The Gift of Renée O’Connor

The “Awareness” Seminar with Renée O’Connor in London, 16.May 2010

by Kristina Niemann (aka BlueSkyOne) 

On Sunday 16.May 2010, twenty-two mostly European "fans" from ten different countries were coming together at the Sheraton Hotel Heathrow, London, to spend a whole day with Renée O’Connor, and each other. But this was not your regular “meet & greet”. No, this was something different. Something that certainly has marked me more, than I would ever have suspected.

The London seminar was the first of two Seminars for which Renée took over the role of a teacher or rather facilitator of “Awareness” for the first time. Renée does feel very passionate about sharing and giving back to others what she has learned about “Awareness” from Mary Rocamora, the founder of this concept of personal transformation, because her teachings have helped Renée a lot in her own life.

The task, to introduce a concept as complex as the philosophy of “Awareness” to a group of people who knew little or nothing about it, when coming to the seminar, is an ambitious one.  But Renée went out to take it on and made it her mission, to introduce us to the general ideas of “Awareness” and some tools that might help to understand how we function in terms of our reaction and perception of ourselves and the world.

The questions being: How can I understand my inner self and what part is my Ego playing in how I go about my life? How do I know when my Ego is trying to hinder me from reaching whatever I want to achieve in this life. How do I recognize certain pattern of behavior and what are the triggers for these patterns to manifest themselves again and again? How can I live an authentic life and how do I learn to treasure every moment of it without judging it? 

The day began at 8:30 AM and ended at about 6:30 PM. Needless to say that I was really curious if not nervous of how this day would enrol, and how I would manage to participate facing those strangers. But as some of us were sharing Hotel rooms, I was lucky to have met three of the girls the night before and so we already got to talk about our expectations and thoughts about the upcoming day. That certainly made it easier for me to go into that room. So, when I finally got there after only 4 hours of sleep, some were already having some breakfast, others just sat on couches waiting, others were standing in small groupsalso waiting. One by one we all wandered into this kind of Atrium and registered first with Michelle, Renee’s wonderful Assistant who was the relaxed, helping hand, coordinating our wellbeing all day long, be it food, drinks, air-condition, choosing the right t-shirt size or any other small enquiry we had. Thanks to Michelle we also all got this beautiful group picture - the way she handled those 20 different cameras simply was a joy to watch. And she  said to us: “Take your joy where you find it”…A sentence I since think about a lot.

I admit that I almost forgot my name when Renée all of a sudden stood beside me and asked who I was. She had walked around the room for a while, greeting everybody personally, and it seemed quite surreal to me for a moment. There certainly was some excited tension in the room, but once Renée addressed us all and shortly explained what is going to happen, this tension slowly disappeared.  

She asked everybody to introduce themselves and it was great to see and hear where we all came from: France, Belgium, Netherlands, USA, Denmark, Finland, Germany, England, Austria and Switzerland. These first moments of interaction, like the laughter of challenging Names and interesting reasons for coming to the seminar, were very important in order to establish our group and to get over any potential “ROC HAZE”. We then all took our place in the seminar room…with notepads, handouts, pencils and water on our desks, and an autographed picture, which I guess we all did not expect to get.

From whatever I expected of how Renee would go about teaching us “Awareness” I have to say that I am still in awe of how gracefully yet determined and concentrated Renée transmitted her message to us. She spoke with such clarity and compassion, sharing stories from her life to illustrate the theory and encouraging us to ask questions and to contribute also with examples from our lives. She made it so easy for me to open up and share my immediate thoughts, which I did because I felt safe and among friends. When I was shaking maybe, while asking my first question, it surely became easier and more natural every minute, because Renée exuded such sincerity and real interest in what each and every one of us had to say. It was a real pleasure talking to Renee and the group because I felt heard and understood.

During the breaks Renée would mingle among us, seeking the company of somebody to talk to in person for a while, then joining another table to sit with and eat lunch and by that she offered herself to us, as we opened ourselves to her. And all these precious little moments that everybody got to share with Renée and others of the group, make this day so special to all of us.

The concentration and attention and energy were amazing to feel. Renée pulled us in with her words and loving heart and by her example united a group of initial strangers to the point that we all felt connected. When artificial categories like “the actress” and the “fan” disappear, we are all only who we are as human beings, sharing moments, speaking to one another about the diversity of life’s challenges. That was the beauty of that day and I believe that we gave a lot of that love and respect and enthusiasm back to Renée by being with her on that day.

Even though I might still have difficulties of understanding all aspects of successfully practicing “Awareness” - believe me, there are only questions in my head - I know that I am on the right path and that I already learned. Renée told us, that all she can do is to give us the seed, but that it is up to us to plant it and see it grow.

So, the most surprising and exciting element of this one day to me is, that I made so many new friends in such a short period of time. And the vibrant afterlife of the Seminar is a great example of the connectedness of us as human beings and how one person can touch the heart of many and by that affect change. Meeting Renée, and all those who attended, has been a revelation to me and I realize that it has been a life altering "moment in the present". This was one of the most exciting and emotional experiences I have had in a long time and I am so very grateful for what I call “the Gift of Renée O’Connor”.  


Interesting Links

- Renee's Awareness Page
- I Am Aware Information Page
- Official Renee O'Connor Site