Chris is a designer working with DOLAB, a Los Angeles based production company that creates experiences as an art form. Santa Barbara, CA
(The following was excerpted from an audio interview)
What brought you to EOA?
I was going through a crisis in my life. A dear friend, who was aware of my situation, pointed me to EOA and Kerry. That phone conversation with Kerry was really positive. It felt like there was a voice calling me from a long distance, somewhere far away. I couldn’t make out what the voice was saying, but I knew it was calling from somewhere. Later in the program, I realized it was my place in nature, my security in nature calling me, saying “this is where you should be, this is where the medicine is.”
What were the outcomes, i.e. inward, outward, or both?
One of the outcomes is something the guides would say just at the right time: “Trust the process.” That was a big takeaway for me from EOA. Your process is your life; it’s alway moving, shifting, rising and falling. I’ve learned to appreciate that. EOA was a process, as my life is a process. I need to trust that.
I hear myself thinking “Trust the process” a lot. I’m a designer… The way it works is I’m given a project to produce something. I have all these ideas, try to produce them. Sometimes a lot of my ideas and starts are bad, and I stress out, but eventually things click and something else clicks, and then I’m stoked. It’s wild to go from not knowing to have it happening. I’m psyched, so trust the process!!
What would you say is specifically unique about EOA in terms of what it supports?
EOA is more steeped in somatic healing. I’ve spent a lot of time in spiritual places and spaces. Because the EOA group is so diverse - different age ranges and backgrounds and people trying to heal different things - it helped me identify with myself a little better, and also find connections with other people with whom I may not have connected. Through sharing, via words, song, or an activity, I could relate to the others, get a better sense of others.
I can’t say enough about how important the open space is. I’m the kind of person that suffers from reflecting through people. When I say something or I’m around other people, my go to reaction is to carry the burden of others. I empathize in a way that is detrimental to my own energy level or well being. So having that natural environment and space, just having so much thriving around me, made it really easy for me to know that my thoughts and feelings were good and right and my own. I really needed that in my life, especially at that time. Being alone in nature allows you to drop into what you really want and need.
Also, being outside made it feel like I wasn’t trapped. This is something I’ve struggled with in general. I always want to make sure there’s a “fire door”... I want to be able to eject really quickly if I have to. Being in nature, in such an open environment, created a space so I wasn’t looking for that door, or looking for a way out. They gave us a lot of time to walk around and be with the process.
Did EOA impact, shift or inform your worldview? If so, how?
I’m mixed race. In that time in the group and since then, I’ve been thinking why I struggle so much with affiliating with one group or ideology. I feel very disconnected from things that are going on in the world if they don’t affect me directly. EOA has helped me be more in tune with how my environment is affecting me.
Overall, I’ve never had a pessimistic worldview. EOA reinforces this. All of the places we went to were thriving. If you leave nature alone, it does its thing. It thrives. People are heavily manipulated by the information that they are bombarded by. People need to go into nature and see that life knows what to do. People need to reconnect. If they did, I think we’d see a shift in perspectives I think we’d see a lot change.
Nature helps us remember how resilient we are and how strong we are. Look around and see it thriving makes you feel strong, like you can survive. Nature offers an affirmation: “You got this, you can do this!” In a time of crisis, that’s what people need, they need affirmation that they can handle what they’re going through.
Since EOA, I’ve helped form a men’s division in my community. A men’s division is basically a group of guys, ages 18-60, who gather to talk about stuff that’s going on in our lives and offer support from experience in ways that we think can help that person. We meet together to let things out and to not have to feel so manly or strong all the time.
What might you say to someone considering the program?
I participated in EOA through scholarship. I’m a scholarship kid --- but I never felt that burden at all on EOA. I felt really lucky and it was exactly what I needed. So I didn’t feel badly about the money. It was meant to be; it met all the criteria of what I needed and fit well what was going on in my life.