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Peer groups, Cumbria spring group – final reflection

I wrote yesterday about "The fourth morning: honouring my mother".  Now at home again.  Lying in bed this morning feeling happy.  Warm and content. Such heart-warming memories.  Meditating yesterday.  Plunging again in the stream.  Cold, climbing the small waterfall and walking along the rocks.  Going to the main group room to do yoga.  Somebody I was having some difficulty with in the group was there.  Talking it through, easily, helpfully.  Breakfast and then meeting for a last time in our small group.  We checked round.  How were each of the five of us feeling as we came to the end of the four days.  I asked for some feedback about an old theme of mine - a concern that although I believe I usually live my experience in the group, my confidence, my exuberance, in ways that are helpful for others, sometimes I feel that I'm "too much", that I probably "get up some people's noses", that I try to take too much power and responsibility in the group, or - in self-esteem terms - "puff up" too much.  I think this is true - that I sometimes "get it wrong".  Not surprising.  I don't think I do it very much or very "badly".  It's good to check though.  To hear how others experience me.  It's rare to have several people witness you pretty intensively over several days and then have the opportunity and confidence that they'll give you genuine, caring feedback on how they've experienced you.  In groupwork research, this opportunity for "interpersonal input" is one of the most appreciated therapeutic aspects.  Rightly so.

And a chance too for me to get some sense of how the other four people in our small support group have been doing.  I was concerned that one of us had maybe been feeling a bit isolated in the group.  Good to hear that this didn't seem a particular problem for them.  Such good warmth and connection after our regular daily (and on one occasion, twice in a day) small group meetings during the last four days.

And a coffee break.  Saying goodbye to someone who needed to leave a bit early.  Usually we're pretty strict about everybody staying till the end of the group.  And it does make a difference when people are missing from meetings.  Rules, in this group, are only rules though - indications about what's likely to be helpful - typically negotiable and flexible.

And the last full group meeting.  Some house-keeping to check.  And then a chance for people to share reflections, appreciations, insights.  Such precious time.  Yes, sometimes it can be very hard.  We go through pain and upset as well as these deeply heart-warming experiences.  But overall I feel that coming here is so tremendously worthwhile.  Good to be alive and be with others like this.  People spoke their appreciation of Catero, my wife, and I.  Validating.  Gifts to the heart.  Laughter too.  Remembering, reflecting, writing about it now - I can feel the happiness and appreciation so strongly in my body.  Great to feel so content and good.  Human relationships.  The precious beauty of the spring countryside.  The blessing of the mind becoming quiet and able to appreciate.

Goodbyes.  A chance too for a short walk to the cowslip meadow.  Curlews, lapwings, lambs and the stream.  And then the drive home.


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