Posted in Weekly Blog

Words Of Encouragement

kind-words-orlando-espinosa

We did an exercise in the group last week which we have not done for a while whereby each group member will write down positive qualities and skills that they see in each of the others. This is an exercise that from the outset requires trust amongst the group that the relationships are connected enough for this to feel ok.  People were very genuine and truly able to express what they thought about each other.  People then read out their list of strengths if they felt comfortable to do so.  This can feel like a strange thing to do in a culture where saying positive things about yourself can sometimes be seen quite negatively as ‘blowing your own trumpet’.  However, people’s experience of this was that it was actually moving and encouraging, although for some it was quite difficult to hear or accept positive words, but even then there was still somethings uplifting it was for them.  Group members who have done this before have kept the lists of their strengths, and at times have found it really helpful when they have been having a bad day, or are hearing a critical voice, whether that is their own, or somebody elses, to be reminded that these are their strengths and good qualities. Somehow seeing positive feedback written down in black and white can feel easier to believe than relying on our thought processes which can often turn to negative and dismissing the positive

People also found that it was really nice to be able to say how they felt, because again it is a bit alien in our culture so say super nice things to each other!  One comment in this session was that ‘I have never known a group where people are so genuinely encouraging of each others successes’.

 

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Storytelling

 

open bookEveryone loves a story, whether we read them, watch them, hear them or dance or draw them.  The world is full of stories, the narration of life in the world, or other worlds, or hidden worlds.  We identify with them, learn from them, are moved by them, are horrified, disgusted or terrified by them.  They enable us to feel into somebody else’s life, culture and experiences.  It’s so nice to be told a story.  It’s an intriguing escape to be pulled into a narrative and hope for things like resolution or justice or for love to conquer, to have a mystery revealed and things explained, to experience suspense and relief, or to share a joy or sorrow.

The group has a new book!! Philip Pullman’s ‘Grimm Tales’.  The Grimm brothers wrote down German versions of fairy tales and folklore in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Though the stories themselves are often much older, sometimes thousands of years old.  Passed on through the generations in an oral tradition, they have crossed continents and cultures so that different versions of the same story exist around the world.  We discovered this ourselves in a previous storytelling session where quite by accident we read an English story and a Middle Eastern story and although the setting was different the story and its message were the same.

A Fairy Tale is a very particular genre, it’s centre is not the written text given its oral history and fluctuations through travel and storytellers, we do not get fully developed or even named characters, but find a lot of princesses, stepmothers, frogs, witches, mirrors, elves and dwarfs.  The story is just kind of told without background, history or embellishment [Philip Pullman; 2012]. And the Grimm tales really can be quite grim with grizzly deaths and punishments, unfairness, injustice, beatings, imprisonment and occasional cannibalism.

So to be cheered up we read a tale called ‘The Fisherman and his Wife’.  The tale involves an enchanted prince in the form of a fish who grants the fisherman’s wife everything she wanted.  We enjoyed listening to the story and afterwards reflected on the ambition and greed of the fisherman’s wife and how she was never satisfied and didn’t know when to stop.  We applied this discussion to our present culture and the emptiness sometimes of just having money and things and how relationships come to be about status and prestige and association thereby lacking real connections leaving people feel quite lonely and isolated because they are befriended for their fame or status and not because of a common interest or genuine liking of one another.

Group members really enjoyed the meaning behind the story and the escapism it provided.

Posted in Plans

Group closed to new members

It is a year since we launched ‘A Life Worth Living’.  It has been very successful and we have been pleased to welcome a large number of new members.  ‘A Life Worth Living Group’ has grown so much, that we are temporarily not taking new people into the group.  This change does not affect people who have previously attended.

We will keep contact details of anyone new who is interested in attending this group, or similar provision, in the future, and we will update information when this situation changes.