Erica Morasse

Workshop Assistant Coordinator

"If you’re only free when you are comfortable, then you’re not really free."

Hi! I’m Erica Morasse. I am the Workshop Assistant Coordinator for Productive Learning. It is my job to create an extraordinary experience for everyone in the workshop by coordinating assistants that will be present, engaging and of service to the growth environment.

I know it may seem like being an assistant in a workshop is just about the logistics of setting up the room, filling coffee, passing out papers, and getting water for the trainer, but it is much more than that.

A workshop is its own ecosystem where one needs to feel safe and provided for in order to drop their defenses and grow in an authentic and genuine way. There is no surface treatment at Productive Learning. We want to ensure that we go to the deepest levels with our clients and creating the right environment is paramount to making that happen. My job is to organize the people that will help the trainers hold that container, so the participants feel safe enough to share, express and grow through this interconnected system.

This is really important to me because I know about searching for the right environment to grow. I have a degree in Psychology and while studying I also worked in my Social Psychology professor’s research lab. The research mainly explored the relationship between stress and weight gain. Creating an environment in which research participants felt comfortable was paramount in obtaining the necessary information.

I also worked in clinical research for a retina specialist. It wasn’t long before I realized additional support was needed. The research environment was fine to obtain and track the efficacy of the drug we were testing, but it was not conducive to the emotional environment needed to truly support patients as they grappled with vision loss. Creating a support group for patients became a container in which they could express and relate to the demands of vision loss. What really touched me was how much healing took place in that environment. As patients shared their stories, they connected through the fact that they weren’t alone and were able to understand and rely on each other.

Then the time came for me to make a decision about whether I wanted to go back to school. Although I had everything lined up to enroll in a Ph.D. program, something inside nudged me to pause. I needed to experience something new, but I didn’t know what.

I bought a one-way ticket to Bali and traveled around South East Asia for 9 months. At the beginning of my trip, I could tell I was just moving from one fun experience to another, which was great, but I could feel I was avoiding something. I didn’t want to keep running, I wanted to turn and face whatever it was that had me on the move.

I decided to enroll in a Yoga teacher training in a town called Ubud – which means healing – looking back on it seems so prophetic. During one of the sessions, a coach came to speak with us and he asked, “Where is your heart right now?” As my fellow yogis were answering as we went around the circle, my mind was screaming, “just say you are fine. Say its fine. Just say fine.” And when the turn came to me, something inside of me spoke up. Something I hadn’t heard before, maybe it was wisdom maybe it was honesty, but I heard myself say, “My heart is broken and I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t.”

It still brings tears to my eyes when I reflect on it. I was honest with myself for the first time. I didn’t realize I had been living behind such a heavy mask. I wanted to be free of it. I wanted more of that honesty. I wanted to really understand the difference between what my mind says is true and what is actually true for me.

There was so much that went into that moment for me. All the work I had done in the past, all the experiences I had while I was traveling, and the connection I felt to the program I was in and the other participants. Then there I was with an honest guide asking me honest questions and although my mind was racing I felt my willingness to be honest and my reward was a sense of true freedom.

I want to be apart of creating that environment for others; an environment where people can be honest with themselves and feel free. I know that if I am going to ask for that level of authenticity from other people I have to be authentic too. Holding that container challenges me to be honest with myself and that is why I love this work with Productive Learning. I get my growth through service and the rewards are exponential!

If I am not in a workshop I am working with my brother at a law firm, in a yoga class, or at a meditation retreat. My two brothers are two of my closest friends and I am so grateful to be home with family. I am always looking for ways to give back to the greater community because it is a guaranteed fulfilling experience, and what’s better than that?