Meeting 8-1
Focus: Renewal and Self-Resolution

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: Renewal and Self-Resolution

"Sometimes in the heat of group process we forget that that very process only happens because each of us as individuals is doing our own independent work and willing to bring that stuff and energy to group. If everyone came to group expecting someone else to do all the work and come up with ideas, it would probably be a very dull group."

"Group will provide insights and experiences unobtainable outside, but its spark can only be the spark that each one of us provide. This is not a leader -less group, it is a leader-full group; each of us is encouraged and invited to provide leadership, to take full ownership, offer ideas and stay connected."

"Renewal is about looking over that part of the road already travelled, putting it into perspective, seeing the big picture and looking ahead: Where did I start? - Where am I now? - Where do I hope to get to? -What has worked for me? - What hasn't? Highs? Lows? What do I want to bring to group if I carry on? - What is it about if I leave? What have I gotten out of it or learned? - What have I given?"

"Self-Resolution is about looking back and trying to understand things in a broad context - sometimes with the wisdom that only hindsight can give us -what particular episodes or events mean - what was my part in creating that? - what ownership can I honestly take back now, away from the heat of 'battle'? what lesson is there for me now? And having come to some kind of understanding, am I able to finally lay it to rest? Or what energy still remains?; what is unresolved?; what will still sting me? Is it possible to share this new perspective? (it may not be…) Am I ready once more to step forward with these men?"

Exercises

  1. What were your original desires/hopes/expectations around group?
  2. Have these been achieved? How?
    1. Through your own efforts?
    2. Because of someone else's work or initiative?
      Whose? - Share this thought.
  3. What were your disappointments around group?
    1. What caused them?
    2. What efforts can you make to prevent further disappointments? Do you want to?
      Or is it someone else's job?
  4. Since you've been in group, describe how your feelings have changed
    1. Towards group
    2. Towards yourself
    3. Towards others around you - eg family, friends, colleagues…
  5. How has 'support' manifested in your life, since you've been in a 'support' group?
  6. Reflect back on times when you considered leaving the group - what was that about?
    1. A group issue? Which one? Any new perspectives on that?
    2. A personal issue? Which one? Any new perspectives on that?
    3. The untimely combination of a & b above?
      What made you stay? What has been your experience since?
      How were issues resolved?
  7. Do you have any sense of 'When it's the right time to go, I'll know'?
  8. What would cause you to leave group?
  9. What keeps you involved in group?
  10. What needs to be done to keep group a 'happening place' for you?
    1. What do you want more of?
    2. What do you want less of?
    3. What new things do you want to try?
    4. What rules need to change?
  11. Can you suggest a 'Statement of Renewed Commitment'? What would that look like for you?
    1. Is this something that the whole group wants to participate in?
    2. If there is resistance, what is that about?
      Unfinished business?
    3. Do you need to go back 2 or 3 steps before you can 'finish the business'?
    4. If someone doesn't want to go back a few steps/re-commit, what are they holding onto?
      Why? Is their issue being avoided?

Notes for Meeting 8-1

With long-term involvement in any project, there will be fluctuations in energy levels for everyone participating. It would be unreasonable to assume everyone will be 'up' all the time. So individuals will go through the 'blahs' and have less to contribute, at these times if others can pull in the slack and let that man be where he needs to be things should go ok.

It may happen that 1 or 2 men provide a lot of the driving energy in a group, but they may tire out over time, or not be able to make a few meetings; at times like these the other men in the group are called to leadership - one philosophy is that there are no accidents, we can choose to be victims of circumstance if we wish, or see these situations as opportunities to explore a new way of doing things.

Sometimes groups will collectively experience low energy; maybe there are some underlying issues that are sapping the energy out of everyone because they 'can't' be resolved or because they're not even being talked about. Someone has to confront the issue - then the energy - and the heat - may begin to rise! Sometimes we may not even see the issue to be able to confront it - sometimes it's being hidden ie one man wants it that way, and the group may have tacitly agreed to go along with it, with the unfortunate consequence of it sucking the energy out of the group later on. It's a bit like a dysfunctional family hiding an addiction, everyone suffers the consequences but it can't be openly discussed because its a 'shameful' family secret. Watch out when you bring it up! - you may get dumped on. Those secrets shelter a lot of pain and fear. The alternative? Losing some/all of the group if its unwilling/unable to tackle the issue -men get tired of 'unhealthy' process and being 'wounded'



When a group successfully negotiates a conflict
a couple of things can happen -

  1. We're pleasantly surprised at our success and it builds confidence and group cohesion
  2. It's been a bitter struggle, each may be holding onto resentments at having to (reluctantly) compromise their position.

After item ii) above, it may help to dissipate resentments if the group undergoes a 'renewal process', and look at the big picture. It also offers the opportunity to further explore hows and whys of the group, and may lead naturally into a 'rules debate' - a further refinement of group process.