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A participant's experience: Nou

posted 7 Nov 2018, 07:59 by Art & Social Change

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” (Susan Jeffers) was my mantra on the way to the first installment of what was to be a three-day training session. It wasn’t a case of “I hate Mondays” more a spike in my  anxiety, fed by a traumatic family experience that weekend. As I hurriedly approached the door, after a last-minute confusion, then panic over the address, my anxiety was turned up to eleven. “What am I doing here?” “What is this course going to be like?” “I don’t have the right to be here”. As my self-depreciation was about to overwhelm me, I found myself in a room with a number of other people who were very quiet, I got the feeling that some of them were anxious too.

I signed in and was offered tea/coffee’ and there was a selection of fruit and snacks (and the mandatory biscuits). When everybody had settled we round the room and said our names, we found out we had three Johns and two James. It was funny at the time and we all laughed. I thought this was the ice breaker. However, the real ice-breaker came when our facilitator, Kate, began the session by asking us a simple question:

“What percentage of you wants to be here, right now, and what percentage of you doesn’t?”

Kate kicked it off with her answer, filled with honesty, she spoke briefly about how excited yet nervous she was about starting this three-day journey with us. Well, the facilitator facilitated our honesty and as we went around the room, the answers make my more comfortable. I wasn’t the only person in that room with anxiety or carrying personal drama that day. Some didn’t share information, some did, by the time it was my turn, I was surprisingly calm. This allowed us all to connect, within the first five minutes. From then on, the course was filled with unique experiences, that allowed us all to converse with the creativity within us and taught us how to communicate that with others.

The work itself pushed us and we found ourselves questioning our own expectations and perception of others. Through a series of “games” and group work we discovered that we do, in fact, ‘judge a book by its cover’. After one game, which reminded me of a round of ‘Would I lie to you?’, I felt that point to be sadly true, but revelatory.

The three days flew by, and by the end it felt as though I was saying goodbye to co-workers of years. We were a team, we even created a What’s App group to stay in touch.

The course overall, was fun, interesting and informative. My confidence to lead a group through an exercise has increased tenfold and I look forward to more courses and more creative empowerment in the future. Many thanks to Kate, Christy and Cascade Creative Recovery and Mark and PORE.

Nou Ra.