Focus: Sitting in the Silence
The basic structure of this meeting is the same as Meeting 1.1 - refer back for more information.
Some issues may have come up during check-in that the group may wish to spend more time on rather than moving straight into the 'focus'; or perhaps some issue is still to be dealt with from the previous week. When it is appropriate the leader moves the group into the main focus for this meeting.
5) The Big Bit in the middle - the leader announces the focus of the meeting
Focus: Sitting in the Silence
"When we come to group we may think we have to speak. We may even try to impress or look good via what we have to say. We may feel uncomfortable during check-in or at other times if things are quiet for too long. However it doesn't have to be that way…".
"For this meeting, assuming that check-in items are fully explored and released, and no other issues are distracting us, we will attempt to sit in the space of silence, and notice what happens. The demand on each of us will also be to draw on our courage and find our truth, and say what is really going on for us, right now, in the moment".
- The leader for the meeting introduces the topic above and then times a one minute silence.
- At the end of the minute, the floor is open for men to share what they noticed within themselves, and what came up for them. Focus on
- The thoughts that came up - were there any judgements?
What were they? Would you call them distractions?
Why? What were you trying to focus on?
Were you calm? - or anxious?
Did your mind go off on a tangent?
What was that about?
Is it significant? - for you, or this meeting?
Did your mind settle anywhere? - Where?
- How did you feel?
- Weird? - What is weird about - for you - describe it
- Were there any specific feelings/sensations in your body that you noticed?
- What was the most important thing that came out of that exercise for you?
- If the men have a hard time responding - sit with that for a while and notice group energy -where is it going/what's happening to it? Reflect on that, invite comment.
- When it seems right, repeat exercise 2, but this time direct the men to-
"Notice specifically the thoughts/feelings that come up for you - reflect on them"
This time go for 2 minutes of silence.
Then explore what came up as in 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d above.
- Repeat the exercise, this time for 3 minutes of silence - then exploring what comes up. Invite the men to get into 'that issue' whatever it is, whether personal, or group discussion. When energy wanes again, repeat the exercise, adding one minute to the period of silence.
- If the men are having a hard time sharing ie noticing and revealing what's happening for them, direct them to:
"Notice especially what you are holding onto, or resisting - then share that -whatever it is, possibly frustration or resentment, a judgement about this exercise…".
Then repeat, adding one more minute of silence!
- At this point some men will get into their feelings - and may begin to push out some energy with it - invite them to do that - let them know it's ok to really get into it. After all this is just a silly exercise! Let them move that energy and see where it takes them, where they end up. Is there something underneath all that energy? What is it? What are they seeing, now that it is really silent, and they are in a place where their self-expression is ok, valued and encouraged? What are they confronting?
Then repeat, adding one more minute to the period of silence.
- A man may begin to 'divert' with a topic that is not 'inner directed' - ask - what is that about for him - is it a diversion? - what is he really feeling/experiencing? Why is he diverting? Does he want attention/focus of the group for that issue really? Invite him to reflect for a minute - is there something else underneath? Maybe he's trying to get a 'head' discussion going and avoid being in/expressing his true feelings.
- After a few rounds it may be obvious that one or two men have said little and could use some respectful encouragement from the group; ask what their hesitancy is about - or what is going on for them, right now, in the moment. As they begin to speak, the gates might open…
Remind them that there is no judgement of what they have to say whatever is happening for them is real for them and is ok - whatever! - and is theirs to explore in this space.
- Other men might be 'finding things' to cover up something deeper inside; reflect back to those that have shared the most to consider that fact and whether there is something else there for them. Then repeat, adding one more minute to the period of silence; and explore.
- Invite the men to take a risk, if there was one issue/wound that they could bring to group to be 'healed', what would it be, what would they ask for? For some men it may spring to mind immediately, for others invite them to:
"Let your intuition speak to you in the silence - and invite that feeling in -and softly walk into the release of that burden".
Then repeat, adding one more minute to the period of silence; and explore.
Notes for Meeting 6-3
The opportunity in this meeting is to explore quiet, and end up not having such a judgement of that space, and possibly even begin to respect it. Many, many of us use busy-ness and talk to override our feelings and fail to notice the moment, and even intentionally avoid the moment in that way. Group is a place to learn to notice the moment. We may also learn that we don't necessarily have to 'bring' anything to group; if we sit in the quiet, in our safe space, things/issues will begin to emerge - precisely because the space is available.