It began as a vision in New York City, and it was so strong that it caused me to give up everything I knew to move to a city I had never lived in, where I had only 4 contacts, in order to say yes to something that was calling me.
In January of 2008, I landed in Los Angeles with my husband and no clue how this was going to happen, but with faith that it would. I wanted to do work that held power differently. I wanted to say yes to the wisdom of the group. In some ways I had no idea what I was doing but I was willing. In September of 2008 we began our first class in my office at the Santa Monica Airport. We began as the Radical Aliveness Core Energetics Institute. What a group of pioneers. They knew they were the first, they took their role seriously, they dove in with an intention to set the template, and they did.
By the next year we had to move to accommodate another class, and as has always been the case with this school- a space came. We moved to Temescal Park and welcomed a second year that was full of fire and fury and wildness and life and willingness to dive in all the way. YES TO EVERYTHING, if I couldn’t have named it as a principle yet — that class embodied it.
We stayed there one more year, with more people coming from all over the world and all over the country. With their cultures and their languages and their ways of being they helped to develop ME and the community and the work. I know that sometimes it was not fast enough for them, I know that people got hurt along the way, but I want to thank them, I was willing to be changed and I have been changed. That lives at the heart of this work.
We kept moving and students have kept coming. Every year brings new people with more perspectives, speaking what is true for them, allowing this work to change, to grow, to mature because they have been willing to participate fully.
We have moved 8 times in 10 years. Sometimes this feels like the little school that could. We always find a way. We have graduates who do this work in innovative ways all over the world. Some work in prisons, in organizations, in schools, in mosques, in churches, and they do workshops and see clients.
Along the way we have become a non-profit and have been recognized by the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy, and as a CEU Provider for the California Association of Marriage and Family therapists. Five years ago we became The Radical Aliveness Institute. We are a non-expert model, we develop the self as instrument, we are a program and curriculum and way of working that stands on its own. We commit to always evolving and learning.
We have had loss and doubt and conflict and pushback and criticism and pain and mistakes. A good vision couldn’t possibly have it any other way. We keep growing a community and a way of working that moves closer and closer to what the vision is calling us to become. We have always had beautiful teachers who helped us to hold this school. And now we have a number of teachers who are graduates. They bring the DNA of the vision in their cells and keep grounding this work and the school into the huge container it is meant to be.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the RAI. The 11th year feels like we are coming home. Home to LA. Home to what this work is. Home to the ground of the vision. And none of it could have been done without everything that came before: the not knowing, the fear, the times of doubt, the impact, the discomfort and the joy, let’s not forget the tremendous joy. We have done this together, that is the vision, a different way of holding power where the voices and perspectives have played a vital role in how this work evolves.
What have I learned? Oh, so much more than I could ever say. I know we have all been socialized. I know that we have learned to make meaning of the world in a myriad of different ways. I know there is distance between us, and that if we can come home to ourselves, we can stand with that distance and be curious to know the perspectives that stand in front of us. This gives me so much hope. We have so much to learn from each other. I have learned to allow my eyes to be opened, and to be willing to feel the pain of knowing there have been so many times my eyes were closed. I have learned that no matter how much love I have, if I am unwilling to allow my eyes to be opened, and myself to be changed by my encounters, I will cause harm. I know that when we are willing to feel our pain we will not transmit it. I know we are all doing the best we can and this is a journey. And I have learned that when we know better, we do better. I know we will be learning forever.
Principles of Radical Aliveness:
Knowing I don’t know
Saying yes to everything
Being willing to be changed
Honoring multiple perspectives
Cultivating a non-shaming heart and attitude
Do no harm