For those of us who are aware of our need for social change, that we realize that this society might be the manifestation of our collective existence on this planet, and we are part of this manifestation, plus we want to go further as beings and manifest other qualities on this society, this planet. Since we feel that just reproducing what this system is teaching to our society it is not enough, or even it is harmful for us and the other beings around us, here comes gestalt to facilitate us on this.
1. realize what ideas, beliefs, practices this system has input to us as introjections (an inner belief that we absorbed from the environment without checking out if this fits to us as organism). So maybe, I believe in freedom and I have also introjected that if I set my loving people in this state of freedom they will not appreciate me enough to stay with me and take me seriously…so my old and internal system belief is not following my new belief and there my actions might not follow either…
2. become aware and be able to choose among the introjections the ones who are useful to us really on here and now and maybe create some new if we need to ( loving each other is safe; together we can go more further than individually; I like it when I act with love and freedom; etc )
3. work on realizing and releasing the tendency to act out from automatic behaviors derived from old patterns based on useless introjections , or old traumas that made us develop behaviors and attitudes in life to protect ourselves such us blocking ourselves from connecting with others; or learn to reproduce behaviors that will keep others at a distance …
those decisions can be very strong inside us, accompanied by the fear to leave them behind also, even if they don’t bring freedom and love in our life and we feel highly frustrated as a result.
4. work on our projections. Often we tend to see behaviors in others that trigger us and then if we look more carefully we can be surprised: the characteristics and behaviors that we judge or reject in others can be part of us also, so its very useful to check this part inside of us, recognize it, hug it, and then be able to be aware of it next time it comes to the surface so we can choose if we want to act from it or not…( do I really want to be competitive or judgmental or disconnected here and now?)
5. work on the tendency to ignore an awareness here and now by a deflection (turning automatically my attention to something else). This can be a useful mechanism some times. In this workshop our purpose is to focus on the moments that a deflection takes us away from connecting with each other and realize the phenomenology of our reality especially the one we don’t like ; then we can act on it ( I work ten hours per day but I deflect how bad this is for my organism since I can buy many objects – cloths,cars,etc ; or I can eat in the most expensive area and so on; or my boss frustrates me with his complains all the time and I deflect from that and I transfer this tension I felt to other relationships )
6. work on our retroflections, meaning how we turn an energy that directs to the environment toward ourselves; the frustration I feel from my boundary being suppressed in a way I don’t like – being payed badly, receiving insulting comments etc –
I turn it to myself as a self suppression-violation – I eat a lot or I talk bad to myself- instead of act this energy to the environment and defend my boundary – ask the money I deserve, the respect I deserve as an employee, citizen or person.
The expression of anger that is the basic feeling that develops when our boundaries are being violated is one of the most suppressed ones in our society! I suspect that this makes so effective the maintenance of social “peace” in times of social and psychical war ( how many people die per day in the war in Syria and so many other places and we don’t even run an anti-war movement anymore as we did in 2003).
To give a full idea about retroflection, it can also occur when I want to express my love through a hug or a cup of tea to someone in my environment and out of being suppressed in my self expression I just cuddle myself and I don’t transmit this energy to the other so I don’t get the chance to see how this interaction would go on if I would express my self really…this is also a piece to work on, how and what shinny parts of us have been shut down out of this social-educational system ( being spontaneous, sensitive, happy, creative, sad, expressive etc)
7. work on the confluences we have in general – whenever we speak from we instead of our-selves.
It is very important to be able to realize every moment what is that really makes sense for us as organisms within our given environment.
It is nice to feel part of a larger group, and be able to figure out where lies the natural sense of it ( yes, my organism feels good to eat all together with this group at the moment) and where starts the confluence ( we should be eating all together be-cause we are a group).
And is it helpful for my existence to be in this confluence ( I am in the middle of nowhere in an place I don’t feel so secure to be alone so better stay with my group beside my desire to be alone at the moment or I am safe enough it is a sunny day in the park and I can take a walk apart from the group and revitalize myself by satisfying this need and then be able to be a more vital part of my group again? )
Is the confluence we are all “hippies” and share peace and love useful for me at the moment, when someone is violating my limits and I want to defend them ?
Is the one we are all “anarchists” and we wanna live outside of this “system” helpful for me in every moment, when I need to use a structure such as a hospital that is totally part of this system I am fighting against?
Is it helpful to consider me, the president and a rich businessman of “our” country -this piece of land we live in – a group that have the same economical, social and political interests and make statements such us “we, Greeks are experiencing a economic-social crisis while others under this condition might get richer and others die out of cold and hunger ? ”
Separating what is a real need, what is a useful confluence and a useless one is necessary for the organism to be more aware in the here and now and to be able to make more suitable choices for itself with respect to the environment.
So, on this workshop we will work on all these dimensions as they appear in the moment for each participant. Probably not all of them will appear at once, since discovering ourselves is a process happening every moment of our lives and the sense feels like “peeling the onion”, as titled the book of gestalt therapist Bud Feder.
We will use exercises, games, gestalt therapy and awareness process to trigger and enter to what is here and now our experience and be able to share it with each other – a process that can roll from comfort to discomfort, to be honest.
( Yes, it might not be so pleasant to admit in front of my libertarian group that I have the tendency to be a control-freak! But, on the other hand, what can be better for our interaction than to own all my pieces so they can control me less and less and start setting myself more and more free to trust to myself and others? )
THE REWARD from such a process can include :
– I am real to myself and others
– to come closer to the other beings and
– discover the common points and differences among us
– how these can be helpful for us as an organism and lead us to growth as individuals and as a members of a larger group
– and finally give to us the ability to reinforce each other in how we envision our existences on this planet.
Do we want to reproduce what we learned or we want to re-create together a new social reality that provides our organisms with freedom, appreciation and love ?
This workshop is my attempt to create a world more suitable for all beings and this planet itself. I hope you are willing to join me in this trip !
This workshop can be applied to a newly-formed group just for the experience of this workshop, or to an already formed group . In the formed group there is a bigger chance that people are already aware of their difficulty to practice in their everyday relationships their ideas and proposals for a better world. ( I want everyone to be treated nicely and sometimes my anger get triggered from some person or opinion and I loose my temper! How can I work on that so to facilitate a more calm, trustful communication? )
Ideally though, the ones who will attend the workshop in a newly-formed group , it would be very helpful for the process to have a clue about yourself how you sabotage yourself from actualizing your beliefs and proposals for the way we share life on this planet!
To end, I will give some general examples where actions and realizations
are in contrast :
– I realize that educating children with violence is not what humanity needs, though when I get very triggered from my children behavior it is hard for me to act from love and compassion.
– I know that eating more than I need harms my organism, though when I feel sad, or angry or when I am lost in watching something while I have my meal I might eat more than I need.
– I am in favor of libertarian relationships yet when my partner actualizes his freedom I cannot stand it, while when I do it I feel fine with this concept!
– I care about social change but what can I do? I am just one person!
– I vote since I still believe in this method and when the new government does not follow the program I voted for, I do nothing and accept that my fate is to be treated badly…
– I consider I am not sexist yet I discriminate men and women, I make generalizations about them and have generalized feelings or prejudices.
– I am in for acceptance and compassion and every time something goes not as I planned ( relationships, actions, communications etc) I accuse myself harsly and talk to myself badly.
– I like cooperation with people and I think together we can go more further than me alone, yet I find myself having a hard time to trust others in common processes which hinders me from really act as part of the group.
To make myself clear, my purpose through this process is not to expect perfect people who do everything they say and believe; my purpose is to explore how my energy might stuck at some points and how I help it flow again, and also to live a life with more integrity and less inner conflict.
I don’t know if we can ever go past all our contradictions; I am vegetarian and sometimes I might eat cheese, eggs or even fish!
I know, though, that recognizing them and giving them voice and space leads to my energy flow more, while trying to hide what I do from myself does the opposite.
Also, as far as it concerns my behavior to others, again it is more helpful for my true communication and connection with them to share my truthfulness even if it is contradictory. ( I don’t feel good when I see you flirting with other people and maybe I even leave this bar to defend to myself your right to actualize our contract of open relationship or I share to my group my difficulty to trust them openly and I risk them being uncomfortable by being real; or distrust me also with their turn.)
Usually, whatever will be left under the “carpet” will show up at some point with me most probably having little awareness of myself, which can easily lead me to act out frustrated feelings which can make everyone feel worse in the long run, compared to taking the risk to be real in the moment with my contradictions.
To a fulfilled, complete, joyful, alive life that can form a sweeter world that makes more sense !!!