Psychology festival of learning

It’s been difficult to come up with material for this blog…which I think is understandable, given the nature of what I’d planned for this blog. Addiction is never easy to admit to, much less talk about jovially and I applaud the people who can. I’ve had a few that I can’t own up to quite yet but once in a while I reach a point where I simply have to let it go and then it becomes something I can own and live through and thrive because of it. One such addiction has been more focused on the brain, I’m addicted to figuring out what I am and I still feel ashamed about it sometimes but I think it’s time to let go of that shame and own it.

I decided to feed my addiction by allowing the good nature of the Universe to lead me to good people who understand that this world needs more carers and their lives become a vote for exactly that. Because of this, I got to attend what I thought would be a blaring affair of amplified instruction on something slightly related to psychology but watered down for the masses (my pessimism has no place to go so I’m taking care of him until he gets back on his feet). This event turned out to be quite the intimate affair. As I walked in, bracing my ears for the onslaught of speakers, I was serenaded toward the entrance by what can only be described as an enchantress. Her singing lulled me into a state of sweet compliance and this continued all through the night. My perspective was changing, coming all this way might actually have been worth. (They had really good food you guys, like, I’m vegetarian so I know good food when I taste it hey, just saying)

The South African College of Applied Psychology(SACAP) hosted the Psychology Festival of Learning and held sessions, almost workshop like programs. I know my being got a real work out in those sessions. On the first night I attended, after gorging myself on the mini-quiches that were laid out buffet style, I panicked at the thought of falling asleep after my little meal but as it turned out, I didn’t have a chance to. The next two or so hours were dotted with short, 15 minute talks that reminded me of those refreshing bursts of spritzer on a hot Cape Town day. From the story of a local hospital(The Lentegeur Spring: Recovery and hope in a psychiatric institution) to conceptual tools aiding conscious change and inspiring us with the story of a man named Andreas Banetsi who saw the plight in his own community for psychological services and is pushing to meet that need with fierce determination. I mean the guy bought a bus and is using it to give people a safe environment to come to terms with their reality and live healthy lives, that’s hero material right there. That was an amazing night. The kicker was using Uber to get home, loved it!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it for the full day program on Friday…folks needed me. Forget the food though, the menu for that Friday program was a feast in itself. Anyway…I did sate my mind on Saturday. Also dripping with choice, Saturday gave me an Introduction to Mindfulness(pretty serendipitous if you ask me) and as a beginners guide to walking through a mini existential crisis was Knowing Ourselves as Such. The speakers, Mandy Johnson and Patrick Madden, made good use of the intimate atmosphere and got to know each participant on a personal level, which I feel is impressive, making 8 people(the participating audience) feel instantly at home and gently guide us through such a personal experience without any pressure or discomfort is no little feat. If the levels of sincerity and honesty in that building could be measured the readings would have set records for decades. I’ve never experienced my humanity with so many people in the same space and felt so accepted and whole.

My gushing will stop now, you know how it is when you get your first hit of what you know will be a long and prosperous addiction. You can’t stop thinking about it and I wish I wasn’t a “don’t kiss and tell” kind of guy but I am. Hell, I’ve bitten the apple on this one, probably with the same amount of fervor that Eve did those few years ago in the Garden.

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