Mindful Loving is also about mindful living.
As I recently wrapped up my first ever 2 days experiential workshop for the LGBTIQ community-‘Mindful Loving’, I couldn’t help but astonish at the similarity and familiarity of the lives and journeys of the participants which they shared during the workshop.
Since team Queerala and I started to examine the possibility of composing such a session, one of my pertinent thoughts was that if my being as an LGBTIQ ally, would be a block between us in obtaining the objective of this workshop. I was afraid that this may limit me from empathizing with the participants’ journey, in the way I intend to and it may affect the impact of the workshop. After doing a lot of reading about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, getting perspectives from different people (both from the queer community and outside), on the design of the program, I looked forward to this 2 days of learning experience with a lot of excitement. On the Day 1 of the session, as all of us settled down in the workshop, within the first few minutes as people warmed up and allowed themselves to trust the space and started talking about them, the barrier of my being an ally vanished. That’s when I realized that that barrier, was in my head and I was delighted that it vanished forever.
Different yet Same!
As we progressed through the workshop, I realized more and more, how similar are our scars. How beautiful is our strength! As the facilitator of this workshop one of my biggest insights was, at the core of us, all of us are similar and same. All of us deserve to be loved, because we are worthy of that love. However, whenever this comes as a limitation with non-LGBTIQ people- How can we speak to ourselves with more love and compassion?
Though, initially, I was in quite a confused state, I could slowly relate certain experiences, shared by other participants, which made me realize the necessity for us to be pillars of support for each other. Towards the end of the workshop I personally gained the strong feeling that If I am Happy, I can bring Happiness to others too
said SreeKumar Manohar, an IT professional from Bangalore, who attended the workshop held at Rainbow Nest, Qochi.
It was this fine boundary of bringing happiness, the lack of which limits the daily conversation of the sexual minorities with their peers, which we explored during the workshop.
Inclusion is commonsense
As we wrapped up the day 2 of the session, when all of us shared our insights, the point which stood out for me was, each participant brought a certain type of strength, wisdom and love in to that session. This helped all of us to co-create an environment in which people felt seen, heard, safe, belonged and valued. As Nithin Raj, another participant from Bengaluru said
‘Life is going to be different post my experience at the Mindful Loving Psychotherapy Workshop. It has been a pivotal moment in life and completely altered my outlook on people, relationships and communication. I hope to pass the vibes I gained to more people from the LGBTIQ community as I believe Life Gets Better Together.’
I hope the warmth each of us shared can be carried, further and let more people from the sexual minorities feel belonged and included in their peer groups. I would also like to appreciate the way in which Queerala handled this assignment end to end with diligence, love and compassion. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you on this.
By Veena Sethuraman(Veeena, the mentor of Mindful Loving- the two day experiential workshop, is a Corporate Leadership Trainer and a Tedx speaker, based in Bengaluru. She is also one of the advisory board members of Queerala)