The Essence of BreakThrough 2

By Esther Veltheim

In this short article, I want to give you less of an intellectual synopsis of the BreakThrough 2 class and more of a feel for what we will be doing together.

When I was about 14 years old I saved up all my pocket money and signed up for an evening art course. They were night classes for adults, most of whom had painted for years and were very talented. The teacher had shown some reservations to letting me attend because of my age, but finally agreed.

I remember feeling so excited to be allowed in. It was the very first time I had ever used oil paints and real canvas and our first assignment was to paint a landscape. I poured my heart and soul into my painting and was just loving the whole process.

To this day I remember vividly how my painting looked. There was a grove of trees on a small hillock and a babbling brook. I had spent three evenings working on it and was almost finished, but I was having trouble making my water babble, so I raised my hand and asked the teacher if he would come and help me.

The teacher seemed impatient as he looked over my, perhaps, rather unconventional colors and style. He sighed, pushed me aside, picked up a paint brush and began daubing paint here there and, right before my eyes, he proceeded to paint over my entire painting; all the while muttering "grass is green, not orange......trees don't grow like that!"

All the other students, all grown ups, had stopped and gathered around to watch what he was doing. Despite their gasps he continued, resolute in the idea that what he was doing was right.

As I think back on this experience, forty something years later, it seems to me to be a perfect analogy for relationship. Instead of rings we might as well exchange paintbrushes and palates of paint in the marriage ceremony, or at the beginning of any significant relationship and life passage....the birth of a child; first day at school; starting a new job.

In BreakThrough 1 it becomes clear that we have to take responsibility for our own experiences if we are ever to reign over our own lives. We also realize that others only catalyze preexisting wounds within us, but don't cause them. BUT the fact remains that the way we live our lives does impact on others. The way we color our own lives does rub off on the lives of others. The way others color their lives does rub off on our life. So, what do we do about that?

How can we live the authentic life if we are in relationship, for example, with someone who behaves abusively, dishonestly and unethically? Yes, for sure the other is catalyzing some behavior patterns in us that we are oblivious of. Yes, we can do Steps and take responsibility for our own role in the relationship. But how can we be sure we are making practical choices and not just taking the easy way out? How can we be sure we are not investing too much energy, working on the wrong level; giving the other more and more excuses to abuse? How can we be sure that it is real strength that underpins our actions and not resignation or numbness? How can we know what really applies to us and what is simply the other person's story? How do we know when projection is occurring?.......

These are just a few of the questions we explore together in BreakThrough 2. It is a very interactive class, as you can imagine, that has us exploring the relationship of our internal man and woman to each other.....and how our external relationships offer a perfect reflection of this inner dynamic. We explore the concept of projecting; how disowned aspects of our own psyche color others in ways that blind us to those around us and to ourselves.

To give us roadmaps for our journey we draw from certain mythological stories. In the process we create another set of Steps (12 this time) full of imagery to give us even clearer perspective.

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