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My time with the Grow project

Last October I took part in the LiVE Autumn Social, where a party of us met up with Grow to get a taster of their activities (details here). We were made very welcome and all had an enjoyable time. In spite of the downside of the day – horizontal rain and a howling gale, alas! – I found myself drawn into the Grow ethos very quickly indeed and as a result asking about waiting lists. The answer was encouraging, so I applied when the time came, went through the selection process and started at this year’s spring season with Grow at the end of February.

We’re now five weeks in with this closed group, three more to go. The effect on me so far has been startling – in essence I’ve found that I’ve become much more aware as a whole, in spite of the doping effect of my medication. It’s a quieter sort of awareness that seems more powerful as a result. Very strange and I can’t really explain it well, but I believe it’s something more than would be a result of the gentle mindfulness that seems around all the time in the group’s activities. I could ramble on about it for ages.

The group itself is diverse yet together. This may be because none of us knew anybody else at the beginning. There were therefore none of the preformed sub-groups in a group which can be so excluding for newcomers, as I’ve experienced too often in past forays. Judgement and questioning of any kind seems to be at a minimum; people only share what they feel like, with whom they feel like and when. At least, that’s my impression. Everybody understands that we’ve all come from the same sort of place and the amount of kindness that understanding brings, albeit unsaid, has really touched me. There’s no feeling of pressure to provide peer support and so on, as I’ve found in some other groups – it just happens as and when.

A great character in the group is actually the huge open fire in the room on the farm that we meet in when not communing with nature. It finds itself the centre of attention on many occasions and when it’s not, someone is always looking after it. A primitive but rewarding activity that makes connections with all sorts of things.

On Grow days I feel like I’m in a bubble or some sort of mindful oasis, and I am storing up my memories in a journal – book provided! – for use when times are not so hot. At the moment I have the memories fresh in my mind to review, but the book (which I intend to keep up, though I imagine it will be a little irregularly) will help in the future.

And finally, my time with Grow is inspiring me to write some poetry – don’t laugh. I haven’t done this very much at all before, but now find something developing after every session. I’ve taken my lead from a LiVE member who wrote a blog earlier about a month writing haikus and gone for a haiku-style form myself because I find the discipline pleasing. Here’s one from the first week –


A group forming

Food shared

The life in a fire warming all through

Grow’s website details can be found on the Useful Links page.


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