I wanted to make this blog post to try and describe the essence of how I'd like my workshops to feel for you when you attend ~ sometimes that is more important than what we actually 'do' in the time we spend together. Everyone brings their own unique self to the space, and part of my job is to help us all feel as relaxed, supported and content as possible!
When we arrive, we need a little bit of time to 'land'. Finding a seat, orientating in the room, putting things down, and coming to be present in the space. I always choose a workshop venue that feels comfortable and relaxing to be in, because this is really important for me as well as you!
My groups are usually small, around 5-10 people, and it's really lovely for us to say hello and introduce ourselves at the beginning. And trust me, I so appreciate that this bit can feel sticky and awkward for a minute, but I've learnt that it's essential for the rest of our session to flow and chat more easily! Often I'll ask you to write your name big on a piece of paper whilst we wait for everyone to arrive, which is a helpful visual reminder too.
We usually start with some warm-ups and self check-ins, before introducing some longer and maybe more thought-provoking prompts. Although there is space for deep reflection and inquiry, our tone is light, playful and curious - we usually have a lot of smiling and laughter! And yet there is also room for tears and any other emotion that comes up (often tears and laughter at the same time!). All is welcome.
I let all participants know that my role here is not as a therapist - I am facilitating and holding the space, but ultimately we are a creative peer-support group. (Signposting is always available if anyone is looking for specific support). I use my coaching and teaching skills to guide our group, but each participant decides for themselves what they would or wouldn't like to explore or share. Every prompt is optional, and often there are elements to note down and revisit later.
Each unique workshop group determines the proportion of the time we spend writing and talking - some are wonderful chatterboxes and we connect and discuss our responses in detail, whereas other groups might be more introspective and keep it all on the page - and we write essays! Both feel very special to be a part of.
The feelings I aim to create are: ease, connection, lightness, empowerment, acceptance, release, inspiration and curiosity. Most of all I want you to feel safe and welcome.
Here are some ways that workshops have been described by attendees, which I think sum up how I feel after delivering them too:
"This workshop has been inspirational and helped me look forward to the year ahead whilst organising my thoughts."
"Friendly, non-judgemental, just lovely."
"Thank you for the space and freedom to just 'Be'."
"Safe, welcoming, relaxing."
"It was so nice to just have the time to stop and breathe, and express through writing with like-minded people."
"Judgement-free safe space."
"It really felt like a welcome space of calm and community"
I'm so grateful for these reviews and whenever I'm having a hard day with self-employed motivation, I look at these and am reminded how special it is when we can come together in workshops and feel these feelings!
If you're thinking about coming along but have any extra questions or unique needs, please feel free to send me an email ~ email@example.com and I can try and answer or we can work it out together!