As I prepared myself for a 2-days long facilitation workshop with PfP, little did I know that I’ll come back as a much more positive, and a calmer person. Little did I know that what I thought to be a facilitation workshop would turn out to be more of a healing one. I felt a few pangs of anxiety attacks as people started pouring in for the workshop. For being a private person that I am, I was expected to share my space with these strangers over the next two days. And it hadn’t even started yet!!
As everyone settled down and began with the first of our activities, we reiterated a few of the basic ground rules that we learned in the previous workshops and added a few new ones as we went on(including ‘Wash Your Own Dishes’!! :D). With the opening check-in round where everyone was invited to share their recent struggles and growth, I observed that it was a little difficult for a few of us to put our thoughts into words. I happened to belong to this group of people. I was feeling pretty apprehensive and vulnerable giving words to thoughts that had never assumed the shape of spoken words. I didn’t even bother talking about the growth aspect of the check-in as I tried to string together the things that I’m struggling with. As this activity drew to an end, I felt like I was not the only one who felt vulnerable and exposed. This gave all of us a common ground to break the ice amongst each other as we chatted along the break discussing how accurately people could relate to countless issues of each other. I think this was when I felt that the sense of confidentiality that our group was supposed to have might not be breached at all.
Next came the part that proved to be the most difficult stretch of my two days journey. I struggled massively with isolating my inner critique from the other voices in my head. As I tried harder and finally found my inner critique, I faced a still greater challenge in “challenging” my own inner critique. It took every ounce of my mental capacity to encounter it. So taxing was the task that I could feel it even physically. And I observed the same intensity around others as well. It was a day of revelations for me as I learned more about emotional compass and various emotional/panic zones.
As the night drew on, I sensed a general sense of ease and comfort amongst the others, and we discussed at length the concept of gender and sex. I found that there were still a lot of things that I need to know and understand when it came to this concept. We also happened to share our personal experiences with other genders and how these genders are perceived in our society.
Day two brought along an unexpected sojourn for I got an opportunity to co-facilitate the first session with Aditya. I don’t know how well I did, but I definitely felt good. As we proceeded with the rest of the day, I noticed a lot of barriers splinter not just within myself, but also within others. There was an unspoken faith of listening without being judgemental in the group. Being the strangers that we all were, we grew to support each other during these two days. I personally learned that it’s ok to let my guards down once in a while. It’s ok to seek and give support. Though wrong I might be, I think I now have an idea why this workshop was required before we progress further to facilitation – May be it was required because how can one counsel/facilitate others if their own inner self is not healed, and they don’t know how to strike up conversations when something sensitive is to be discussed. Therefore, though I still might have a lot of issues to work out, I’ve come back with clarity and a lighter head.
I can’t be thankful enough to our facilitator Aditya for having made this journey so beautiful, and the wonderful bunch of people that were my companions in this journey. I’m taking back a lot from this experience.