This process was one among many others I experienced during the WWASP program I attended. It’s on my mind tonight and I felt like sharing.
We were told to lie on our backs with our eyes closed. What followed next was a guided visualization exercise about how we had won a trip on a luxury cruise. The guided visualization exercise went so in-depth that it even covered our preparation and packing for the cruise. It must have been over a half an hour of this exercise, before BANG there was loud crashing noises over the loud speaker. In a harsh voice the facilitator said “The cruise ship has hit an iceberg and is rapidly sinking. There is two spots on the life boat, you each have 30 seconds to stand up and tell us why you think you deserve to have a spot on that lifeboat.” They then proceeded to call us out one by one and we had to stand up and give our final say on why we deserved to live. If you did not take the full 30 seconds you were ridiculed saying you didn’t think your life had value. Once that exercise was complete they had us all stand in a circle. We were each handed five popsicle sticks. We were informed that these were life votes. We then had to go around the circle and vote who would live, looking each person in the face and yelling “Live!” or “Die!” once we had completed our votes we stepped in front of a staff member saying that she represented our mother. We had to vote her to die, then our father. We were not told that we could keep a vote for ourselves. Only one girl was smart enough to do so. The rest of us were beat down and told that our lives were meaningless to ourselves. Once the votes were gathered the two people with the most votes got to sit in the “lifeboat” in the middle of the room while the rest of us were instructed to lie back down on the floor and think that we were drowning. We then were each given a chance to tell the two people on the lifeboat a message that they would carry with them to our parents. This emotionally draining exercise wiped most of us out. I don’t remember much more of that night other than being told we had to write our own eulogy. I was not one of the two who were voted to live, I left that exercise feeling like I had no worth.