Moving Forward Together

Saturday 20 September, 2003

After breakfast, George and I made a start on his report to the head of his school. He wasn’t clear on the overall picture and when Karaj came he initiated a detailed analysis, giving George the headings he needs to consider. The point here is that, once again, we should aim to exceed expectations when we write such things.

I reflected further on my difficulties with analysis. I think to myself ‘I cannot possibly know for sure’, so I’m reluctant to try, and lack the motivation. The thing is, I do know, and the more we do in the group, the more I am coming up with accurate analyses when prompted, pushed and assisted.

We left at 11:00 to travel to George’s to work on his wash-house and kitchen. During the work I kept an eye on proceedings. I had a word with Leon to make sure he did not do too much, and got Ishwar and Calvin running around for him, challenging them where necessary. George was initially doing much of the brickwork himself. Dev was tired and unwell so did not impose himself on the work. Leon’s son got stuck in as usual. Calvin started slowly and, when I challenged him, he admitted he was somewhere else, expressing concern that he is not spending much time with his son, who would rather be with his friends.

Dev and Calvin left at 17:00 to get Calvin back home in time for his kids. The rest of us carried on through, in order to finish the work. We finished the kitchen first, and the brickwork was completed quickly once the team had been properly established. During the final tea break, George got us working on his agenda item. We chatted about the headings Karaj had given him and this allowed people to contribute later in the evening when the time came to write something.

Leon drove us back to the house. We stopped for coffee on the way. George wanted to. Karaj had told us to be back for 18:00 so we could finish early. I wondered whether this was an example of choosing others over Karaj, as he had warned me would happen three years ago. George assured me he would take full responsibility, Leon was up for a coffee too, so I did not force the issue. I was preoccupied with the fact that the women’s group was going on at the house and I felt a reluctance. I was tired and my body hurt.

We joined the women’s group, where Priya was being challenged for not recording her thoughts thoroughly on her to-do list. If she does not do that then Karaj cannot help her and she will still be carrying the things in her head. The point is that what we consider irrelevant still has to be recorded, because it may be highly relevant and only others (Karaj) will be able to see that (because we are too close; too involved).

During a break I helped Ishwar with his report to his boss. He was standing in the group working on George’s report so I grabbed him and told him to dictate his report while I typed. And that’s exactly what he did; straight off the top of his head, no hesitation and no correction.

We returned to the women’s group and George gave a short summary of his report so far. It’s good, but needs further investigation. Dev’s report to his boss of the work he has done over the last three weeks was very comprehensive. I offered my feedback on it: Over the last week I have seen for myself the role discipline plays in providing stability for my mental state, and Dev’s discipline of regularly writing these reports shows in his demeanour: he is impressive when he is not being funny (ignoring the fact that he can also be very funny).

We zipped through Dev’s to-do list; he is taking more breaks which means he has clearly taken that learning on board from last time. I read Ishwar’s report which needed no additions. Karaj asked Ishwar how he felt after the struggle we have had with him. He said ‘I feel lighter.’ There’s no escape for him now; the evidence is clear. We finished off with George’s appraisal of his colleague, which was fine, and everyone’s summary of the day.

We tidied up and people left at 23:00. Karaj is true to his word, and this is the third week running we have finished on Saturday night. Great stuff. The work is efficient and people are really working hard to sort their agendas out with Karaj and with each other.

Summary: A fun day with the men. I took charge gently and wherever necessary, but otherwise my tiredness meant that I sat back while others took control. We worked together. In the evening I caused myself pain with a negative approach to joining the women’s group. I forgot that Karaj is looking after me, and I also forgot – initially – to continue the fun. However, I soon settled effectively into the session: I sat quietly in their group, spoke when invited, and had fun with the men. In fact it was clear to me that the men have regained some of what we lost. We are back to our best and moving forward together. Not only is Leon inspired to join us more regularly, but we have also inspired his son. I felt strong in their company and my contributions were very good again.


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