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Guidelines for Mutuality Groups (copied from http://www.wakingdown.org/essay.asp?PageID=...)
By CC Leigh
Keep in mind that the foremost principle guiding mutuality groups is that everyone is fundamentally already okay, exactly as they are, no matter what aspect of their total being is arising at any moment. Our work in mutuality is to practice radical acceptance in the moment (greenlighting), bringing compassion and kindness to each other where there used to be pressure to change or be different from how you are. In this climate of safety, deep healing and transformation will occur organically through the wisdom of Being and according to each person’s own right timing.
There must be a sufficient sense of safety before mutuality can take root and grow. Accordingly, these guidelines are about creating a safe space for mutuality—which is a precursor to “full” mutuality which can only develop over time with practice and intention, awareness and heart.
Things that undermine safety
• Letting one person dominate the space
• Giving advice; “fixing”
• Headiness, abstraction, or conceptual framing that doesn’t honor the unique humanity of the speaker
• Anger that blasts and blames
• Making the other responsible for what you’re feeling
• Giving feedback before safety, connection, and trust is established
• Taking away someone’s experience by trying to change how they feel
• Listen respectfully to others
• If something is welling up, it is useful to speak it as appropriate
• Make “I” rather than “you” statements if you get triggered by something (i.e., “I feel” rather than “you did thus and such” or “you made me feel thus and such”)
• Have the intention to come from your deepest place
• Support one another in staying in integrity
• Acknowledge people’s totality as both divine (Presence) and human (individual)
• Help people feel validated, valued, and seen by finding a few words to let them know you got them (see “Notes on Reflecting” below)
• However, it’s not necessary for everyone to give feedback on everything
• Draw out non-verbal people by inviting them forward, or offering to sit in silence with them. Alternatives to personal sharing include poetry, music, or receiving touch
• It’s okay to decline feedback—you can say so up front before you begin sharing
• Be willing to vulnerably reveal yourself to the group – as trust deepens and when you feel safe enough to do so
• Avoid labeling other people or referring to them as their personality type (ennea-type, human design, etc.) as if this explains why they are as they are (however, you can speak about your own type if this is something useful you are exploring).
• If you need to vent intense or explosive emotions warn your listeners first and ask if they can hold that with you
• Don’t expect the group to be a substitute for one-on-one work with a teacher or, as needed, a body-centered therapist (groups function best when all members have regular contact with a WD teacher)
• If you get really triggered, you may want to speak this to a neutral third party first. Then you’ll be more able to communicate with less reactivity to the other party
• Mutuality takes practice and will inevitably get messy at times. Do call upon your teachers, mentors, or other elders in the process for assistance (or mediation) when needed
Notes on Reflecting
• Skill in giving reflections will develop with practice
• You don't need to impress people with clever insights
• You don't need to do it the way anyone else does it
• Being will support the space
• Sometimes nothing arises; if that happens, keep your response very simple. Don't try to make things up just because you think you are expected to
• Listen with your ears, eyes, body, and heart—you can reflect what you noticed through any of these portals:
"I heard you say ______"
“I see how small that made you feel"
"I feel how that might have been for you"
"I was touched by hearing about that situation"
• Sometimes you simply repeat back something they said -- you can do this to be sure you heard correctly: "Let me see if I heard you: what I heard was this_______"
• As you're listening, what you're hearing may remind you of similar situations from your life. Reflect the speaker’s experience first, and then, if there seems to be an opening and interest, you might share your story (perhaps during your own sharing time)
• name any emotion you pick up from them: "I get how (angry/frustrated/sad/irritated/scared/ etc.) that makes you feel"
• ask a clarifying question (can ask permission first)
• invite them to say more about the situation or feeling
• say something about them that you admire or respect (like their courage or willingness to speak what they shared, or how valuable it was for you to hear it)
Leading suggestions (only for teachers & mentors, or if requested by the person who’s sharing at the time):
• invite them to stay with that feeling if it feels right to do so
• invite them to say where they feel it in their body
• invite them to check to see what's making that feeling so (mad/sad/glad/excited/ whatever)
• invite them to see if it reminds them of any similar situation (or the first time they felt it)
Don't assume you know what's going on with them, or why it's happening (remember that everyone is always a Mystery)
If you get a hunch, insight or "hit":
• don't immediately speak it. The most powerful insight comes from within, when they're ready to discover it for themselves (rather than when told by someone else)
• or, you can check it out with them, presenting it as a maybe for them to check against their own knowing and resonance
Mutuality evolves with practice and further study from this basic foundation into more direct encounters between self and other--a sort of living alchemical fire that can bring profound transformation and unfolding of the potential for real intimacy between people. However, presence and greenlighting in themselves are powerful agents of healing, and the most important gifts we offer to one another. As long as you have the intention of bringing those elements to your practice of mutuality, the rest will follow.