Containers and Clean Slate

A fireside space just waiting for a chat...


As I mentioned in a previous post, I am about to facilitate a three-day residential Lab with a group of six wonderful women.  Mere hours from now, we will co-create a space for transformative learning and story-telling.

I use the Temenos method, a process by which individuals and leaders can better understand their motivations and relationships, both personally and professionally.  In these Labs, women share their past influences, acknowledge their patterns of success and self-sabotage, and activate their personal visions for the future.  In the days leading up to this experience, we form a “container” through our communications and preparations.

I was introduced to the concept of containers when I attended my first 3-day Temenos retreat in 2012. Temenos is the Greek word for container.  The people attending the retreat form a container.  During the retreat, you check in to the container. This gives a sense of boundary and of belonging to the container.

A container is this and more.  It’s a way to define a relationship.  It’s made up of people, energy, and interactions.  A marriage is a container.  A family is a container.  A church group is a container.

During my 3-day Labs, I help women explore their containers through an activity called Clean Slate.  Everyone has baggage that they’ve accumulated throughout their lives. Clean Slate is designed to confront your baggage by digging deep inside yourself through introspection.  It’s about being honest with yourself about the role you and others played in the accumulation of your baggage.

You do this by answering two simple questions.

1- How have my containers failed me?
2- How have I failed my containers?

You define your containers. You share the answers to these two questions with those in your retreat container.  As you tell your stories of failure, your patterns of success and self-sabotage emerge.  By acknowledging your patterns, you’re better equipped to make decisions in the moment to alter your behavior and change course.

It works. I know because I’ve gone through 4 Clean Slates.  Each time, my patterns of success and self-sabotage emerged.  Each time, I was blown away by the realization that comes when you’re truly honest with yourself.  That’s when real transformation can occur.

I now know when my patterns of self-sabotage are emerging.  I know what triggers them.  And, I do something about them in the moment.  I’m able to distance myself from the emotional reaction and be intentional about my next steps.  This has changed the course of life.

I can now help women change the course of their lives, too.  I can help women transform.

I look forward to sharing with you: whether you are in this current container or will form future containers.