The weeks have passed since the NOW Encounter ended. Those 10 days were powerful and life changing. Thinking back recalls warm, positive and energizing emotions. What they created for me, is an ongoing reflection on who I am and what I really need in my life.
Our little paradise
Imagine: no hate or judgement, just trust and love. We, organizers and participants, didn’t have to imagine it, because it was our reality!
The beautiful scenery wasn’t the best part of it, the positive vibes and feeling among participants made the Encounter feel like paradise. Those learning sessions, reflection groups, discussions, acroyoga classes, singing and dancing made us all like one big happy family. I know it sounds little bit like a cliché, but that’s really how it was: we all were accepted, loved and cared for by each other.
Moreover, for knowledge-thirsty people like me, the Encounter was also kind of heaven. We had 4 learning pillars: diversity, interconnectedness, change and transformation and collaboration. Funnily enough, the Encounter was for me more like a self-discovery, even though it wasn’t planned like that by the organizers or myself. Of course, I learned something new regarding these pillars, but actually I took big step getting know myself even better.
What I wasn’t meant to learn, but still did it: my 3 most beneficial learnings
For me it has always been like this: group works and presentations are all almost the same…I mean boring. You know what? NOW facilitators totally rocked my world and changed the way how to approach youth trainings: be creative and forget Powerpoints! So now, when planning such an event, I instantly try to avoid the classical way to do things and approach it with a more artistic and surprising way. It’s quite a challenge but I’m up for it.
One of my favorite learning at the Encounter was how to approach weird or pointless questions the beneficial way: ask yourself why the person asked that? I might not see it, but there could be a point to exploring that question and actually help me learn something.
My constant analysis and reflections led me to a state of mind where once again I started look into myself. During those self-discovery moments I started realizing several areas in which I would like to develop further. I discovered, for example, my tendency to smothering negative or unpleasant thoughts with songs. But the most important discovery for me was that I’m okay with sharing my story about depression, because it may help others.
Finally, the biggest self-discovery about myself and my way of living was the most painful one.
I cried, I laughed and then the game changed
Before the Encounter I didn’t consider myself as material person, but rather a spiritual one. Then again, I did plan to get that new MacBook even though my current laptop is much better and works perfectly. I just wanted it – like a child cherishing a candy – for no specific reason. Thankfully we had the “crying session”.
On the 6th day of the NOW Encounter, we discovered our privileges. It was a session in which we were asked 30 questions. For each question we could answer with yes for our specific experience, we would make a mark on our piece of paper. At first all the questions seemed to be about very basic life quality things: access to clean drinking water, having 50 or more books at home, a safe neighborhood, etc. These, to me, have always been very basic things.
When we were half through with the questions, I started to look around. Some participants weren’t making any marks on their papers. This led me to question myself: are these basic things maybe not that basic after all? Reality hit me.
With each questions it got harder to control my emotions. I felt like a spoiled brat that treated its parents unfairly. I started questioning my view of myself as a non-materialistic person. The conflicts inside me were so powerful that after bursting into tears, I had to leave the room and take some time off. I started to realize: I too am a slave of my irrational material needs.
Acting upon my discoveries
You know what I did after getting back at home? I went through my cloths, accessories and footwear. 2/3 of all my things will be sold on a flee market or given to charity. Each day, I now wear almost the same outfit: black jeans, black t-shirt and a sweater. As it turns out, I didn’t need that much stuff and I’m perfectly fine wearing the same outfit every day. It’s crazy how much unnecessary things I had!
Currently, it feels like an inner breakthrough. I am breaking free from distracting needs and now finally it’s possible to focus on what I believe in. I have to admit – just like the powerful post-in from the NOW Encounter says – it hurt a lot, but it was totally worth it!
And yes… no MacBook for me, I’m going to use my faithful Lenovo as long it serves me.
Although several weeks have passed since being in the paradise in the Swiss mountains, the feeling love, support and trust from the other NOWers is still inside me. All those feelings fill me with positive energy and I’m using it to work on my project. Of course, I’m looking forward to the Buddy Exchange with Acroyoga master Van and to seeing the whole NOW family at the Future Forum.
Today, I feel more powerful than ever. I KNOW we the first NOW generation is going to make it. We are going to change the world.
Written by Gerttu, NOW Journey participant and blogger.