Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A London Hostel, seated around a small coffee table laden with chocolate, marshmallows and a fondue. It is late night.

I am with a group of beautiful humans.
All living on the edge of society.
In a London Hostel, 
seated around a small coffee table laden with chocolate, 
marshmallows and a fondue.
It is late night.

Music is playing. 
There is always music.

Some are still standing
maybe ready to make their escape.
We have eight BHP's with us. 
Sometimes there are fifteen or more. 
It is small group work, 
sometimes called informal education.

All are made welcome
the chocolate is saying this too.
We have the limping, wounded, damaged, insecure.
Young, but old, at seventeen.
Older, once professionals, 
now showing the familiar signs of too much alcohol. 
Out of prison, out of care.
Medicated, and those with chemical eyes.
Some loud, some quiet, some cautious, 
some slumped, some hardly really here.

The lead-in is so gently led.
I check out any names because they are first-timers
or my dumb brain fails to remember.
I chatter a lot, fixing up the fondue, 
asking them to pull in closer, 
melting the chocolate, 
referring to my laptop dancing with images - 
all their faces from the groups in recent weeks.

When the dunking and eating is done,
I introduce them to H.A.L.T.
I hand out a copy of a Blob Tool
illustrating it
(I find it helps to put them at ease if they can hold something).

When we are ::
Lonely or 
we are at risk.

I illustrate from my own life.
Being snappy with the ones I love because I am tired. 
Stomping out of the room and slamming the door as a child.

I use a Blob tool to get them involved.
Identifying which Blob is Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
(Using the Blobs, who are so full of emotions, 
is an ease into deeper discussions). 
I ask them to say how that Blob feels, 
and not to use the words happy or sad.
I ease them into extending their emotional literacy
by searching for more appropriate words. 
Tapping their own experiences.

Articulating with the help of their own internal
reference bank of raw experiences.

Talking about emotions makes them less scary. 
Sometimes the feelings remaining after some trauma 
can be worse than the trauma itself).

At the right time I go more personal.
On the back of my own self revelation
I ask others to share when they are most raw -
is it when they are Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired?

An older teenager jumps in and spills.
He knows that an early honest contribution
gives permission for others to also let things out. 
He tells about how, when he is lonely/ isolated 
how he suddenly loses-it and lashes out at anyone.

"To be lonely is to feel unwanted
and unloved, and therefore unlovable. 
Loneliness is a taste of death.
No wonder some people
who are desperately lonely
lose themselves in mental illness
or violence to forget the inner pain.” 
Jean Vanier, 
Becoming Human