2-2:15: Social Contract: Chinmay & Dhruv, Create a safe space
2-15-3: Childhood shame – people share stories, and do impromptu skits/performances to face these emotions
3:20 – 3:45: Activity, Chinmay
3:45 – 4: Plan for next meeting
The goal of this SHG is to help you uncover the childhood shame you’ve had about stammering, and bring it out. And then think of and do practical things to overcome that shame – based on the philosophy of Acknowledge, Accept, Forgive, Move On. After the SHG: you will be able to develop a SMART plan to address your childhood shame.
The above was the plan for the SHG. However, often things don’t go according to plan. Dhruv and Nikhil arrived at late. That’s ok, but it’s important to mention. We got started by around 1:50. Nikhil led us in a wonderful song – “If you’re happy and you know it…clap your hands, stamp your feet, wave your hands, dance..and repeat!” The best part was, there was a choir group in the room next door, and we started singing first. I think they may have wondered if we were their competition!
Next, Nikhil described the Ice-break activity called ‘Introduce your Partner’. This can be found on Page 9 in the Creative Facilitation Techniques manual. We broke up into 3 groups of (2, 2, 3). We all spent 10 minutes talking to our partners. This was followed by a lively round of introduction and the ice was surely broken. I made a new friend, Akshay, who is a wonderful guy.
Next, we set Ground Rules. All of us shared what we expect of others and ourselves. We agreed to these before moving on.
Next, I led an activity that built off Dr. Sachin’s session last Sunday (the first paragraph) on addressing childhood shame. This is not an easy topic, but the group handled it wonderfully. We all shared a moment in our childhood when we felt shame because of our stammering, and did role plays (acting out that specific situation). Then, we switched from VICTIM to HERO in the role play by standing up for ourself OR educating our teacher/class about stammering, etc. Basically, we chose to not allow people’s unkind words/behaviors to affect us and rather chose mental strength, resilience, and inner peace. This reminds me of something Ekhart Tole says, “choose that you have suffered enough”. Some of us also forgave the people in our role play and forgave ourselves (the most important thing). We discussed the importance of continuing to share about these moments and coming to a point where we can look back at them with fond memories, joke about them with others. And use them as examples in SHG’s that we facilitate as times when we learned something about ourselves. We discussed daily writing/blogging as a good way to continue to share. Many of us might not know, but this is Dr. Sachin’s personal blog: haklana.blogspot.in. Here is mine: http://dhruvgupta-me.blogspot.in/. I haven’t updated it much, but I plan to start to do so. Dr. Sachin had said during the Facilitator’s Workshop two weeks ago, that writing and reading help you improve your communication skills as well. After a through de-brief allowing everyone enough time to share their feelings with the group and introspect, it had already become past 4 pm.
Chinmay then shared an activity where we chose two words that are ‘tough’ for us to speak in front of others, and voluntarily stammered on them, and then said them fluently. We went around and all shared. We discussed that if we continue to believe these are ‘tough’ words, they will indeed be tough – however, this is more a learned psychological habit, rather than a physical defect. Stammering, in fact, happens due to physical reasons, but our negative thoughts towards stammering are a learned habit. We must learn to reshape our view of stammering, to view it as a portal to our inner self (as Dr. Sachin says). This will allow us to appreciate stammering, and appreciate a moment of stammering; seek to learn from it rather than forget it. This quest to learn about yourself through your stammering, can form the content of your blog. I hope to do this.
After the end of the SHG, I requested everyone to please provide me feedback as the host. We may have not had enough time for in-person feedback, but I request all participants to please share their feedback with me personally or as a comment on this blog. The only way we grow as facilitators is when we receive feedback. My feedback for myself: I thought I could have planned better. Honestly, I started planning for the SHG yesterday, Saturday. This is a far cry from Dr. Sachin’s words of planning 10 hours for each hour of an SHG/workshop. Truthfully, I was afraid. I was afraid at how I could broach this sensitive topic of shame. When I have not yet moved on from my own childhood shame, how could I try to help others to address their shame. Hence, I delayed planning for the SHG. I am very happy, however, that I was able to truly remain present while listening to others in the SHG today. I felt immersed in others’ experiences, like I was there with them. I was able to silence the voices in my head and focus on their voice. This was a beautiful feeling, and I think it is a feeling that comes when you open your heart to others. In my mind today, I was continually pushing myself to remain open, to embrace uncomfortable situations, embrace suffering, and I think this allowed me to keep myself open to all thoughts/feelings/ideas/beliefs. Thank you to all participants who openly shared, and trusted that we have a safe space.
Next week’s host is Chinmay and co-host Akshay. I wish them all the very best in continuing this journey! I suggest they read Dr. Sachin’s blog post on the SHG Facilitator’s Workshop.
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