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Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 5 - valuing, connection & disconnection

It's "the morning after", back home, reflecting on the group that finished yesterday at lunchtime.  "Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 4 - nature, father-son, flow & celebration" took us up to the beginning of the group's final half day together.  This last morning was pretty compressed.  We'd agreed to meet in the full group of 34 for a final session from 11.00am to 12.30pm, with the medium-sized groups of 11 or 12 meeting from 9.30 to 11.00, and the small support groups of 3 or 4 starting when they chose to!  Beforehand we had had to strip our beds, pack and clear our rooms.

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.

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 2 - warming up

It's the second morning.  I wrote yesterday about our arrival at this group.  Didn't get to bed till later last night and slept in for longer.  The conversations are beginning to "ignite".  As we spend more time here, get into it, hear how deeply & openly others are prepared to be, and explore going deeper ourselves ... so the little conversations (waiting for a kettle to boil, on the way to bed, in the corridor) start to deepen too.  So touching.  Lovely.  The best kind of "village".  34 of us wandering around with our hearts so much more open. 

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 1 - arriving

It's the first morning of this four day, peer-run Men's group.  We've been meeting like this every autumn since 1993 - a collection of friends & friends of friends & friends of friends of friends!  I've written extensively about these peer groups on this blog.  For example, five posts on last year's group and half a dozen on the year before.  There would have been 36 guys here this year, but sadly 2 dropped out at the last minute.  We're a real mixed bag - ranging in age from our 20's to our late 60's (maybe early 70's), ranging in experience from people who have been to large numbers of these kinds of groups to people for whom this is their first experience.  There are four father-son pairs - three where fathers invited their sons, and one where the son invited his father. 

Opening up group, session 8

“ There is a crack in everything. That's where the light gets in. ” - Leonard Cohen

We had the final meeting of this eight session "Opening up" group last night.  I wrote last week about the seventh session.  This last meeting ran a day later than usual because of a clash with a family birthday. 

Opening up group, session 7

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. - Henry Thoreau

So this was the seventh - and penultimate - meeting of this "Opening up" group.  I wrote about the sixth session last week.  Sadly, because of family crises, a couple of people hadn't been able to get to this evening's meeting.  In fact, of the five of us at this session, one arrived late.  Rather than simply get going and possibly want to update the late arrival once they were with us, or wait for them rather than getting started, I used a method that often seems helpful when somebody is a little late.  So instead of starting with a verbal check-in, I suggested we all take ten minutes to write about how we were feeling now at the start of this evening, at the penultimate meeting of this group.  As usual I explained that I wanted them to write very freely and deeply about their emotions and thoughts, but that they would t

Opening up group, session 6

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.

- Walter Bagehot

Yesterday evening was the sixth session of the "Opening up" group.  It had been a longer gap than usual - ten days since our full day meeting at the fifth session.  As we often do, we began with a round of "checking in"; an opportunity for all of us to say briefly how we were feeling.  Like two or three others, I had been particulary busy in the preceding few days.  Great how present-time, honest interaction with a group of others brings me out of all that brain-busyness into being more here-and-now.

Opening up group, session 5

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

- Annie Dillard

I wrote just a few days ago about the fourth session of this "Opening up" group.  This fifth session was a full day meeting.  Good to have a whole day together.  A bigger pool to swim in, more time to explore.  Nice too to share food together - we all brought contributions for lunch.

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