A String Web which can be used for celebrating each person
A String Web which can be used for celebrating each person

A Glimpse into Robin’s New Book

Robin’s currently working on the ToolBox chapter of her new book, number 1 in the series of 5. Here’s one entry (unedited as yet) from the ‘Glue Processes’ section, complete with an activity and a process to try out.
This is one of the most important activities in the Tool Box for helping people integrate and be able to complete with the group and move forward. Celebrations can mark the end of a project or group, they can thank and honour a person who is leaving or they can acknowledge a job well done. It may be that a long term vision or goal is achieved and it’s time for the next phase of the group or that major funding has been received. Celebrations are like a ‘Rite of Passage’ which acknowledges transitions and supports the moving on. They often help people relax and step outside their usual roles and routines. They are a perfect team building activity as long as processes are used where everyone involved is comfortable or able to engage in them. They can also be a great way for people to meet each other in different contexts and enjoy themselves. 

A Completion Feast at a Crystal Waters Permaculture Course
A Completion Feast at a Crystal Waters Permaculture Course

There are many ways to celebrate, from the traditional feast or party through to gently yet deeply acknowledging every person in the room and celebrating their skills, talents and/or inner beauty and wisdom. Activities to associate with celebration include music, impassioned speeches, group singing or chants, dance, toasts, childlike games… jumping into the next project to wild applause, balloons, streamers, colour. Vibrant whooshes of energy up and out to the world or to a person or group in the middle of the circle. Vibrant noise and delicious decadent food often come to mind when the word celebration is mentioned. Certificates, gifts and awards are often involved while encouraging people to dress up in fancy dress can add to a raised level of energy. 

Consider more gentle ways to celebrate. Sacred chanting, stepping over a thresh-hold into the new, walking a labyrinth or creating archways or massage tunnels for people to walk through or be passed through slowly.  A special note on a decorated card or leaf for a person who is leaving or one written thoughtfully for each person in the group can be tied to a tree or branch for discovery and distribution later.

ACTIVITY: In your companion journal, brainstorm all the processes and activities you know of that help groups celebrate. Add any from this page or that you notice in this book then make up at least two processes that could celebrate each person in your group for what they contribute. Also brainstorm any tools, props, elements, resources, foods, themes, music styles, costumes and the like that you consider celebratory. Now you have a big tool box of ideas and inspiration to select from next time a celebration is called for.

PROCESS: How Long is a Ball of String?

A String Web which can be used for celebrating each person
A String Web which can be used for celebrating each person in the group

This is a powerful and beautiful process which gives space for each person to have one turn sharing how the course, group or activity was and feel the bonding that has been formed.
Ask everyone to stand in a circle and have a ball of string hidden somewhere on your body, in your pocket or behind your back.
Explain that each person will get an opportunity to share something as a completion statement to the group. It may be something that you really enjoyed, the thing you most loved or valued, a statement of acknowledgement or gratitude, some constructive feedback, your fondest memory…
As the Facilitator, begin by making a statement that models the process then hold onto the end of the string and pass or throw the ball across the circle to someone else.
Ask them to share their statement then hold onto the string at the point that holds it in tension with the strand that came from you, and pass to throw the ball to someone else across the circle from them.
Each time someone shares they take a firm hold on the string as the web weaves and then pass or throw the ball on. As the process continues till everyone has held the string and shared a statement, the pattern builds, fills in more and more and creates a wonderful web of connection and strength between the group.
Once everyone has shared it may be appropriate to acknowledge everyone for their contributions and participation. Point out the web as a testimony of how strong and connected the group is and the many gifts that were given and received by everyone. Ask others for their views and analogies of the web as well.
One way to complete this is to then all gently gather in the string and roll it into one ball and place it in a special place out in nature somewhere or in a bowl or nest.

About Robin Clayfield

Robin Clayfield is an international teacher, facilitator and author who is passionate about healthy groups, organisations and communities, their structures and governance and most importantly, their facilitation and group dynamics. She presents and consults all around the world to support global health, well-being and whole systems change through using Permaculture, Social Permaculture and ‘Dynamic Groups’ methodology. Robin is a Permaculture Pioneer and Elder who has lived at Crystal Waters Permaculture Eco-Village in SE Queensland, Australia since 1988. Her books and resources include ‘You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat It Too’, ‘The New Permaculture Principles Card Game’, ‘The Creative Community Governance and Decision Making Resource Kit’ and the ‘Creative Process Wild Cards’. She is also the co-auther (with Skye in 1995) of ‘The Manual for Teaching Permaculture Creatively’ plus several resources and card games for teachers and facilitators.

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