Holding Groups and Creating Space
If you want a bit of support focusing a group or creating and holding a sacred space, here are some suggestions that might be of value.
1) Make an introduction before showing the film to explain the intention of the gathering, if you have one, so that everyone is on the same page. What we might suggest is to watch, feel, and witness this film and your responses to it…and then, before speaking, listen inwardly to what we want to offer in the gathering that is relevant to this topic.
2) Tell people in advance that you plan to take a 5-minute meditative silence after the film and before you begin the discussion part of the gathering.
3) This might be a way to start the discussion: “This is a perhaps an unfamiliar space for many of us so let’s go more slowly than usual, more mindfully, giving ourselves and others our full attention when we speak…..”
4) Use a talking stick or other precious object which is used to “hold the floor.” So when the speaker holds it, no one else speaks. This reminds us of the ritual or sacred nature of our circle…and to be present for others.
5) Pause after each women speaks, letting her words sink in deeply, so we hear beyond the words. Then whoever feels moved to speak next, raise your hand or indicate your desire for the talking stick. And remember, we are talking from our present moment of experience, what comes to you in this moment…images, sensations in the body, memories…to allow the mind to sink into the heart so we can speak from there.
6) As moderator, you can make an indication like the soft ringing of a bell or chime as a visible cue, if you notice anyone beginning to get off topic or to talk automatically, mindlessly…from nerves, or habit, to help bring the group all back to the original purpose.
4) Explain that there is no shame in getting off-track , we all do it! And try to get agreement from the group that when we hear the chime all talking ceases, that we pause, take a breath, and listen if more needs to be said. If not, pass on the talking stick to whomever wants to speak next.
5) Share some food. Tea and cookies…or a meal adds such a beautiful ending/transition for a gathering.
Some Ideas About Questions
Let’s begin with the first question (we provide a list of suggested questions if you get a screening license): How did the film make you feel?
1) Keep in mind that not everyone needs to respond to every question. Just go by what feels to you like the right amount of time. Or you can set a suggested amount of time….
2) Then ask the next question…not necessarily the next one on the list, but the next one that feels right for your group in that moment….maybe you only get through 2-3 questions in your gathering.
3) You can also send the list home with people so that they can, if they wish, further explore these questions for themselves or share at a later date with the group.
4) You can also see if women want to write their responses and share that way…but always from the place of the heart…not the head.
We hope you will make this guide your own…do what feels right to you and what you think might your friends feel comfortable and engaged.
My thanks to Mary Saunders, author of Rhythms of Change, for bringing forth many of these suggestions.