So, I’m back from the Regional Shared Conversations. And it was every bit as demanding as expected (maybe, more so), not least because there were so many words over those three days. I do words, all the time, so if I respond like this, how on earth must others be feeling? Not just intense and personal revelation in groups of 3, feedback to a trusted group of 9, working in different groups round tables, talking during meals and tea breaks, ‘open space’ events in the evening after dinner, and plenary sessions, but also posters and giant post-it notes building up all round the walls of the plenary room, covered in groups’ key points, thought showers and questions. Words, words, words. On the final morning, in a loo break between sessions, it struck me just how lovely it is to spend time alone in a toilet cubicle: no people, no words, no speech, no reading.
In the final session, it was made very clear to us that our ‘re-entry’ into our normal lives could be difficult, and not just a matter of recovering from physical exhaustion. So I’m going to leave it a few days before I try to process all that happened. And when I do, obviously I’ll be working under the St Michael’s House Protocols, so it can’t be too specific. I’ll focus on my own reactions – which, at this stage, could be summed up as ‘wow, what a privilege’; ‘oh dear, how are we going to manage the levels of disagreement?’ and ‘how early can I go to bed tonight?’