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Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 4 - nature, father-son, flow & celebration

So the fourth and last morning here at Ravenstor.  Didn't get to bed till after midnight and was up "late" this morning a little before 7.00am.  The dawn mist is already clearing on a beautiful day with the sun's glow just beginning to emerge over the ridge.  It reminds me of dawn in the Sahara, also on a "journey" with a group of friends, 18 months or so ago.

After writing about how the group went yesterday and breakfast, we went on to meet as the 34 out amongst the trees down towards the river.  A different way, a different environment to meet in.  We stood in a big circle.  Fun, and for me the strong connection between us as group members diffused a good deal as my attention became shared out to the trees, autumn leaves, fallen branches, the wood all around us.  Fine.  Part of the point was to be in relationship with each other outside the group room, outside the house.  A friend talked about linked "spirals" - how we felt internally relating to ourselves, how we felt relating with the others in the group, how we felt relating to the outer environment, and out to others and the world.

Then after an hour or so of "games", creativity, laughter, talking out amongst the trees, we reconvened to the full group inside.  And soon we were into something very powerful.  A father and son relating very directly to each other in the centre, "held" by the attention and care of the other 32 of us.  This so crucially takes what is done here out into the rest of our lives.  A father and son exploring key aspects of how they have been with each other, pains, blocks, hope, wishes, love.  Taking my breath away.  Very, very honest.  Very, very true.  Courageous and heart opening.

And then into the small groups of 4.  Checking in, each having a chance to speak.    

And lunch.  Walking with a couple of friends from Scotland.  Again looking at how we are together.  Kindness & unkindness.  What can we learn.  The "group time" spills over into maybe all the other conversations.  And the countryside too is fascinating and welcome.  I don't know the Peak District.  A new exploration.  Walking on a path along a steep sided valley.  Great. 

And 4.30 to 7.30 back into our medium sized group.  Slow.  It seems to me that we have been a bit slow to "warm up" in this group of 11.  And we did warm up more.  It's fascinating this.  In last month's post "Meeting at relational depth: what intrigued me most" I talked about how we can often agree on the depth of our moment-to-moment connection with others.  It's harder, I think, to understand what it is we're feeling and agreeing on.  Magic!  No not magic, but sometimes it feels magical.  When humans begin to meet deeply.  Flow.  Softening.  Honesty.  Caring.  It is kind of wonderful.  We ended singing full throated and agreeing we'd make sure we had time together again on the last morning.

And supper.  Still meeting and deepening ... this time new relationships.  Hearing about another person's work and research and personal passions.  Like seeing a portrait painting or reading a new book.  Glimpses of another human being's life.  Fun to talk fully, exuberantly, tenderly.  Respect and interest. 

And the evening a "ceilidh", a sharing of music, songs, stories, even a couple of magic tricks!  Great ... and to bed a little after midnight.

And tomorrow, the final morning of the group ...


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