A new session of Dream Group started a couple of weeks ago. On the first day, I asked 6 people who had never met to look around at each other. I asked them to notice what was coming up for them. What kinds of judgements were they making? What were they afraid the others were thinking about them? Then I told them that they would all fall in love with each other. Furthermore, that I guaranteed that this would happen. There were some amused and uncertain looks.
By the end of the second session, they knew I was right.
As they opened, and told their secrets, shared their sacred stories, put their fears on the table and let their masks fall away, the container was set and we were already falling.
Most of us work very hard to build an outer shell that is designed to repel judgement. "Hi, how are you?" "I'm fine, and you?" "I'm great, thanks for asking!".
In group we ask "how are you?", and we get real. "I'm scared that my love doesn't love me, and I don't know who I am without them. I was overwhelmed last night, and I cut myself, like I've done so many times before. It's been a rough week."
We let ourselves sink down to the bottom of the lake, where it's dark and and sometimes scary. We sit down there and listen to what needs to be shared. It's safe, because we're all there together. It's scary, because we're all there together.
There are two important parts of group work, the first is being able to share the unspeakable. The second is being able to hear feedback on that.
"I feel like I'm unlovable"
Out in the "real world" this comment would be met with "oh, don't say that! You're awesome! I love you!".
But deep inside, there's this voice; "if they really knew you, they could not love you. They love the image that you project, but you know that's not real".
So the idea that we are unlovable persists, because we have created an environment for ourselves that doesn't feel genuine.
Jung said, "the psyche does not suffer deception well". We know when we are being lied to, and it's uncomfortable, and it happens all day long.
So part of group work is calling bullshit when we see it. When someone shares some hard stuff, and they end with "but it's fine, I'm ok". We ask, "what is it that makes you want to box that back up right now?. How does it feel in your body to have shared that and know that we saw through your mask?. What are you afraid we're thinking about you now? Now that we know your secret?". Let's just leave that wound open, let's not cover it back up just yet. We don't need to fix it, that's your work to do, but we can just sit here with that. And it's ok for you to let that happen. This is safe, even though it doesn't feel like it.
Group is not for everyone. You need to be ready. You need to be willing to shed your skin and stand exposed, and let the group blow kisses that can sometimes sting.
Once we feel like the group really knows us, knows all the parts that we run around all day trying to hide, then, and only then, can we start to believe it when they say;
You are lovable
You are enough
I see you
I see all of you
Until you can hear your own strong voIce telling you you're ok, I want you to use mine, and believe it.