A Workshop Curriculum
The SOAR Foundation
An Original Work of Non-fiction
By David G. Yurth
All Rights Reserved
The Island – A Restaurant Filled With Tables
This is the fifth of twelve exercises you will be asked to complete before attending the workshop at the SOAR Foundation’s Awakening Youth Leadership Center. The purpose of this exercise is to introduce you to the concept of the Island of Your Life.
In his book ‘Tales of Power,’ noted social anthropologist Carlos Castaneda first wrote about his metaphor of the Island. The image he created, which was based on a concept he referred to as the Tonal, can be adapted to fit our purposes in the following way:
The Tonal is like the top of a table–an island. And on this island we have everything. This island is, in fact, the world. There is a personal tonal for every one of us, and there is a collective one for all of us at any given time, which we can call the Tonal of the Times. It’s like the rows of tables in a restaurant; every table has the same configuration. Certain items are present on all of them. They are, however, individually different from each other; some tables are more crowded than others; they have different food on them, different plates, different atmosphere, yet we have to admit that all the tables are very alike. The same thing happens with the Tonal . We can say that the tonal of the Times is what makes us alike, in the same way it makes all the tables in a restaurant alike. Each table separately, nevertheless, is an individual case, just like the personal Tonal of each of us. But the important factor to keep in mind is that everything we know about ourselves and about our world is on the Island of the Tonal.
The concept of the Island gives us an opportunity to discover
* Who we are * Why we are here * Where we came from * What we came here to do * What we cannot do anything at all about
These discoveries, in turn, make it possible for us to exercise critical thinking, to evaluate our circumstances and make some critical decisions. These include such things as
* How we will choose to live and manage our lives * What we will build up, nurture, and value and what/when/how we will tear down or remove other things from our island * What we will embrace or reject while we occupy our island * How we will deal with uncontrollable, unpredictable, irremediable events that happen on our island * How will set our priorities by learning how to decide what is most and least important on our island * Who will be allowed to visit and/or share space on our island, and under what conditions and for how long.
The Island of Life is a metaphor. As with all metaphors, it is useful to find some meaningful way to translate the ideas, concepts and notions suggested by the metaphor to a more tangible, physical form. To help you discover how your island works, and to give you an opportunity to visualize what your island would look like if you were able to summon enough personal power to architect it any way you can imagine, choose from one of the following exercises:
* Option I: Make a drawing of your island. As you do, allow yourself to discover what automatically comes to mind when you consider the issues cited above. Identify where on your island certain features are located. Give them a name and try to visualize what they look like. * Option II: Find pictures from whatever sources are available that represent how you would like certain aspects of your island to appear. Make a poster or collage from these pictures or images, put them in a file folder, or in whatever other way works for you, create a collection of images that help you to visualize what your island could ‘look’ like under ideal conditions.
The purpose of this exercise is to give you an opportunity to view the way your life is structured with a degree of detachment and circumspection. It is intended to allow you a rare opportunity to look at the way you live your life by looking at the island you occupy in terms of metaphorical attributes. What did you inherit on your island that you cannot do anything about? What aspects of your island are just the ways you want them to be? What aspects of your island would you change, and what would they look like if you could? Now ask yourself this important question: “If I could live my life any way I want, do anything I want, be any way I wish, what would it be? How would it be? What would it look like?” and when you have asked that question and answered it in your journal, ask yourself the next question: “What prevents me from living my life in this way now? What do I have to do to rise to the level of my own expectations?” What are you here to do? What gets in your way? What are you prepared to do, how far are you prepared to go, to discover and fulfill your reason for Being? How do you deal with unanticipated catastrophes on your island? Where is the end of the rainbow?
When you have completed your journal entries, consider what a privilege it is to have your own island to manage, enjoy and do with as you please. Consider others love and appreciate you. They care for you and do the best they know how to help you mold your island into a place of safety, fulfillment and happiness. Know that you have the power to manifest everything you love and appreciate on your island. It is really up to you to decide what you want and do not want to include as part of your life experience. Realize what an extraordinary gift this is, express your gratitude and let it be.