Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Ring

I don't know what the other hotel guests make of us lot - drifting around the lobby, coffee and and swimming pool - arm-in-arm, in huddles of cuddles, or randomly accosting each other for kisses - and rarely passing each other in the corridors without deliberately touching each other. All with a remarkably easy familiarity. We must look like beings from another world! If it happened in London, I am sure they would either throw us out - or call the police and have all our emails hacked...

Mariano Loiacono
Speaking the unsaid
Today's groups are flagged up as specially for family conflicts - and to specifically voice things that have previously gone unsaid. This is 'The Ring' - and the analaogy with boxing or wrestling seemed to be rather relished by those who had been here before. After mopping up some unfinished business from yesterday, the stage was set. Mariano himself conducted it all, sitting on a high chair at the front of the carpet. He calls families (at least two, but sometimes four or five members) to come and sit on the carpet at his feet, and several others whom he thinks would be good to support them. The family members sit facing each other, in the blue corner and the red corner, as it were; the rest of the ring is made up by the supporters, sitting or lying on the carpet in an intimate huddle, all around the family.

Most families spend half an hour or so in the ring, although one took over two hours - and made us all late for dinner. The sequence is usually the same

  1. One of the family is invited to say the things they have been unable to, to one or more of the other family members. With full physical support from those around.
  2. Mariano commentates and reflects, I think in the style of 'structural family therapy' - often making extremely provocative suggestions (for example 'you three should get together and all kill yourselves')
  3. The other family members respond - ideally with feelings rather than thoughts - again, with as much support as they need.
  4. Mariano again intervenes
  5. Any supporters wanting to speak are invited to contribute - again, more from the heart than the head (interestingly, they are usually better at this than the family at the centre).
  6. Mariano summarises, and usually suggests simple structural interventions to try (for example, keep apart for a time, leave home, talk more about feelings together)

All interspersed with rather less music, dancing and light relief than on previous days.

The Celebration Cake
Not much spare time today - we didn't get to dinner till 2030, and the last night party was due to start at 2130, in the garden. The party - for an alcohol-free zone - was as wild as they come: ridiculously energetic dancing, impromptu rap bands, toasts with an enormous celebration cake (for the first ever international intensive week) and a dance tableau expertly choreographed by Anarita from London with the twelve best female dancers in the group. It finished, mush to the hotel management's disapproval, with a vote being held for who next was going to be chucked into the swimming pool. I thought I has escaped when the manager came out to ban us - but sadly, he allowed one last victim to be chosen. And guess who that was to be!

However, as a fully clothed wet dripping mess, I was able to exact a certain amount of revenge by extreme hugs with whoever I catch!

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