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Reflections from the Herpes Opportunity weekend workshop

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Hi everyone,

I'm officially back home and reflecting on my life-changing experience at the Herpes Opportunity weekend. http://thehopp.com I had gone down to Raleigh full of hope, anticipation, excitement, and a little bit of nervousness....overall, feeling like I'd come really far in my process with herpes and self-love and, for the most part, this was going to be a personal celebration and, hopefully, an opportunity to meet some beautiful new people. Ultimately, I had no idea how deep this weekend was going to go, both personally and in terms of how I would be able to connect with other people. I experienced a depth of connection that I haven't experienced this far in my life. With, for the most part, complete strangers. We bared our souls to each other, and were held tenderly, with compassionate love. I gazed into the eyes of a man, and for the first time, felt seen and appreciated for who I truly am, without any sexual undertones or hidden agenda. I connected deeply to soul sisters, and experienced a respect and admiration that filled my heart with appreciation for life. I have new ideas around who I am and why I'm here, and people and resources have appeared to help me. I have new tools for connecting with other people in my life, and I know now how to bring more of myself to those interactions. And maybe most exciting, and humbling, is how this weekend and the people I met have helped me to see myself for who I truly am. This is a true gift. I'm still in awe and know I need more time to soak in the true magnitude of this shift for me. Ultimately, this weekend had very little to do with herpes. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend that anyone considering being a participant next time give yourself this gift and say YES. You will not regret it. With love, Beckie

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I didn't really know what to expect from the [Hopp] seminar. This was all very new to me. I am someone that can generally handle anything on my own but I knew this time it was different. From the moment I walked in the door I knew I had a bright future ahead of me. The love care and concern as well as feeling so connected to everyone was amazing! But lets be real here this is something I really needed to learn to cope with. I was given life long inspiration and tools that I can put into place whenever I feel the need. It was and is so important to be connected to people that relate and understand what I now live with every day. I learned that it did not seem as huge in the end. That it was me and being shameless that really matters. You owe it to yourself to be true to yourself and the life you deserve to live. Adrial and his staff Gave me support that I know I will have for a lifetime. And even more they gave me HOPE again.

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Hi everybody:-) I just came back home after staying in North Carolina to join the H-opp seminar. I came all the way from Scandinavia so you can imagine I had butterflies in my stomach hanging over the Atlantic ocean not knowing what I had said yes to. I was scared, and my life has been so much pain the last 18 months because of Herpes....but actually, it has been a lot of pain long before that. Relationships with men has been really difficult for me as long as I can remember.


Honestly, hanging in mid air, I thought I was crazy to do this, but another part of me trusted that I was doing the right thing. And wow - I am so happy I listened to that voice...and I knew it the minute I walked through the door to the seminar that I was in the right place. I experienced so much love and acceptance. And because of the safe container that was created in the seminar we - the participants - was able to be raw and vulnerable on the heeling journey that this weekend is. Because it is life changing if you let it be. I am still in that process - and coming home was challenging in some ways. But I know what I want now- for the first time I really know what kind of connections I look for in my relationships. All of them. And I have learned that it means staying connected to myself. Good and bad - because - like I learned - it is an illusion that we can separate our feelings. And I try to stay connected every day now - and so many choices become so much easier when that is the focus - and it no longer is about getting validation that I am good enough. It is a small shift - but it makes a huge difference. It is freedom. And God knows i have been a slave of my own thinking.


So go to the next seminar. There is no need to suffer alone in the silence. You are not alone. Just the people you meet there will be worth it. My good - what beautiful people I have met. They all touched me so deeply. In a very real, raw and down to earth way. I am full of gratitude. And honestly - when I first got this I never thought I would ever feel grateful again. And I really believe that it is about heeling the shame - that was already there long before the herpes. And herpes is an opportunity to dig it out and bring it in to the light - and under these rays of light it slowly melts and becomes wisdom, gratitude, compassion and love. In a way it is simple - not easy - but simple when you have the right guidance...


I am still on a healing journey...carefully stepping out of my aloneness with this. But when I get scared I think of all the amazing people I met at the seminar and I put them all in my living room...and I feel their energy...and baby steps I walk out of this room of shame and in to a place of self acceptance...


Thank you - all of you, the leaders of the seminar, the staff, the participants...I am so grateful...and without herpes I would never have met you...that is the biggest paradox...


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  • 3 weeks later...

I have reflected on the weekend in spurts. Spurts of memories, insight and new knowledge creep up on me in my day to day tasks. This weekend is difficult to talk about; it’s like facing a part of me I didn't know. A layer of my old self was shed. I learned a great deal about myself. I learned that all the things I thought and hoped I was are true, parts of myself I hide others from seeing because I’m afraid that I’m not enough. This weekend, I was seen for myself, the true me that is loved by others. I made over twenty new friends. My soul and heart opened, to these beings, so dear to me now.


I began the journey in a cloud of doubt. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of what this adventure held for me. How could I put myself in such as scary situation? I watched as others bared their souls crying, while others struggled to open up. In each member I saw a part of myself.


It wasn't long before people started describing beautiful traits about me. I felt wonderful. It feels funny to admit that I loved being “adored” and noticed. As these traits were pointed out so were the ones that I had failed to notice that shut others out. The first day was all roses and fun. I felt like the staff took the time to build me up (especially since I came in so insecure), and helped me become aware. Awareness was not something I thought I would get out of this weekend. Strong communication skills were also not something I expected. Self-love was a small hope but I wasn't going to hold my breath. I mean these things do take time, right? Well that’s exactly what I gained. A strong center and a place to access this feeling anytime I needed, yet another skill I had not expected.


I am now aware of my emotions, new awareness of beliefs that limit me open up to me daily. I left the weekend living on a two week high. I had the most powerful disclosure talk of my life. Not only did my new boyfriend want to still see me, he was in awe of me…of this person who so bravely told him her “secret” and was not ashamed of it. I have been on the path of being an H Advocate for a few months now. This weekend gave me a more grounded purpose. A more grounded perception of self.


At the beginning of the weekend (and many times in life) I demonstrated a persona of weakness and shyness yet I picked a name that depicted a character with such strength and power…because I was aware of this person I could be, just didn't know how to access it. I often like to be underestimated by others. This way they cannot be disappointed by me, and I can’t disappoint myself. Usually this works very well to my advantage if I’m given a chance. Now I see that playing this role of being less than I am does not serve a higher purpose. This facade is fake and demeaning and so Little Jaguar has shed the cage and operates from a center of power.


I hope if you’re reading this you will be thinking about joining the H Opportunity Weekend. No other place will you feel the strength and support of such loving souls. You owe it to yourself to rid yourself of the shame that may be holding you back!

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Looking back on my experience as a participant in the (h)opportunity weekend, I recall with utmost gratitude, the warmest of warm fuzzies and the deepest connections I have ever made - with myself, with others, with herpes. I can honestly say that the connections made over that transformative, magical weekend, have made for the best of my days since leaving.


For many years prior to the weekend, I had felt a sense of uncertainty about life with herpes. I always found myself dwelling on the fact that I was living with a damned, dark passenger. Although entirely aware that I was a young, healthy soul full of life and love to share with the world, I disregarded all this goodness and granted herpes more time and energy than it deserved. I managed to see the silver linings in life, but still found myself bogged down by the lifelong sidekick that decided to appear unexpectedly in my life. I wanted out. I was fed up with succumbing to the negative, mental ping-pong. I was tired of offering up my happiness to a virus that by no means defined me. I finally committed to a different path of truth and acceptance, and through this quest, stumbled upon the (h)opportunity weekend. I no longer view herpes as a heavy anchor on my soul and have the (h)opportunity weekend to thank for it.


I find it challenging to articulate my reflection into a few paragraphs, as the weekend serves as one of the most influential experiences in my life to date. I still feel bursts of encouragement as I reflect on the insurmountable energy that flowed throughout that meeting room each day. That room lent itself as a warm and welcoming space for each participant to bring forth feelings of fear, anxiety, hatred, love, pain, shame, joy...you name it. Participants arrived with varying levels of comfort and were accepted for every emotion they were experiencing. Participants and staff members worked together to hold one another in a space of openness, understanding and compassion. As participants, we were offered the opportunity to be our authentic selves, to feel each raw emotion and to be in tune with our bodies throughout the process. Each activity allowed us to tap into what we were feeling and to recognize from where these emotions were coming. For once, I felt completely seen, heard, understood and respected. The weekend set the stage for us to step into our own personal journey of courage and self-love.


My original purpose for attending the workshop was to make sense of the icky feelings and emotions that I had chosen to overlook for quite some time. Providentially, I learned to accept myself by connecting with and learning from the other members who came and opened their hearts to our group. I finally felt that I was no longer alone in my journey and confusion about life with herpes. I was able to share in life experiences with other individuals who actually understood. I realized that all the icky feelings had led me to a place of opportunity for self-acceptance – a chance to embrace my strengths, learn from my weaknesses and melt into the highs and lows of life. Just as the staff reiterated throughout the weekend, who you are is more important than what you have.


Near the end of the weekend, our group began discussing how tough the goodbye process was going to be after having created such strong friendships packed full of love and respect. We jokingly talked about how fab it would be to take every group member home with us as we returned to the realities of life outside our weekend haven. This discussion generated a humorous image of our group representing a powerhouse choir. We finally came to terms with the fact that following one another to our respective home bases was far from possible, but agreed to envision the choir standing behind and supporting us as we embarked on our new and enriched paths in life. You bet your ass I’ve envisioned our choir standing behind me on numerous occasions since leaving NC! I find peace in this vision and realize that the weekend experience was the catalyst to overcoming my personal struggle with herpes. Herpes is to blame for the deep connections I made that weekend with some of the world’s most beautiful and fierce souls. Since that weekend, I more clearly see what matters most in life (as cheesy as it sounds) – showing up in the world as your true self and becoming part of the most colorful choir. In order to move forward in this wild and wonderful world, we must first understand who we are. The weekend spent in North Carolina has inspired me to embrace who I am and to live life shamelessly. I wholeheartedly encourage you to treat yourself to the (h)opportunity weekend and to join the rest of us in this movement. Allow your healthy relationship with herpes to move from an eventuality to a reality. Own it. Infect the world with your gusto for life and every bit of wonderful YOUness.


With tons o' love and support,


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