UKAGP Community Day – Your Feedback
Our Commuity Day and AGM on 5th June was conceived as an ‘open space’ to meet creatively and allow the emergent take place, and proved to be a intimate, engaging, fun and thoughtful event.
For our 2016 event, the committee felt a need to focus on comments expressed at the previous conference, and decided to ‘provide the space, and see what happened’. All we would set would be a start and end time, and encourage all attendees to bring lunch that could be shared.
However and rather than describe the particulars of what happened, as the moment is passed, I’d like to share a few post-conference comments we received, through which our friends and colleagues express their own experience.
“UKAGP embodies a sense of the Gestalt ‘spirit’ – the shared values and lived discipline that Gestalt experience manifests. Whenever Gestaltists come together I notice a distinctive quality of energy, good feeling, and what I call ‘Whole Intelligence’ that arises. It comes from creating a shared relational field, coming into the present, acknowledging what’s happening in the room, and identifying what needs to happen that will serve the meeting best. It was great to be part of such an event, where we also connected inter-generationally to remember roots and history, and how the present can easily mirror the past – a fascinating exploration. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Community Day.”
“I did not know what to expect from the day, but found myself feeling disappointed and a little fearful of exposing my vulnerable-self in a group which was much smaller than I had imagined. However, my disappointment and anxieties quickly disappeared much like the view from a fast-moving train, and as the minutes ticked by I experienced group members as warm, open and equally vulnerable.
I felt much ease upon realising that I felt completely at one with these relative strangers as we got stuck in with contracting that the day would be student-led and allowed to evolve in an organic and spontaneous manner – which it did without difficulty. Very Gestalt, I thought. And my guess is that my Gestalt Centre tutors would approve! As thoughts were expressed, feelings revealed, and creative ideas shared, I became aware of how much I was enjoying each member and his/her contributions, as well as the group as a whole – which I felt incredibly privileged to be part of.
The experience of listening and really being listened to, supporting and truly being supported ensured my complete presence and attention. I was also aware of another – less familiar – feeling: that of feeling secure within the group. And this felt GOOD. So good. Full of joy from feeling the warmth and security of the group, I felt able to participate fully, to contribute and to be fully authentic; no mean feat for me as a struggling trainee.
I feel this experience was special and I feel satisfied at what we achieved. However, as pointed out by John on the day, I too am wondering “why don’t [people] get together like this more often”?
As we parted and I headed for my train, I pondered on John’s question once more and thought: “I want more of this”!”
“I really enjoyed meeting all of you at the UKAGP community day. It felt important to be there, I think the small number made it more meaningful in a way.
I like to remember that I came down to London, with the support I received from my colleagues in Manchester, as none of them could attend the day, and they encouraged me to make it.
I felt a block during the passage between awareness and mobilisation and I am glad that I asked for and then I received the support I needed in order to move and take action.
In fact, as I said during the event, I didn’t then find any difficulties and/or distress in travelling and being there with you. The all experience felt a bit odd in terms of number of people (I expected more people as most of us did) and a programme of the day: I usually attend workshops and conferences where there are speakers and specific themes.
The beauty of the day was that we just experienced the theme. The only aspect I missed was body movement – maybe it is because I have recently experienced “The Street” method – I felt like the chairs were an obstacle to movement sometimes.”
“I have a few thoughts about what was left for me of the day: the interesting mix of people that attended, 21 of us, Rachel holding the space, the initial concern with low numbers that became an invitation to be present for those who did attend, the working through complains and disappointments towards expression and acknowledgment of needing support and the spontaneous figure of interest and offerings that followed and kept building up throughout the day.
Dawn’s unfinished business that became a graduation celebration. Malcolm’s facilitation that invited all voices and allowed expression of some rebellion, Hugh’s emotive recount of his experience of retroflected emotions that found release through music and through his sharing with us, just a reminder of emergent creativity that paralleled our group process that day.
Having lunch together in the sunny patio, the interesting discussions during the AGM and emerging appreciation of the community spirit present and the fear of it been drown by regulations and changes.
The holding experience of a group that had fresh and new members that knew nothing of how things are done and the old and wise that had seen it all…
My final thought, having been part of organising the day, was that having been so focussed on our initial concern, the offering of an open space to the community, I had never imagined that what would emerge, that sense of community – the experience of feeling and thinking and sharing and the listening to the diverse voices, the working through conflict, the appreciations, the whole day – would be so nurturing for all of us.”
Finally, Malcolm Parlett had copies copies of his latest book ‘Future Sense’ and is kindly willing continue his offer of a discounted price for UKAGP members. Malcolm can be contacted on 01865 201 528.