Adventures in The Hope Workshop

Written By Robert Hawke

I am standing in front of a group of people who are at various stages of dealing with cancer. It feels a bit like the atmosphere on the first day of school and I must admit that I am a bit nervous and excited. The Hope Workshop begins.

Image of Rob Hawke speaking to an audienceThey listen as I talk about what is going to happen. How we are going to laugh, how we are going to share “the wisdom in the room”, how we are going to do exercises to help us feel good.

Everyone looks really serious and concerned. No one is laughing at my jokes and if I tried, I could probably hear crickets.

But within minutes, the atmosphere changes. Quicker than I think possible, this disparate bunch becomes a group of friends who are eager to help each other. Suggestions come fast and furious and I try to capture them all with an old school sharpie on a flipchart. People are eager to share what they have learned on their “journey with cancer”.

Before I know it, the group races in front of me and leaves me miles behind. I try to look like a calm workshop leader as someone shares insight on a challenge that very few of us have faced. I am in awe of the bravery and courage right in front of me.

At the end of the night, folks tell me that they feel happier, lighter, that they even learned something. They thank me, which feels really weird because quite frankly, we all helped each other and were better for it.

If you have ever been on stage in front of an audience, ridden a bike at high speed, or heck, done anything that is truly engaging, then you know what it’s like to give yourself to something in the moment and just run with it. That’s what’s so great about "The Hope Workshop". A group of people come together, give themselves to the moment, and very quickly become comfortable with each other. Complete strangers laugh, share stories and share vulnerability. And the two and a half hours just fly by.