Playing On The Swings

These people bring out the best in me. The work I do, the connections I make, and the relationships I enjoy, all bring me to life. This week I spent another two intense and beautiful days in their company. We spent the time examining our intuition, our gifts, and even our ‘super powers’.

Perhaps most revealingly of all, we examined our relationship to the company and to each other. It was a time to let go, and to feel what it means to be us – truly us, deeply us, – in all our glory, our frailties, and our togetherness.

Simple Insights

My whole experience was bookended by two complementary and simple insights: (1) be more selfish and (2) ask for what I need. The first came during a straightforward exercise. With all 40 of us stood in a circle, we were asked to choose a different spot on the circumference and walk towards it. I was as considerate as I always am, slowing down and hesitating to allow others to cross my path. But then I became increasingly determined, stronger somehow, and clearer. Determination, strength and clarity. Reasons enough to change how I move through the world.

The second came during the afternoon of Day Two; a story I will tell in due course. Between these insights were many more, as well as countless connections and combinations as we drifted around the exquisite location in conversation and silence. Even the stubborn DJ at the party made a contribution, because his reluctance to play anything we could all dance to meant that everyone spent longer talking. (He made it there in the end, though, with some joyful persistence by his side.)

Intention & Gift

I arrived with an intention to meet the new people, and it was easy. They were there, open and waiting, willing to give themselves to the event and to whatever came their way. The established people were there, too; and having felt gratitude on the beach a week ago at the 50th birthday party of one of them, here I was feeling a more encompassing version – a deep appreciation of the ease of their friendship and the space they occupy in my life.

An inner child meditation led us to our gift. As I wrote at the end of last year, I am finally seeing what I have to offer; and the people around me, together with the opportunities they provide to express myself fully, have played a colossal part in that revelation. My inner child and I smiled at each other at where we are now.

He has played his part, too, of course, and it’s easy to think that his was the hardest of all – navigating a world, to which we were never sure we belonged, with all the insecurities of someone too considerate, too scared at times, and perhaps even too alone. Now he stands with me on the solid foundations we have built over decades, allowing our gift to shine effortlessly into the world.

Discord & Beauty

In the intimacy of the smaller groups which brought the first day to a close, I found maturity, insecurity, uncertainty, openness, playfulness, and love. We helped each other by offering our intuition, which arose from a place the Dance Master had shown us existed in May. (We would experience an even intenser version of that intuitive connection to self and others, throughout the next day.)

All we did was share how we responded to each other’s stories, searching together until our conclusions offered a sense of congruency. And we were guided by the day’s main facilitator, for whose presence I was deeply grateful even before he sat down to join those of us already seated in the sunshine and the shade. In that group – and with that group – he helped me see that I am more intuitive than I give myself credit for, that it happens on a spectrum between discord and beauty, and that my body responds to both with sufficient signal to urge me to seek a path from one to the other; a revelation available to me, of course, but only brought to the surface by others listening, relating, and offering their gifts.

I was thankful throughout Day One for that facilitator’s clarity and calm authority. His continual invitation to see the uniqueness of our experiences, made those experiences easier to own. And his part in the main constellation the following day allowed me to feel how determinedly I stood my ground, when my immediate response was to follow the sadness.

In that everyone-constellation, I felt I needed to stay where I was, ready to move, inspired by these people, and that we will (all) move together.

The Party

The super powers we had formulated by the end of those groups became our introduction to the evening’s party.  Dauntingly (and, for me at least, reluctantly), we had to dance through two long lines of each other(!) The MC stood on a chair, and from nowhere (there’s that intuitive transmission stuff again), she owned the whole show. Impressive is not the word. She was awesome. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t lessen my extreme discomfort, as the realisation hit me that this, right here, was the worst part of the whole event.

Some people danced through the tunnel, some people ran. I ran-danced, and eventually we all stood on the gravel dance floor, ready to move together. We were overlooked (in every sense) by the DJ, who simply sat on his stage playing his own records; whatever he wanted; despite people showing him their phones and probably just asking for a connection to his speakers.

The upshot of his unwillingness to use any of the feedback from his dance floor, was that we stood around chatting. For two hours people mingled and moved, and felt moved. It was easy.

And then, for some reason, when The Prodigy’s Firestarter came on, the dance floor flooded. Immediately. And that’s where many of us stayed for the final two hours, the silent disco headphones coaxing me again and again with a reassuring feeling of being in my own world.

Everyone danced at some point, I’m sure. And still the conversations went on. (Possibly my best conversation took place in the toilets, of all places; and at the very end of the night, a toilet was again the venue for the uncontrollable laughter I took with me to my cold bed.)

Systemic Work

The conversations continued around breakfast the next day, along with people enjoying a more solitary experience in the sunshine deckchairs, around a still-smouldering campfire. And then it happened: Day Two.

The morning meditation brought a heaviness of ancestry, contrasted by the lightness of stepping forward into a life where my gift shines brighter than ever. It also brought a sharpened sense of now. The time is ripe for moving.

Thereafter, for the rest of the day, there was systemic work. One big constellation followed by smaller groups either side of lunch. It is not my place to write anything about the main group, beyond what I have already written. The sensitivity, as well as the breadth and depth of what happened, needs to stay there for a while.

Play & Move

I will end, therefore, with an explanation of the title of this piece. It comes from a much smaller constellation, in which I was very happy to engage, about how I can bring what I have to offer. I had two representations: my Gift, and Whatever is holding me back. Both brought a natural clarity and insight, and they were both so gentle towards me – a contrast to my intensity, which I am only seeing now, as I write.

He smiled at me and told me he wanted to play. That’s all my gift wants us to do. Play. She, meanwhile, stood behind me, not willing to move from the spot, but also with no intention of holding me back anymore. Happy to let me go. I don’t need to explain anymore. I don’t need to stand around anymore. Move. So I moved.

There was a another patch of sunshine on the grass ahead of me, near the playground I had explored earlier. I strode towards it with the same determination, strength and clarity, with which I had crossed the circle the previous morning. I invited my gift to join me on the swings. And that’s where the constellation ended. Me and my gift, in the sunshine, playing on the swings.

The whole event was wonderfully organised; skilfully and sensitively facilitated; and the best MWP event I have attended in the five years* since we first met. There are many reasons for that, of course, but it always comes back to the people and the relationships. Each of us brought ourselves as fully as we were able to, and the permission and acceptance we carried with us throughout, meant that I departed a more loving and connected person than when I arrived.

* All MWP posts

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