Periodically in our work outside prison, we hold what has come to be called ‘Care of our Container’ sessions. In these, we take a half hour or so to ask participants in the group three broad questions about what has been working; what has not been working; and what can we do to improve the experience for everyone? While the wording changes, the essence of the exercise is a months-long overview version of our weekly check-in about the gifts and challenges of that evening’s circle.
One might assume that in prison, where attendance is at best sporadic even in a weekly group that is well into its seventh year of operation, this kind of exercise might prove futile. On the contrary. Based on the reception and feedback to last week’s Care of Container session, we realize that such feedback sessions are equally important inside as out. Perhaps more so.
Everyone was invited to weigh in with anonymous personal opinion. Then facilitators and assistants, having collected the comments, read them aloud for all to hear. And what they heard were affirmations of why they attend; confirmation that some things needed to be addressed; and above all, the invitation to continue co-creating the group to honor the whole above any single individual. Continue reading