I'm just back from a weekend retreat at the coast where we work with people who are trying to make changes in their lives. They tell us their dreams and we tell them ours. We talk about what we are doing to make some change, and what's holding us back. Soul work, important stuff, beyond the small talk of the Olympics and facebook.
I looked out over the group of nine this weekend and couldn't help but think about Tom (former beloved counselor) who tried to get me to join "group"--a collection of patients who met regularly to discuss . . . I guess I really never knew. I declined. Several times. I think I'd seen too many movies and sitcoms about "group." I really didn't want to bare my soul to a handful of strangers, and wasn't keen on hearing their stuff either.
What I didn't know then was that "group" was a community--a handful of travelers trying to get rid of their monkeys/gremlins/demons by keeping a commitment to come check in and share stories with others. No better learning than hearing what happened to someone else. Our group at the coast was made up of bright, curious people who want more out of their lives and are willing (at least in spirit) to go for it.
What I didn't understand about Tom's "group" was the power the community had to support change for its members.
I think I saw the following benefits for most people this weekend:
- Having/getting to speak out loud about what's not working (coveted clarity).
- Having others listen.
- Keen, insightful questions.
- Ahas about things previously misunderstood.
- Being able to report on others'"blindspots" (things we know but they don't).
- Laughter at our fallible human selves, the joy of shared humanity.
- The recognition that we are small and making change is big.
At some point one of the nine bright and curious people said, "I just feel blessed to be part of a group that comes together to talk about important stuff. I don't have this in any other part of my life," which made me cry.