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Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 7 - feedback, ecology & goodbyes

In yesterday's second reflection on the Ravenstor residential group, I wrote about friendship and flourishing.  This last morning of the residential now moved on to a final meeting of our 11 person, medium-sized group.  Checking in.  Reviewing.  Checking out.  Deeper now.  Touching.  I'd come into this four day group very open to swimming with where "the river" took me.  I had however been particularly interested in "power", in how I can be myself, express myself honestly & fully without "oppressing" others.  This is a well-visited focus for me in these groups - the dance of "warrior" and "healer"!  And I asked for feedback from the group.  They had all been around me for four days.  How much had they felt that how I was, how I "rode my energy", had been authentic and helpful?  How much maybe did they feel I had held back too much, or come forward inappropriately?  A good chance to get a cluster of views from old friends and from new acquaintances.  As someone else put it, the pool of our medium-sized group was now "well warmed up".  We might have been slow to get going, but now the music was so much richer.  In Yeats's words "He that sings a lasting song, thinks in a marrow bone".  Marrow bone thinking, feeling, singing now.  Others too speaking from their hearts.  Rich and helpful.  Moving and connecting.

And into the final full group of 34.  "House keeping" details to attend to.  Talking too about taking these energies back out into the world.  To our partners, families, friends, work, communities, and out from there.  Discussion about what we're facing ecologically and as a society.  Hard not to jump up into our heads, but important to acknowledge these crucial outer realities and challenges.  People had already talked about or talked now on "The impossible hamster"calculating carbon footprints, transition towns, and the "Dark mountain project".  Ecological awareness and interpersonal groupwork can be uneasy bedfellows, but over the last several years in our network we're getting more used to this mix.  

And then finally lunch & goodbyes.  I went out barefoot into the sunshine on the front steps.  Saying goodbyes.  Very precious.  Some of the deepest relationships of my life with friends I share these times with.  Brotherhood. 

And the journey home.  Three of us, talking.  Still exploring.  Feedback, honesty, humour, openness, good times.  Days spent in these groups are amongst the best of my life. 


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