In the beginning, Simple Abundance was the workshop not the word. For several years before my book was published in 1995, I taught Simple Abundance to women very much like myself and you. Women who hurdle through life as if it were an out-of-body experience. Women who love everyone else on the planet too much and themselves too little. Because my memories of those early mysterious encounters (for I was feeling and writing my way into the future, as well as guiding others) were so pleasurable, so was creating this book.
A workshop can be a wondrous experience or a tedious disappointment (there doesn’t seem to be any in-between), depending, of course, on the attitude and attentiveness that both lecturer and participant bring to it. I’ve led seminars and I’ve been the hostess of some swell parties. Like any social gathering or relationship (and workshops are both), the most successful ones seem fated, even magical. Over the space of a few hours or days, a great exchange between complete strangers takes place as extravagant, reciprocal gifts of time, creative energy and emotion are generously bestowed and gratefully received.
Dr. Ira Progoff, the creator of “The Intensive Journal” workshop, the seminal model for group self-help programs since the early seventies, describes the ideal workshop as a place for solitary work that cannot be done alone. “The presence of others, each engaged in reaching into the past and potentials of his own life, seems to have the effect of assisting the solitary work of everyone.” In this ideal workshop, “we are shielded from the outer pressures of our life. In a sense we are withdrawing from those pressures, but not in order to escape from them.” Rather, we withdraw so that we might fully engage our hearts and minds to consider “the truly fundamental questions and issues of our lives.”