Summer in New Zealand is full of fabulous lifestyle festivals. My favourites are the ‘Transformational Festivals’ that offer camping, musical performances, healers and workshops in modalities including: massage, yoga, tai chi, diet, meditation and what I could loosely call ‘philosophy’.
For the last couple of years in addition to performing music at the various festivals I have been introducing the work of Zenergy Global to the participants of these festivals in short, 90min – 2 hour sessions where I can present a specific experiential process and allow time to explore it with a group, discuss it and importantly debrief from it together.
For Prana I facilitated a stage in the round, The Circle, and this was an opportunity to use facilitation techniques as an alternative to what would be called the Stage Managers role on conventional stages. I have blogged in detail about this project here.
At Evolve festival I offered 2 sessions. The first was called ‘Being With’ which is a process exploring the 3 pillars of great facilitation ‘ Being with self, Being with another and Being with the group’ simultaneously. My second workshop was ‘Identity Check’, a process to uncover and debrief the projections that we, as facilitators, can unknowingly put on members of the groups we work with.
Seamless organisation of a busy festival programme is a big logistical challenge and details can easily go astray. I was up to run ‘Being With’ at the first spot of 10am on Saturday morning. When I turned up to the venue the key hadn’t been delivered and I faced the locked door with the knowledge that I needed to think fast and get into improvisation mode immediately as participants were already starting to arrive.
With the Sun streaming down I spied a sail cloth cover over a small outdoor playground at the adjoining kindergarden and occupied the space. The fresh air was lovely, the sail cloth just covered our group of 20 and we worked through the process using the whole garden. Participants explored the sound of their names as part of the ‘Being With’ warm up – and had conversations with each other where only their own names were spoken. A sense of joviality prevailed. As part of the process we settled into a group vocal improvisation, taking care to hear each member of the group, even the quiet voices. We worked with mirroring the sounds around us, focusing on our own and each others sounds. We ran the group improvisation twice. The first time just as we started to make sound the Kindergarden alarm went off! We worked with it….. and at the exact moment that we finished so did the alarm. We were astounded.
Luminate Festival is held on the top of Takaka Hill in the South Island and runs for over a week. It is a larger gathering with around 2000 people attending. Workshops are a big attraction and the first of the two I ran was Mining the Gold / Powerful listening which attracted over 80 people. As we could have up to 2 hours for this session I started with the ‘ Being With’ material and moved into the listening exercises after we had time to really get centered. The marquee was buzzing with conversations in pairs where people listened to their partners speak and listened for specific attributes, including : commitments, concerns, contributions and magnificence. The idea of listening for such profound and positive messages in each others words was inspirational for the group and the session was potent.
My final workshop of my summer adventure was ‘Identity Check’. This is an important tool for a facilitator as we must be very clear when we are working with groups of people that we are not projecting our own baggage and past relationships onto the people we are working with. The session was intense. By this stage of the festival people were up for some meaty work and as the session was run at the time of a rain storm we had a few people who may not have found their way into the tent otherwise. Some of my best memories of this session was the 2 young men who were reminded of their mother by one of the women in the workshop. Such a common and compelling projection that demands debriefing to keep the relationship authentic. We were able to use the idea of debriefing this projection by proxy, without the woman who sparked the memory being aware that two men were working on their projections towards her. It was a win win for the guys, and they were very happy they had stumbled in to the workshop, unaware of the healing work they would undertake.
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