My job was to do that nationwide and in spades.
And there was another complication.
The night before my presentations that would require two days, one of the delegates who was staying at a motel about 30 miles from the convent was leaving the convent to return to his hotel and was knifed and beaten up just off the grounds of the convent.
This led me to wonder WHO goes to a convent to stab someone and WHY. It was there that my internal thinking process became paranoid and knew I had to shift out of that and finish preparing my 14 hours of presentation material.
I was given a guest room. It was an 8 x 8 room (six square meters), and had a very small single bed. There was no desk, no chair. I shared the one bathroom with all the nuns on the second floor. (This is another story for another day.)
My promoter/manager was Andrzej Batko, the only NLP trainer in Poland at the time. He knew I was in shock that I was not going to be spending the night in the Vice Presidential Suite at the Sheraton. There I had a butler. But not tonight. I did not know where I was going to be staying that night until after I met Mother Superior. (I do not recall her name but recall that she served for a couple of years in Chicago for her church.) Everyone kept it a secret from me.
8:00 PM came and the lights in the building went OUT.
My 14 hour presentation was on my laptop though I did have back up notes just in case.
14 hours is a LOT of material to present.
It was pitch black in the convent.
Andrzej was down the hall sleeping in another guest room that was no larger than a closet. Perhaps 7 x 5. He heard my call for help. The only light on the second floor was my laptop which was sitting on the floor, now operating off of an old battery.
Andrzej came running and assured me he would get the lights back on so I could get the presentation completed.
He returned 10 minutes later with Mother Superior. She had a lantern. A lantern? A lantern.
I told her I needed light at least until midnight as I had several hours of updating based upon conversations we had in the car on the way down from Warsaw.
Her smile was bright and confident.
She told me that the lights go off at 8 PM. It was now bedtime and assured me that I would do fine in the morning.
You don’t need a system for that. You need a fridge, a pen and a paper.
I was dumbfounded. I had no similar experience in my life to draw from.
She offered me her lantern but I declined as I explained I needed the laptop to have electricity. The battery would survive 45 minutes, maybe.
She smiled. She told me to go to bed and rest. She told me I had a hard day and she was certain tomorrow would be a wonderful day for all.
And she left.
Andrzej sat down on the bed while I sat on the floor in front of my laptop draining the final minutes of life it would have until tomorrow morning at 7 AM. He had no idea what to say to me. He had never heard anyone say NO to me. (And Mother Superior did not actually say no, she said the electricity was off until dawn, and that I would do fine.)
I reached into my wallet for a Xanax and took it. I had no way to get water from the bathroom without running into walls. It was pitch black.
My frustration was peaking on many levels. The presentation was critical. It was for the health ministry of the government of Poland. The media would take a message that this American was encouraging the use of condoms. I was anxious about that. You cannot imagine.
What I learned was that I was not the only person in the convent who had self regulation power. Mother Superior was MORE confident and MORE certain than I was. She was just as gentle and kind as I was. She showed no sign of negative emotion. She was like the Dali Lama.
It was impossible to not respect this woman and KNOW that she was in charge and that everything WOULD be fine. Fine? Fine. I seriously doubted all was going to be fine. But SHE did not doubt my ability to MAKE the entire weekend, FINE.
She had absolute power and could not accept a power reduction because of my presence. She could also not approve of part of one key proposal I would offer, which would be to encourage the use of condoms in Poland.
She could do NOTHING but tell me to go to sleep as she had her nuns for her entire life. There were no exceptions for the government (the health ministry representatives) or for the speaker who would lay out an AIDS prevention plan for media and social workers starting at 9 AM sharp.
I had nothing I could do but go to bed.
Nevertheless, I had to remind myself about what the most important aspect of power was.
Power, in large part is the monitoring of your thoughts and behaviors so that they manifest themselves in your desired outcomes and intentions.
It meant that I would give a FINE presentation and do my best to make a change against all odds.
I laid in bed and went to work in my mind.
I had no choice but to at least block out in my mind precisely how I would communicate all the new information I had gained while on the trip.
Everyone in the audience would already KNOW PART of the problem that they personally dealt with. But now they would know that everything I was going to teach them was based on THEIR experiences, their reality, their lives and problems.
I decided I would open the event with the story about what I felt inside when I saw the 11 and 12 year old little girls holding signs on the side of the road that said, 50 zlotys for sex without condom, 25 zlotys for sex with condom.
I need the health care workers, the social workers, to know that I understood the overwhelming problem they faced.
Then I would address the media and tell them that they needed to cover this on the news.
If they wanted to watch their news channel, read their newspaper, THIS was what they wanted to feature. The images to me were horrific. The little girls were 10 – 12 years old. These are not women making life decisions but kids.
Then I would address the representatives of the church and point out that I respected their beliefs. I am sure they were right but I explained that these new situations called for new answers. In no way would the Bible be closed. But in fact it would be open to help the CHILDREN. I told them I was not certain but that at least my belief was that Jesus would suffer the little children. At least that is what it said in MY Bible.
The presentation to all, went better than fine.
Everyone got what they came for and I got what I desired. We had general agreement from the government, the people on the street and from the church. There were obviously plenty of problems that needed tweaking over the years to come but the groundwork had been laid down!
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