The Week that Felt Like a Month
I arrived with very little understanding of where I was and what I was supposed to do. But I was confident enough in myself and in my new employer that all would be well. Looking back I really had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into and it wasn’t until Wednesday morning when everyone had arrived and was sitting altogether for our first full circle together that I came to understand some of what was going to occur within the next few days.
I had the pleasure of being able to greet everyone outright as they arrived which was lots of fun and my only real job left to do until closing for the week. It was really exciting to be able to meet everybody right out of the gate. From there I was able to participate in the upcoming events. We started in a circle of course, and named some of the labels that we face in our day to day lives. From the first few hours we were together the group demonstrated immense bravery by standing when they felt a label read out loud had been used to describe them. Then in small groups we discussed our “highest dreams”. Out of this exercise a theme of self-care became clear that followed the group strongly throughout the entire three days. To be perfectly honest by the end of the exercise I was exhausted by the excitement of the day so instead of heading to the fire I off to stumbled to bed.
On Wednesday we started with an opening circle to really understand what the Art of Hosting was all about. We did some world cafes and solved some of the world’s problems in a matter of hours then we were ready to get our hands dirty. This amounted to YMCA camp counselor “Scuba Steve” dragging everybody up and down a field for two hours which I am not ashamed to say I opted out of though the shrieks of laughter did make it sounds like some fun was being had. That night the fun continued with some fantastic performances by many of the group member and ended with the Macarena. Lovely.
Day three started with open space; a method of conversation that I really enjoyed. It was fascinating to watch how passionate people became talking about the issues they had chosen and the wisdom that others could share. I was so grateful that I could host my own little discussion on disabling labels in gender identity and sexual orientation. It was really an incredible conversation and I appreciate all who were involved. That afternoon we did some debriefing of the morning then sat while Violetta did an astounding job of condensing a years’ worth of information into 45 minutes. Then a process was proposed. A conversation was started that took people to a different place. The emotion in the room was tangible. Once again the group acted bravely some by practicing their self-care, some by holding space, and others by being in the circle. The experience brought up so much for so many people and that was the most amazing thing to see’ how one conversation between maybe 10 people affected a room of 50. Thank you to everybody who shared and to those who didn’t. The emotions of the afternoon did not affect the joviality of the evening however, as we dyed hair, watched movies and sang by the campfire well into the night.
The last day went by so quickly it almost too difficult to remember. We had a really lovely closing ceremony hosted by Caitlin and then we said our last good byes some teary but mostly with lots of hugs. What I really saw throughout the entire experience was a group of people who are looking for ways to make the world a better place. Even if they were just there to chaperone they were there because they knew that the people they were chaperoning have such a desire to make beauty in the world. We talked a lot about being connected and staying connected and hopefully through lots of upcoming efforts by myself and Cathy that will be possible. I hope that everybody not just the youth but everybody takes home the theme of self-care and holds that close to their hearts. Because we are not lacking for force or passion let me tell you!! So let’s take care of ourselves so that we can continue to be generators, egde-walker, hospice workers and illuminators. For all the good and beauty that such a strong group can bring into reality.