As we started the final day of Iziko Labahlali 2, Nini, Lionel and I looked at each other as we prepared for the day with a sense of emotion and tears in our eyes knowing that today we would say goodbye to the group for a bit while they took their next steps.
As we do everyday in the program, we began with our Community Circle. The sharing about “Homework” was wonderful and so powerful as each person shared their experiences. They got it! As we started the morning session, we created hand maps talking about the five people who currently act or have acted as a support or mentor for us in our lives so far. We then turned our focus on the five people each of us would like to mentor and support going forward. It was so amazing to listen to the passion and commitment to really embracing the people around us. We focused on looking at what we would like the future to become and how we could mold our circumstances.
To support our look into the future, we took the next step in completing our Rivers of Life and creating our body Images depicting who we had become and what we would like to become.
As our time together drew to a close, we created a plan for the group to continue communicating and interacting on a regular basis, with Lionel facilitating a weekly meeting. An exciting and emotional day!
Be a Part of the Change!
Coming back to the group after their first evening of homework was both inspiring and highly challenging. Some experienced remarkable results and others felt they wanted more time to create the experiences they wanted through homework.
As we stood arm in arm in our Community Circle with our family there were tears, there was laughter and even amazement at the experiences members of the group shared about their “Homework” experiences. We all agreed we would do homework again tonight to support each person in our family. By doing so, they could create the experience they wanted simply by doing “Homework”.
In the morning of the third day of our expedition into our lives, we learned about balance. We learned more about drilling down into our goals to understand ‘baby steps’. We learned about the importance and significance of understanding the smaller goals and steps beneath our greater goals so that we would be able to fully support and accomplish those goals .
At lunch that day, we were visited by all of the members of the founding Iziko Labahlali group. This first group talked about what they had accomplished in the past 7 months, how they had grown as individuals and as a family and how they had embraced more and more members of the community with their experiences and actions to create the results they had. They talked about next steps and their vision of their families and the community as a whole. Out current group watched and listened and then shared lunch with each other to talk and share one on one.
That afternoon we drilled down into the needs in the community. We started mapping existing skills and matching competencies to the real needs within the community. The focus shifted from instant gratification and merely jobs, to community needs, the future and the creativity around taking control of those needs and how they are provided and met.
We closed our day with a few more people sharing the Rivers of Life and the experiences around them. There was an exciting and silly, happy anticipation of getting to do “Homework”, as well as starting to explore their affirmations with a new and renewed sense of themselves.
Watch for our next posting Iziko Labahlali 2 – Day 4
Be a Part of the Change!
The group arrived excited from their first day’s experience. The energy was almost electric as we formed out Community Circle and shared our experience from the night before and what we learned in our first day.
In our second day, we continued to build trust. We started the process of building belief in self and the ability to create what we wanted through focus, tenacity and disciplined thinking. As we continued our journey, we learned how to create energy through goal setting, individually and as a group,
We started to learn about skills and the difference between skills and qualifications. Individuals surprised themselves as they explored their skills and competencies as a group.
Later in the day, we moved into support for our goals. We do this through intentions and affirmations. We stress the importance of living in the now and being able to hear, see and feel ourselves as being where we want to be. This allows us to create growth, awareness and a new way of looking at the world around us to see who and what is really there.
As the day progressed, real bonds of support started to appear among the group. They helped each other communicate and articulate difficult and life experiences to create learning, acceptance and ownership of what had shaped them into the person they had become up to this moment in time. A sense of relief and pure emotion developed as people started to understand that ALL of their experiences in fact had enabled and equipped them to take control of their lives and to start driving the bus instead of taking a ride in a runaway vehicle. The feedback came in the form of questions, rather than statements of fact, allowing the individuals to find and own their own answers.
We closed the day taking a sneak peak into what the future could be and shared more of the stories crafted and embedded into our Rivers of Life as we prepared for “Homework”. We went our separate ways with the challenge of communicating only with our eyes, hearts and smiles – and no words.
Watch for our next posting Iziko Labahlali 2 – Day 3
On the first day of the program, 22 people arrived. The group was a diverse group ranging in age from a 16-year-old young lady to mothers and grandmothers in their 60’s eager to get started and find out what we are all about. There was an air of anticipation in the room. Members of the original Iziko Labahlali group from August in 2010 had referred a number of the group in. They were aware of what the first group and individuals had already accomplished and were currently doing.
We started our day with the Community Circle, all facing each other in a circle as each person introduced themselves a little nervously. Two or three people in the group knew each other but for the most part they were all new to each other. Facilitating this session with me were Lionel and Nini, both graduates of the original session. Their confidence and sense of calm helped settled the new members as we described the journey we would embark on over the course of the next four days.
We began our journey getting to know each other, learning little facts about each other. The activities are designed to establish a mindset from which we can all communicate and grow from as we journey through Iziko Labahlali
together.We start the day in small groups and then progress, combining the groups into larger and larger groups ultimately having all of the participants back in the Community Circle sharing and learning about each person. The laughter and excitement that comes from within spurs the groups on and they quickly create new relationships. They lower their guards and begin trusting each of the other people a little more as the sharing continues.
We then moved into the initial stages of the River of Life, drawing a picture of our lives based on whom we had grown and become through our life’s journey and experiences. What is always so remarkable to me is how quickly the individuals bond and support each other. It surprises each of them too, that they can collaborate and support each after such a short time together. The key understanding and realization being that this is a personal, real and focused time with each other.
We ended our first day with a sense of achievement, unity and hope. The walls are adorned with passionate artwork of real journeys and our hearts are full from the stories and experiences shared. There is a real inquisitiveness as we say good evening and bid each other well until the morning. What if…?
The group left for home with new friends and a sense of belonging. Belonging to their new My Arms Wide Open family.
Watch for our next posting Iziko Labahlali 2 – Day 2