Mumbai (Ghatkopar) SHG #112

“We’re all the same, but unique. We’re all part of the same life source, all evolved from the same ancestors.” 
“Stammering is a big deal” VS. “Stammering is no big deal” – who’s being honest? who has better chances of recovery?…only by talking about them (painful times)…acknowledging them..accepting them…do they vanish…Let’s talk about our pain..not deny it..
SHG today was something different. We had the privilege of having Abhinauv from Pune come to the meeting. I also asked him to be the host just yesterday – and he accepted like a champ! 

Meeting attendees today in alphabetical order: Abhinauv, Dhruv, Gaurav, Harshal, Jai Prakash, Narendra, Nikhil, Rakesh, Randhir, Sai, Prachi, Yakub
We started off with a round of packing uncle Joe’s bag..to learn everyone’s name, and get everyone talking. During this game when it was my turn, I felt the pressure and loved every moment of it.
Then, Abhinauv was curious to know what activities we do in Mumbai SHG, so we shared with him. 
Abhinauv had an idea –  an interesting game where we had to say one word..easily without any tension..and then point to someone..that person had to continue with another word said without tension. In this game, Stammering is ok! But the key is to stammer without tension..stammer comfortably. 
This made me retrospect because I had recently been stammering with lots of tension. In my mind I said, it’s ok to stammer..so it’s not a big deal that I’m stammering with tension. But during this game, I realized..why am I stammering with tension? If I really accept my stammer, why am I putting my head down, closing my eyes, and having so much tension in my neck and jaw when I stammer? Why can’t I stammer comfortably looking at people in the eye and smiling? Have I really accepted? Hmmm….
Next, Abhinauv had another idea – something they do in Pune SHG – role plays. We all said, Yes! 
In pairs, we took the challenge…and I think most of us loved every minute of ‘acting’. In our daily lives also we have to act..in our different roles..as an employee, son, daughter, husband, wife. If you can completely remove the acting in your life, and be completely yourself…who are you?..you are the life force without the thoughts, maybe? 🙂 

We then talked about how we felt during the role playing..and many felt an increase in confidence and motivation. Like it was much easier to accept stammering. Going back to my earlier question..acceptance is great..but what happens when acceptance turns into complacency? As Dr. Sachin says in Apna Haat Jaganaath..going back to sleep (read chapter 2, I think). Being ok with the way you speak, and not working on your communication..this is an easy trap to fall into..especially after all the ‘pats on the back’ you get at the SHG. Now, ‘pats on the back’ are not bad..but we must be vigilant not to become “know it alls”..like “stammering is no big deal, even if I stammer so what?”..this coming from someone who just one SHG prior was saying…”stammering pains me so much..”. Most likely this person is still being pained from stammering, but is refusing to recognize it. Essentially, he is going back to sleep..to where he was before he came to SHG…he may choose not to come to the SHG next week because..well ‘stammering is no big deal! Why should I travel so far for something that is no big deal?’..but in reality..those painful memories are still there…by not talking about them, they don’t vanish..in fact, only by talking about them…acknowledging them..accepting them…do they vanish…Let’s talk about our pain..not deny it…
In our last 15 minutes, Rakesh had an idea to ‘share about your stammering journey’..Only problem – we only had 15 minutes, so we all talked about our stammering journey in 1 minute! That too, with loud music blaring outside as the YMCA basketball team thinks they live in Harlem…talk about time pressure and noise pressure..but Wow – what insight was shared in those 12 minutes (12 people)..we ended the session with letting every know…that they can share more on the blog..they can write their whole story there with no time or noise pressure! 
One things for sure..Abhinauv is a great host! We welcome you back to Mumbai SHG anytime..that goes for every stammerer in any part in India..you are welcome to join us!..OR attend, or start, your own SHG where ever you are. It doesn’t take much..just two people who stammer..and an attitude of acceptance, support and fun! 
Until next time: 
Date: 7 Feb 2016
Time: 2 pm – 4 pm
Venue: YMCA, near Municipal School no.3, Pantnagar, Ghatkopar E
Meeting # 113

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