Worldwork 2008 Masthead

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Participant reflections

Errol Amerasekera
It touched something deep inside of me, something that had been trying to come out for years, but never quite knew how to show itself. It gave me the framework, the vehicle and the support to start to work in the world in a way that was and is closer to my deepest calling. And within these things I found hope that, I could start to make a difference….
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Sylvia Ondrisova  
Worldwork was a very intense event for me. It was first time I had met so much passion, openness and closeness in the same place. I was confused several times, of course, but it woke me up. I have realised how much I’m a part of my society and how strongly I can influence how we feel in it. It can sound like a paradox, because now, I feel my own responsibility in social issues and it brings me relief. It gives me the possibility of looking in my own kitchen and seeing what I need to see. And then, I don’t need to perpetuate judging others anymore. I even don’t have to feel guilty because I have something which others haven’t. Rather, I can appreciate everything I have and can do. It gives me the choice and openness to find many ways of how to share it with others and create it for all of us. Personally, I feel very thankful for this learning. It’s even difficult to explain, it can only be experienced.

Siphamandla Mngomezulu
South Africa
I found the structure of the Worldwork seminar to be most friendly to first time participants because it also offered options for us to grasp the theoretical background of Process Work. Having been mentored by some Jungian therapists in my early years of training, I identified a lot with most of the processes that happened during the seminar. I was humbled to see how much people were willing to share their true selves in most of the group processes, which is one of the challenges for Black Africans. Reflecting back in my African culture I am now starting to realize the role of silent voices that were never allowed to talk because it was said to be against “the cultural norms”. 
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Dieudonné Manirakiza,
United Kingdom

'Brilliant' ..I smile in my heart. I kept saying I don't believe it, here I am among 400+ people from around the world, the only person I know is my friend and I feel completely at home, the most at home I have ever felt after seeking refuge in UK from Burundi. It was like a family from the beginning, I kept saying I don't believe in miracles but somehow Worldwork can do them. I have come across a technique which empowers people to tell their stories, to complete events and to find new answers in unexpected ways to long-suffering entrenched world problems. I used to think there was nothing I could do about the huge problems in Burundi and in Africa as a whole. Now I do not believe that. Worldwork has given me hope, something can be done - we need this in Burundi and Africa."

Radhika Pandya
I felt confident of using Worldwork methods in the classroom, initially to work with classroom conflicts and later to extend it to violent divisions in the city and country. I discovered the power of Worldwork methods to encourage young people to question the walls they build around their identities and to experience the ‘other’ within themselves.
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Shibani Pandya
I was thirteen when I went to my first Worldwork. To describe the experience in words would be to limit it in some way. As I begin to think about it now, my brief Worldwork experience has unconsciously become a part of me. I now realize that I have spent the past few years after that, searching to relive the experience in other places. In my high school, a United World College, I spent my two years searching for something that I never quite found and I now know that what I was searching for there was what I had seen in Greece. One of the visions of the UWC is an education for peace and the creation of a Global World Community. Part of the reason I went to UWC was that I felt it would be like Greece. Part of my idealism about dialogue as being a basis for peace is a result of what I saw in Greece; people who had been living an age-old hatred and shouting at each other, then began to sit down to meals with each other. The hatred was forgotten, only the common humanity remembered. I will always believe that one of the reasons that I am now where I am, at Brandeis University, studying Peace and Conflict, is because I had the opportunity to come to a Worldwork. Although I may not always directly refer to Worldwork when I am talking or even thinking about my journey to Brandeis from Bombay, I know that it has been an integral part of it. Without Worldwork, I would probably have been a less aware, less idealistic person, I wouldn’t have believed in the possibility of peace with the intensity I do now and I would definitely have been taking different subjects. Eight days can really change your life; they did mine and I will always be grateful.

What else was said?

I am a young medical doctor and I would like to specialise in psychiatry and psychotherapy. I have a strong interest in groups and conflict facilitation. As a beginner I was more absorbed with the processes and less able to follow them theoretically and to understand all the facilitation that happened.  I was very touched by the sharings from the many people who were part of marginalized groups. This was the biggest teaching. Somehow it felt as if I was starting to become adult, after having been so much protected from the world’s problems in my nice Switzerland. Actually it was the most intense workshop I ever did.  Being able to bear witness in emotionally challenging situations and to stay present even in the midst of suffering are skills I imagine to be most important for me as a psychotherapist. I also got some  ideas on how to work with extreme states, moments of chaos and at the edge of violence. These are situations I expect to meet in psychiatry...
It is just a start. I dream of learning to work with groups as I have been shown during this most amazing week. It has been very motivating and inspiring. I feel lots of gratitude for the privilege of witnessing the work in the large group. D. Switzerland

I feel my heart is more open to humanity and I will endeavour to welcome people who are new to groups I am part of. I felt that Worldwork is making me a kinder and more generous person. J. UK

I learned new things about myself. I learned about the concept of deep democracy. I learned the value of polarity when looking at issues. The concept of roles will be useful for my work and beginning to appreciate the power of visioning. The small group was very good. It helped me to understand  Worldwork and Process Work and to reflect on myself. I wish we could keep meeting. Tim

I have learned so much about the importance of righteous rage and awakening to response. I also realised that friendliness to myself, to my inner diversity is essential since harshness on the inside is the source of outer cruelty and lack of awareness. I discovered the commonality of suffering about ethnic and other identities and dislocation. I learned and really experienced that I am not alone.
 Participant from Australia

In spite of the fact that I won’t be using any of this professionally, it has been an immensely valuable and enriching experience. It has given me some sense of hope in a fairly desperate world. M. UK

I gained awareness about my own rank, and then the need to create space to listen to others’ experience. I loved the small group. The facilitator had a wonderful quietness and simplicity that was holding and enabled space for the process to develop. We did not just talk, we danced, played music, screamed, sang, laughed and cried. It was a valuable place to digest intimately. R. UK

I learned what diversity really means and experienced myself in the midst. It is the end of the conference - many have left and many are still here. There is calmness and seriousness and joy in the room - like having gained, having developed a very precious gift which is inside every person and can’t be taken away. Thank you for showing me how gentleness, sadness, joy, pain and nervousness - all the diversity in us - can be lived and shown and used in facilitating such deep processes as we have done - and making them possible. It was an incredible opportunity to meet people. We started up our German circle that still continues to meet.. . Participant from Germany

It’s been fantastic that you got so many people here from all of the world. I have enjoyed learning the theory and seeing it in action. The handouts were excellent. E. Germany

As a facilitator myself I learned the importance of detachment, and about the difference between detachment and disconnection.  G. Ireland

I have learned that I can express my feelings more openly and can be more sentient at the same time. Ch. Japan

I learned to make more inner space for my own and other people’s diversity. I also found out how to handle the tension. S.Germany

It was meaningful to me to make personal connections with feelings about history and politics.  It was deeply meaningful to me to be exposed to a range of diverse people, issues, ideas …. and I learned through that. I learned to appreciate the diversity in me, and use this power of mine more consciously in the world.
It was inspiring to see honesty and “real life” being worked through a range of interconnected issues. It also inspired me to see facilitators doing inner and outer work simultaneously. To experience the decision-making process at the beginning of the large groups was an interesting learning for me.
O. Ireland

I was able to put down much of the armour I usually carry. I didn’t have to fight the usual fights - others did that for me. This meant I was able to experience other parts of myself.
It was great to have networking sessions organized in the schedule. H. UK

Powerful, strong use of deep democracy - group process. a whole variety of facilitators made that an opportunity to see how it can work and how each person can bring their real, unique self into it.
I worked on disconnectedness and violence and there was much that was really helpful to me. F. UK

I loved the hot topics, they were great, especially the one on LGBT – sharing, stretching our minds together about sexuality and gender identity - broad ranging. thanks.
It made a difference to have one to one support. It helped me explore my energy, power and critics in a new way. I found this possibility of the combination of many interwoven levels inspiring. J. UK

More reflections from participants.  

Agenda (pdf)

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