Personal Growth on the move? Yes!
On Sunday, 7th January, I took part in a pilot event for a new Life Coaching Group, my friend, Mandy has launched.
She is inspired by the Shamanic idea of community and the powerful, positive effects we can have on one another.
In her own words:
“The group coaching idea comes from the inspiration of Shamanic practice. They believed that one-to-one counselling is only temporary, as we heal from each other and support”
And as a Person Centred Counsellor, she should know. Now I believe too – the effect is orders of magnitude more powerful then one-to-one coaching.
You benefit not just from your own insight, as your mind is gently guided towards certain themes or tropes; you benefit from everyone else’s insights about themselves and about you.
Personal Growth Plus if you like.
Mandy has combined this idea with physical activity – nature walking in inspiring locations, to get us all vibrating with energy, but grounded. This opens your mind to inspiration and reflection.
The first event was to take place in Lymm, Cheshire. (The name “Lymm” is of Celtic origins, and means a “place of running water”. It is likely derived from an ancient stream that ran through the village centre).
The day before the event, Mandy had asked us all to do or think of 3 things before we arrived:
- What are stocks? What are your Stocks? How do they feel? She wasn’t talking about Gold or Oil, but the ancient devices used to restrain, punish and humiliate the accused.
- Think about water; what it represents to us and how it makes us feel.
- Set an intention to receive an unexpected gift or blessing. No specifics – just asking the Universe to send you these things within 48 hours.
We all met up centrally before travelling, and Mandy set out how the day would unfold, but giving us the freedom to wander and observe on our own as we chose. It was very relaxed and the only real requirement was to be mindful.
After a short drive, we parked up at a Library next to the Bridgewater Canal and began our walk.
Mandy guided the walk, enlightening us on points of interest or history as we went, as when we came upon something of note.
The walk itself took us along a short section of the canal, then through Lymm village and past Lymm Mill Pond, then up through the Dingle, woods on the bank of the Dam Lake, and circled around the lake via the beech groves back towards Lymm.
Along the way we talked, walked in silence, took photographs and appreciated the beauty around us – we simply lived in the moment. During this, I set my intention free when I felt the most at peace and inspired.
Once we had passed through the beech groves we took a break and began talking about our “stocks”.
I won’t reveal anyone else’s here, but my stocks were a point of restraint and immobility preventing me from moving forward, and represented in real life by a habituated contentment with the status quo and staying within my comfort zones.
We all shared and discussed our Stocks, which felt very liberating and surprisingly easy considering not everyone knew everyone else.
We stopped half-way through the last half of the walk at a lovely pub called Church Green (it’s next door to St. Mary’s Church). We had coffees or hot chocolates and sat outside. Some of us talked, others sat and thought. I chose to write some brief thoughts:
“7th Jan 2018, 14:30
Sitting outside at Church Green Pub, Lymm
Just taking a break during Mandy’s first “Feck Yeah” walk.
This was just what I needed today, and I am so grateful for my wonderful friend. I’m really happy she has started this, and very glad to support her efforts.
Contentment and comfort zones stopping me from taking risks. It simply boils down to fear.
A liquid light that soothes my soul.
Do not be content to just sit where I am. To achieve what I need requires courage and movement.”
I know that seems condensed and brief, but it was shorthand for myself so I would recall how free I felt, to acknowledge that although I have gone way out of my comfort zone deliberately many, many times over the past 12 months, there was still that pull to return to a safe zone. It was still stopping me from doing everything I could do.
The walk completed with a walk back into Lym village to look at the stocks in the village square, so we could see the physical representation of our psychological restraints. A full stop, if you will, to solidify them.
We then retired to a pub for some soft drinks, and Mandy asked us, in turn, to share with the group our thoughts and feelings about what we had just done, and to make some plans to tackle our stocks. This was a real conclusion to the day, and some deeply personal things were shared by everyone; in confidence and with complete trust.
Amongst other things, I shared that I had been disappointed not to have been able to complete my goal of training for a 10K run last year. And that now I had the time to do it, my knees were always in pain. One member of the group shared with me the concept of walking correctly – something I thought we all did pretty naturally. But this turns out not to be the case, and that changing the way I walk can help with my knee pain.
It was only afterwards I realised that my knees had not hurt during the entire walk, and they were still not hurting. I took that, and the advice, as my blessing. I promised my advisor that I would dedicate my first 10K run to her.
After we had completed our group session, we walked back to the car park suitably refreshed, invigorated and unburdened.
We are now hugely looking forward to the next one this Saturday.
Oh, my gift? That came to me on Monday. I have been doing some graphic design for a friend since last year, and have been doing this pro bono (and will continue to do so). We had a meeting on Monday to discuss her next requirements, and when she arrived she had brought me a bottle of something nice.
*Stocks are “a form of public punishment used until Victorian times. Minor criminals and nuisance-makers would have their feet securely locked into this frame, allowing villagers to ridicule them and even throw rotten vegetables, and other things, at the offender.” – Jarrold Publishing.