Precautions for Attending MultiDay Events (not just the one discussed here)
Only only go to an event, especially a multiday event, in your own car. Dont surrender your car keys or cell phone. If you need coffee to function, bring caffiene tablets and some protein powder in case they try to stick you on a low protein no-caffiene diet. A few energy bars up the sleeve are always good.
Dont surrender your car keys. Next, despite this being scorned as selfish and un Green, dont have anyone carpool with you. Why? Because if you decide you want to leave, if you have buddies who rely on you for transportation and they want to stay, you'll be stranded.
Tell them to send you the paperwork you will have to sign as a condition of participating. This can be sent online via a pdf file.
What you want to know before you send payment is whether you will have to sign you are asked to sign paperwork in which you relinquish any right to sue or mediate for damages in case you are harmed during one of their workshops.
If you are expected to take responsiblity for your life, any program (not only the one discussed here, but any program) should take responsiblity for its life transforming potential by acknowledging there are possible risks.
Physicians and licensed therapists do not require patients or clients to sign away rights to sue or mediate for damages in case of harm.
If they dont let you see the paperwork until you are at the event, insist on sitting in a quiet coerner to read it. Get out if you are not allowed to do this.
Ask (loudly)whether there will be breaks and how often they will arrange breaks.
Demand to know how late in the evening the event will be.
Dont disclose too much personal information on forms. You need to know if they are taking precautions about confidentiality. You dont have to tell total strangers what you do for a living. Thats between you and the tax revenue department. You dont know who handles the data at their office. What if someone splits and decides to swipe a list of names and sell it?
Ask if you are going to sharing intimate painful material from your life during the event. Ask also whether you will be filmed or recorded or if anyone will be taking notes. If they are evasive or try to put you on the defensive ('Why are you being so negative?') get out.
Now...this advice goes for any human potential event, not just the one being discussed here.
Someone may read this and say 'Oh, you are so negative and paranoid. Why not be open?'
The question is---open to WHAT?'
Here's the thing. These things are adventures.
People who take adventures in the great outdoors always plan for a possible emergency. People engaged in rock climbing, camping, hiking, take care to bring maps, carry rain gear, water purifyier tablets and food. They will also leave word with friends and families about where they go, and what route they plan to take and when they plan to come back.
THat way, if they fall and break a leg and dont come home on schedule, someone will have the information needed to inform the Search and Rescue unit that covers the area.
This pre-planning is not paranoia. It is realism and respects that all true adventure includes the unknown and risk.
Well, we need to know how to prepare for social/pschological adventures.
The folks who run these programs plan the event and the environment very carefully.
THose of us whom they want to attend as new members--we need to plan too.
So that if we see that a storm is brewing we have our own means of transportation and can go home.
And if someone says, 'But you have not experienced this, how dare you pass judgement'
I would reply 'Experiences can be misleading. There are some kinds of experiences I *know* I can do without.'
And valuing heart and experience at expense of the mind is not
a divine truth. And it is not a stance that transcends and includes all else.
Instead it expresses a bias that is not transcendental, but originateds in a particular belief system--in this case, Romanticism. Romanticism, a Western belief system and set of attitudes, arose from the middle and upper middle classes starting in the mid-18th Century. Much of what we think we know about "shamanism", buddhism, and other Asian religions has been biased and filtered through Western Romanticism, which priviliges experience and heart and self expression. Romanticism exists only among those who dont have to worry where their next meal or set of meals, come from.