The idea for this post has been in my draft for some weeks now. And it just seems so appropriate now to share. So what do "fruits" have to do with facilitation?
When you look at or eat fruits, what comes to your mind? How do you feel? Just pause and remember.....
I see colours. I see freshness especially when you can still see drops of water drying on washed fruits. I feel different textures, sizes, shapes - usually no two fruits are exactly alike. When I eat fruits I feel instantly fresh and full but in a light sort of way. And the taste of sweetness and sour lingers on for quite a while. This is just what I can feel or sense right away. Fruits do magic for my whole being which I can experience in the days that follow. They keep me energetic and make me strong.
When I experienced Whole Person Process Facilitation for the first time in April 2013, I was pleasantly introduced to the idea that a person is a "whole" person - not just the "mind" that I was so typically used to seeing or being. Sharpness of the mind and the calmness of our responses comes from nourishing ALL aspects of our being - body, mind, spirit and emotions.
This more holistic awareness of our being had two implications - one was that if I see my own self as the facilitator as a "whole" person - what do I do to nourish all these four aspects on a regular basis? The second implication is that - if I regard my participants as "whole" persons then how does the space I hold accept and nourish all these four aspects of their being?
Just asking these questions itself was a game changer for me. I started looking at how I prepare myself as a facilitator - not just by doing the preparatory work but also by taking care of my physical health, my emotional health and my spiritual health? I came to recognise some of the practices I had which supported and nourished some of these aspects - for instance, I was already very conscious of the food I put in my body, I was able to get some regular exercise through the week, I showed up for the relationships that mattered. I became aware of where I needed to be more consistent - I did not really do anything to centre or ground myself and learn to be still even for a few moments. I was not so consistent in growing myself and my practice of facilitation. In the past few years, I made some conscious leaps in these aspects - first my ensuring that I did grounding exercises on the days I facilitated and even during the sessions when I got the time. I became part of peer learning communities and felt myself growing by sharing and learning and working together with other fantastic facilitators who have since impacted my practice in so many ways.
As I learnt from my mentors at Genuine Contact, preparing yourself as a facilitator is life long homework - something that you need to do daily not just when you have workshops (as a dear friend often tells me its like brushing or taking a bath - not getting a massage or a pedicure:P). So for example, I am trying now to have a daily breathing practice so I can nurture my spirit every day.
If I look at the point of view of my participants, this awareness of the "whole" being, makes me more empathetic towards where they are coming from and how they show up. I figure out ways to nurture all four aspects in the spaces I hold (even virtual! in as much as is possible) - how the space makes them feel comfortable, how the flow makes them want to engage, how the silence and reflection time makes them connect within, and how the food/ drinks help them feel more energy not less.
Why is this awareness of "whole person" so important right now? I am seeing around me stressed parents, stressed grandparents and anxious over stimulated children. Work situations are changing and everything seems uncertain and unpredictable right now.
All that is in our hands is what we do to nurture our own "whole" beings. That is all that we can control at the moment. So just pause and think about it - what can you do to better take care of your body, mind, spirit and emotions - little things you can do every day to feel more anchored? So you can become strong and resilient for those around you! And hopefully inspire them as well towards more holistic self care!