If you read the post on the first day of the retreat, you would have sensed the retreat was co-created, just like the movement. None of us could have done everything, but all of us did something to make the magical experience come alive. More than half the group co-facilitated the experiences in the retreat. Moreover, many contributed financially to make the retreat happen, including supporting those with constraints. Some friends who were not physically present with us contributed with their resources and wisdom.
This post delves deeper into our second day together. Read on to learn from our insights on enabling wellbeing in India.
Some of us commenced our day early, making the most of the lush greenery and beautiful bird songs at the venue. The early risers participated in a guided meditation with Ruchi. By the end of the 20 minutes, we felt one with earth, air, fire, water, space and our collective consciousness. There was no separation.
The most crucial exercise of the day was 4D Mapping, in which we embodied the system that impacts wellbeing of all in India. Marzia prepared us for this exercise by doing a warm-up that invited us to listen and respond to our bodies. All participants were assigned different stakeholders, from the Minister of Health and Family Welfare to a Muslim Woman from an Under-served Community. Marzia helped us step into the shoes of our stakeholders by leading us through an empathy meditation. I took the group through the process where we created two sculptures with our bodies, one reflecting the current reality and the other the highest future possibility. We then debriefed what we observed. (Read this note to understand the process if you are interested)
The exercise was potent, both to the participants and the observers. For me, a powerful moment was watching the fragmented, disconnected, self-centred sculpture that captured the current reality morph into a connected, supportive, and we-centred sculpture of the highest future possibility. The felt experience was so strong that we naturally broke into a warm smile in their final positions.
The insights were equally profound. We sensed the currently skewed distribution of power, respect and agency and the need to shift that dynamic. We understood the need to work together, given the magnitude of the change. Each of us had to turn toward one another and listen despite the initial discomfort it may cause. To make the shift, we had to let go of just seeing the problem analytically but tapping into the wisdom of our body and collective consciousness. We had to root ourselves in the intention, not outcomes, and do the inner work first to shift our doing and collaborating. The inner work involved fostering courage and compassion for ourselves and others.
We then turned our attention toward the Wellbeing Movement to discuss what this insight means for our collective being. Some questions and possibilities that the group raised included:
What is the tangible goal that galvanises us?
How do we enable more people to take initiatives for the whole?
How do we build awareness of the emerging whole so more people can join us?
How do we nurture this beautiful container we have created as a group?
Would affinity-based and place-based communities address the issues of diversity, inclusion, and co-ownership issues? How do we ensure these communities are independent while holding some common principles at their foundation?
How do we expand the capacity of many to weave communities focused on wellbeing?
Keerthana took us through a guided meditation and journaling process that helped us reflect on our roles in bringing this transformation. I was able to see I wanted to be a node in the mycelium network that maximised flow and connection towards wellbeing for all.
We closed under the same canopy we had begun. I took the group through a mindful walking exercise helping the group feel appreciation for their and their peers' presence, their land and this land of the School of Ancient Wisdom and their ancestors. We did a spoken journaling practice to capture our feelings, learnings and gratitude. We closed by holding hands while standing in the circle, visualising the nourishment we had offered to our social soil, the seeds we had planted, the flora that might grow and all the beings and elements that might interact with it. Lastly, we shared something we would like to offer and receive from this soil.
Gratitude and love were overflowing. Not one person left the retreat without a hug! One member said, "It feels like I have been with you for much longer than this weekend." What emerged was beyond any of our expectations.
We had joked about how we moved from 'Me' to 'MWe'. All our ego had dissolved in service of the whole. The only individual element that remained represented our unique, authentic potential to contribute to wellbeing.
Reach out to us through the comments or individually if:
You have thoughts and reflections that could help us
You would like to participate more proactively in weaving a movement for wellbeing
You would like to join our next retreat
You would like to learn from our process
If you are someone who belongs to either of these groups, we would especially like to welcome you to our group so that we can listen and explore how we might support you:
A young person under 20 years of age
The LGBTQIA community
An economically-challenged household
A person who is uncomfortable with the English language