"VEIL", 1997, 30" x 12", m/m


Yesterday I withdrew from facilitating our local MS group.

I had taken this job on 3 months back as I was called to fill the vacancy when the facilitator-du-jour went on to do other things.

I like this group.

No victims there.

Only brave and health challenged folks like myself.

It its odd because I have always had some leadership skills but never felt comfortable in my skin enough to test them in the world.

(The fact that I was wearing somebody ELSE’S skin needs to be noted here…)

Now I am more real and feel comfortable in the world; enough to stand up and expose myself (so to speak) which I did in this group.

I had previously shunned support groups because I felt the presence of wheelchairs and progressed disease and people who had lost themselves inside the label of MS would not be great for me to be around.

As I progressed, I found I needed to be seen clearly and without pity or advice-giving.. just seen.

It has proven valuable to do this twice a month.

I realized that my nervous system was REALLY challenged as I sat there and introduced structure to a structureless group.

When I arrived it pretty much was a free-for-all chat time with no beginning or end and one had to fight to be heard.

The ones with the biggest voices won.

I asked if instilling a 10 minute time for each to speak would work for them.

I actually said: “I am not able to be present in the group as it stands now. Too much static.”

So everyone was on board and away we went.

As the weeks went on, I watched myself policing the group more than participating.

They had agreed to no ‘cross-talk’ but could not resist.

I felt resentful as I saw most of my energy moving toward taking care that others had the opportunity to speak instead of just a few.

I finally realized that I cared deeply about this group of people and no one was being served by my facilitatorship; ESPECIALLY ME!

I need support as well.

I need to be seen and heard and not given advice when I speak.

I need 10 minutes of sacred time to tell my story.

I need a soft place to fall.

And so.. I took steps to get that, yesterday.

Everyone was supportive and acknowledging of the job I had done.

I have had a full-life history of ‘holding space’ for others.

Now is Cathy’s time.

I will watch for opportunities to use any leadership qualities I may have and practice using them only when it feels like a MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP.

ie:  I am more not less from the experience.

Truth be told…. Truth be told…. that is my current mantra.


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