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  • Writer's picture Brian E Pearson

The House Group

Here is my fantasy. Every Wednesday night, or every second Tuesday, or the first Thursday of every month, six or eight or ten adults gather in someone's living room, or around their dining room table, or out on the deck. (There are lots of variations in my fantasy.) We take time to transition from the work-a-day world and reconnect with one another. There is wine, or not, coffee and dessert, or not. But when the clock strikes seven, or seven-thirty, we put everything else aside and settle down for the business at hand: "What are you working on?"

It's the question that held the focus of our men's group at St. Stephen's. It's so seemingly straight-forward, yet so disarmingly real. So real, in fact, that it feels sacred, requiring "space" around it, observed as reflective silence. The silence helps us enter the moment, either by asking ourselves, "So, what am I working on?" or by preparing our hearts to be open and present to those who will speak.

When someone volunteers an answer to the question, the group pays that person the courtesy, and the honour, of its undivided attention. No one jumps in, saying, "Oh, I know just what you mean, why, just the other day ..." No one leans into the circle, pointing a finger, saying, "You know what you should've done ..." Everyone listens with their hearts. No one judges. No one presumes to have a solution. No one denies the speaker the right to tell their own story, or to fashion their own choices, or to make their own discoveries on their journey.

Then the group holds the space with another silence. One by one, each person feeds back one thing they heard the speaker say. They don't interpret it, or embellish it, just, "What I heard you say was ..." One thing. And then, after more silence, someone offers, briefly, a similar work they themselves have done, or are doing. Others offer stories from their own experience. We conclude by asking the first speaker if there is anything else they'd like to say. Then we stand and thank them, perhaps with a bow and a "Namaste." The floor is open for another speaker. "What are you working on?"

This is my fantasy for a group of chosen friends, to accompany me on my journey, and to accompany them on theirs. There may be a facilitator, and a host, but there are no leaders, and no teachers. Life itself is the teacher, and the leader, and ultimately the Source of all Wisdom. God's Spirit is present, but unnamed, and we its followers.

Next week: Provisions for the Road

The Mystic Cave podcast:

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Feb 08, 2021

Oh YES! I have been seeking such a gathering for some time....years. I could not find or develop a 'safe' group. Please count me personal fantasy is a daytime 'coffee' hour...a 10ish or 11ish, or a 2 ish or 3 ish sort of time. Looking forward to this time on Zoom. Dan K

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