We have fifteen minute practice and an hour group each week and we have a worthy goal. Freedom!
Our group is based on mindfulness inquiry. Like in a private facilitation with me, the focus is on your own internal experience. We are sharing from our own heart and the pace might be slow at times. There is room for reflection before we share. There is room to ask for what you need, like a few minutes of silence or to speak about what is coming up in the moment.
We are participating through our attention, deep listening and through sharing our own experience.
We will trigger each other into fight/flight/freeze. Our defense mechanisms will come up and we might dissociate. We could feel an urge to get into someone else’s swim lane and offer commentary or advice. We might get angry and want to lash out. We might prefer someone else to be more healed than they are because that would make it easier for us. All of these are natural responses that we can work with.
Part of what’s getting triggered is a memory of something similar to what happened to us. When we are authentic and sharing vulnerably, it will resonate and in that sense will trigger people. In this group, we refrain from commenting on what people share, because even with positive regard, someone might feel judged or shamed.
The discipline is to stay focused internally and maintain mindfulness of your energy and thoughts. This helps to take traction away from our automatic strategies for avoiding uncomfortable or threatening feelings. And activating our defensive strategies tends to be what triggers other people into shutting down.
We are developing the capacity and skill to really listen to each other. We practice listening without resistance and judgment. We keep our focus internal and we notice thoughts and energy in our body. Can I attend to this with full concentration? Can I listen even when I’m triggered and maintain presence within and with this person?
Our goal is freedom! We need to see what is getting in the way, to notice what grabs us and makes us go unconscious. Witnessing our inner world is the main practice and it is more than enough to keep us busy! We commit to staying and to working with our internal presence and energy.
We are training our mind to have the capacity to not wander during the 75 minutes. Focus is a mindfulness practice. We stay engaged in the group (listening and talking) while noticing what’s happening in our body. When did I tighten up and why? Can I stay present in my body and with my breath? When I feel resistance, can I be kind and patient with myself?
We experience that we have the capacity to stay. We get to know and trust ourselves.
My hope is that after each meeting, you take a half hour to sit with what came up during the meeting. This is how we really know ourselves. That triggered me – what was it about it? I didn’t have time during group so I’ll go back to it now while it’s fresh. We can also take these into private sessions.
This experience changes our lives.
It is my role to be the group facilitator and focal point, to provide stability and be an anchor. My intention is for this to be a safe place to speak truth and for all of us to have a meaningful, deep experience of authenticity. Part of my role is keeping time. Generally we each have 3 to 5 minutes to share. Some weeks we will need a bit more time or slightly less. It’s flexible.
We will experience intensity in our private sessions and in group and that’s fine. People are always invited to share, in the right way for you. You will share some things in the group and some things with me or another trusted person and keep some things private. We are interacting in a group and the work is deeply internal.
SAFETY IS THE TREATMENT
Our group time is a deep meditative inquiry and witnessing. We are training ourselves to be present with ourselves and the people in the group. What transforms us is the repeated experience of feeling safe with me and within the group being present with each other.
It can feel raw to be so present with our feelings and we could find we are more reactive for awhile. As our trauma bucket empties out, it will matter less what other people think or feel about us. We do react to each other and we can view this group as a practice for the rest of our life. Deepen your capacity to look through a trauma lens. Ah, I see it’s their anxiety playing out. It has nothing to do with me.
We are opening up space to be authentic and safe. Keep your focus internal. What is your ongoing response?
I am always happy to talk something through with you! Email and we’ll set up a time.