Category Archives: Collective reflection

Development from Within in 60 minutes?

Erna Majormoen describes her attempt to familiarise a student group with Manavodaya’s approach in just one hour:

I attended the course run by Manavodaya UK in 2011. I wanted to present something of what I discovered to students who were graduating with a master’s degree in Health Promotion and Community Care at Lillehammer University. I presented this as an examination task with my colleagues Bjørg Stenersen and Anette Raasok.

Introduction: (15 – 20 minutes) First we showed a presentation given by Carl Poll (Time 13 min). The students found this informative. Everyone got a copy of the Eight Steps in Action.

Practical exercises (35 minutes)
Exercise 1: Calm down (2 minutes) Bjorg conducted a session with relaxing breathing exercises. Everyone appreciated this exercise.

Exercise 2: Self-Reflection (5 minutes) We asked everyone to reflect on ‘What have you learned this semester and how do you evaluate your own efforts.’ The students thought this exercise was good.

Exercise 3: Group-reflection (25 minutes) We asked the participants to reflect on ‘What have you learned this year and how can you use this in your work as health promoters?’ All was quiet for a while. But then nearly all came along with their reflections, one by one. Some found the reflection group tedious. They thought that the method was unusual and demanding.

Summary: (2 minutes) Anne Bregnballe, who had attended the course in Scotland, said she was able to recapture the feeling experienced at the Scottish course. However, several students stated that they struggled to find peace and concentrate. Our conclusion was that one hour gave a tiny taste but the message and the method of Development from Within requires more time for participants to become accustomed to this very different way of working.

Erna H. Majormoen.

Local collective reflection group

Some of us from the Manavodaya UK network who live in Newcastle and Scotland got together on Tuesday night, 8 November. We wanted to talk about what practical steps we could take to build on the work we did in the Manavodaya retreat, Sustainable Social Development.

We decided that, in Newcastle in February, we would have a Tyneside day-long meeting with the aim of building a Tyneside collective reflection group. The group will explore the Eight Steps and the relevance to our lives. We also wanted to consider what outer development (social justice work) we  could agree to work on together.

Nick Ball and Martin Donkin will help organise this with support from the members in Scotland. This approach of trying to initiate local  collective relection groups might interest other Manavodaya members. (Martin Donkin).

Keeping it alive

I attended the Manovodaya programme – Sustainable Social Development – in October. I came away refreshed and invigorated, convinced that a slower pace would help me be more effective. I was  inspired by the wonderful group of people leading and participating in the programme. It was a privilege to share it with them.

Afterwards, I felt I was a better person to be around – more attentive. I think I can listen to my family, friends and colleagues at a deeper level and reflect on ways I can contribute. The challenge has been to keep that going, apply it to social change and keep connected to purpose when surrounded by so many distractions and diversions.

The Eight Steps in Action have been a helpful reference point – a good gauge of how I am doing. I now have Varun’s book and I am looking forward to understanding more.

I shared what I learned with my team at work. Some seemed to get it almost as common sense, others rejected it as just not their thing. But I think what is useful for everyone in the team is slowing things down and creating a more relaxed place to work.

It was also good to meet up with Doreen, Nick, Martin and Pete in Newcastle last week to share some collective reflection time and ideas. I hope to keep in touch with people who participated in the programme, to keep it alive for myself and see what develops. Good luck to all and see you again, Rebecca..