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An Introductory Workshop in Morocco

On December 11, 2016, Iman Awadh led a one-day introductory RC workshop in Marrakech, Morocco, for people who had attended Sustaining All Life events at COP22, in November 2016. [See previous four articles.] Many of those people had expressed a keen interest in learning more about RC.

Iman, originally from Iraq, lives in London, England. Ginnie Herbert, from Oxfordshire, England, assisted her at the workshop. Aitzi Madariaga, from Ereno, Bizkaia, Basque Country, interpreted into French; Katrina Wild, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, was the organizer; and Diane Shisk did the overall organizing from Seattle, Washington, USA.

Twenty-two people came. They were Arab and Indigenous, Muslim and non-Muslim. Many were young people (students), some were young adults, and a few were older people. The women slightly outnumbered the men.

We met from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Iman taught RC theory. We had mini-sessions, support groups, demonstrations, songs, and games. We ate together at midday on the hotel roof terrace.

Iman will be leading one more introductory day in January. Hopefully it will be followed by a fundamentals class, which will meet over the subsequent twelve months as a one-day workshop each month.

What were we pleased with at the December workshop?

Iman

I loved planning the schedule the evening before with my support team. We had four intelligences thinking about it—having thoughts, new thoughts, and yet more thoughts! We needed a variety of plans for the day because we did not know what to expect, and we laughed about all the possibilities.

At the workshop I talked about RC and the Sustaining All Life project in Arabic, because I had noticed that the participants wanted to speak almost all the time in the languages of the historical colonizers: French and English. It was also much easier for me to express my thinking in Arabic, my first language, than to put attention on trying to speak correct English.

I talked about language liberation, and I could see the looks on their faces change. The energy in the room increased, particularly when I asked each person to say a word in his or her own language. All the participants spoke Arabic. Some also spoke English or French or a local language, such as Amazigh.

At one point someone commented on someone else’s demonstration and continued to comment even after being asked to stop. I used it as a teaching point and then quickly divided us into men’s and women’s support groups. I made sure that the women’s support group I led included the woman who had been in the demonstration. I gave her the chance to notice how she felt, and she said she felt numb. I was pleased that I was then able to actively counsel her. The other two women cried and laughed in their sessions.

Before the workshop, a WhatsApp group, with thirty-nine people on it, was created. It helped me keep in touch and build personal connections with some of the people, but in the end it was too much work. So I created smaller groups that included experienced RCers. Keeping in touch beforehand contributed greatly to the success of the workshop. The RCers could encourage people to come and also check if they were getting their e-mails with information about the workshop.

Aitzi

I led a men’s support group. I was puzzled about what to say, but Iman had told me she trusted my mind. I talked to the group about how in RC we think that a man’s nervous system is as good and as sensitive as a woman’s. I also talked about how important all languages are and asked the men to express themselves in the language of their heart. That meant that we spoke mostly in Arabic (which I don’t yet speak). It was beautiful to hear their language. One of the participants sitting next to me translated for me in a whisper.

Katrina

Having lunch together gave us the opportunity to build connection. The atmosphere was buzzing [there was excited, friendly chatter].

I led a women’s support group of three young women. They felt that twelve-minute turns were too long, so we did two rounds of six minutes each. That worked well to build safety and connection. They were eager to say what they loved about being young Muslim women and what was hard about it. I used my time to tell a little of my life story and said that one of the first things I learnt in RC was the Women’s Commitment: “I solemnly (fiercely, cheerfully) promise that, from this moment on, I will never again settle for anything less than absolutely everything. This means that _____.” As I said it to the women, they began to laugh. So I said it again and we were all laughing hard. One of them wrote it down in her notebook.

Organizing the songs and games presented a challenge because I do not know Moroccan culture at all. However, at COP22 I had made a nice connection with a young Moroccan man who would be coming to the workshop. I contacted him the week before the workshop and explained about how and why we have songs and games at RC workshops. He then spent a lot of time finding songs in Arabic, French, and English that he thought people would enjoy and sent me the lyrics and the Internet links. From that I put together a songbook, and we were able to play the music on the Internet. It worked well. Some songs we could sing together. It was also beautiful to hear the group sing in Arabic.

Ginnie

I used the lunchtime to talk to individuals about a “buddy” system. The people who attend the monthly fundamentals class will each have an experienced RCer as a “buddy.” He or she will stay in touch with them between the classes, do phone or Skype mini-sessions with them, and clarify teaching points from the classes. Most of the RCers who will be “buddies” made connections at COP22 with the people who will be attending the classes.

I led a men’s support group. I asked the men when the last time was that they’d cried. One of them said, “I cry on the inside, not on the outside,” as he gently tapped his chest.

Iman

This is a new and unique project. My attention is always on the end result, which is an RC Community in Morocco. Any obstacles in my way I will find an elegant solution to. The project is a great contradiction [to distress] for me, and my early hurts are often restimulated. It will take time, and I will need to keep discharging and thinking. I feel so lucky and grateful that the Sustaining All Life project has given me this opportunity.

(Present Time 186, January 2017)


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00