A tale of three worshops

Spontaneously dancing with my scarf in the Toolangi forest.

Spontaneously dancing with my scarf in the Toolangi forest.

I was really thrilled over the last few months to have had two invitations to do the Work that Reconnects at festivals. The first one was the Waking up the Spirit Skillshare weekend (with the Barkindji people north of the Murray River), the second was for the Toolangi Forest Secrets Festival (in the mountains past Healesville).

Neither event turned out quite the way I expected. I didn’t end up running full ‘Despair and Empowerment’ workshops. Instead I just stayed present and connected with people individually. On both occasions I had planned a variety of processes to share but when I got to the festival it just didn’t feel like the right ‘vibe.’

In between those two events I ran a truth mandala at my home for friends. I had about 8 people come and it was lovely, so beautiful to see people go from strangers to connection in two hours. It was also deeply satisfying to find that I am actually capable of following through on a facilitation commitment!

It feels timely to pause and reflect on these experiences. What does it mean that things didn’t go according to my plan at the festivals?

I really want to criticise myself. The difficult thing is that each time I chose to be present and be guided by what my instincts were telling me. In the moment I was fine with it and happy to accept the other connections I was making but now, in retrospect, I’m disappointed and wondering what the next step is for me. I really want to experiment with larger groups of people but I just don’t seem to be able to make it happen.

I’m not sure if I am not ready to facilitate in those situations or if people are not ready to participate, maybe it’s both. Not everyone sees the value in grief and I am not confident enough to force it on them. I seem destined to enlarge my circle one person at a time. Should I be content with that or am I keeping myself small?

11 thoughts on “A tale of three worshops

  1. Thank you for sharing WTR story and your own wonderings. I am planning an evening salon with the WTR and have grappled with how much despair to encourage. I’ve learned to trust the years of experience that Joanna Macy and others have had with despair.
    Learning from you, thanks!

  2. Hi Kiri! Really glad you’ve shared these thoughts with us, thankyou!
    I love the idea of the mandala evenings and love that they went well. Are you planning on holding more of these?
    Not sure what to say about the unexpected festival outcomes, though, as I’m torn in response. Interpreting what was needed in the present moment and being present for people as you were was no doubt felt deeply and was satisfying, as you say, but I do hear the part of you wanting to facilitate something else and recognise it in myself. I like your idea of circles growing by one person at a time. One person is significant, offers and receives a lot. Working with what is is all we can do. Perhaps there are other festivals and gatherings that might be more receptive though? I don’t know. I do know that what you’re creating is needed and it’s just a matter of the people needing it most finding it πŸ™‚ .
    This wasn’t super-helpful, sorry, but I wanted to reply to this post.

  3. Good on you Kiri! Staying present is key to good facilitation! I know that feeling of wanting to retrospectively be critical, such an ongoing challenge! And to find the groups you want to facilitate… you’re right, people don’t want to walk toward the grief. Mostly people want to run the other direction. We know the process and the benefits of the outcome having had the experience and really believing in it but I think to get more people coming along, might need a different way of presenting the idea. I don’t have the answers but happy to brainstorm with you. AND there’s someone I want you to meet. Another WTR aficionado who is moving to Melbs.

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