”, in my head, the practices enabled, required me to stay focused and present.

The cooking was delightful, once I surrendered to making the time for it. That happened when my coach challenged me to consider what I had at stake in this process. The immediate response was if I’m spending all this time and money to go to London every week I bloody well better give it my best effort. Besides that, I was in it for transformation, for my life. I was excited to learn new ways of seriously healthy cooking and delighted at the richness and depth of flavour that was possible – a real soul and body nourishing experience. I discovered the pleasure of the act of cooking versus feeling pressed to get the food on the table, to perform. Upon returning home to a sickening burnt smell (I hadn’t quite turned off the heat on my lovingly prepared drop lid soup) I realized that cooking is unforgiving if you get distracted. What a great practice to keep me present and focused, which I then applied as I laboriously scraped a centimetre or two of carbonized veg out of the bottom of my enamel pot.

Caught up in hurrying mode to catch a bus to the train to the plane, I slipped off a curb and pulled a muscle in my butt. That was, of course, the first day of Bodywork. I saw the lesson of hurrying, going unconscious. Though now I’m getting much better at it, traditionally I’ve not been one to learn my lesson the first go around and am a proven expert at falling into the same patterns. No really, I’m not a masochist, I’ve reassured myself. I’ve learned to query if my behavior is feeding “the pattern,” perpetuating myself as I know me, and what I’m getting out of it.…

So, hurrying through the airport on another trip, I had the sudden inspiration to just relax and take long strides, and lo and behold, I got there just as quickly, while preserving my energy and having a more pleasant experience. The programme had raised my awareness, created an opening for a new way of seeing and relating to my experience, enabling something creative to emerge.

I made it a practice of going to go to a Turkish spa in London; a somewhat dilapidated around the edges but charming relic of its former 1930s glory. I guiltily indulged in weekly deep tissue massages to relieve my perpetually tight upper back, shoulder and neck muscles. Over time as tension was released and I had more ease in my body, I also saw it as breaking down the body armour I’d developed as protection. Eventually, I permitted myself the luxury to really chill out and “be” in between sauna, steam bath and icy pool dips. In that space of non-doing I started to feel into my Self….

Through it all, I was both “lovingly” held and challenged by my coach, the facilitators, coaches, assistants and course participants. I was regaled and deeply nourished by amazingly delicious wholefood/macrobiotic meals served by a crew of assistants/wonderful kitchen elves.

I soared, crashed, resisted, melted, laughed, cried, witnessed and persisted. I plucked up my courage and was vulnerable and I lost, stalked, found, and forgave my Self. What a long, strange trip it’s been and will continue to be. Bring it on!

Andrea Zellner