Caritas` Volunteer Program organized another Get-together for its volunteers on the 28th and 29th of October, with the main theme of self-knowledge, where everyone had the opportunity to experience the exciting journey of self-improvement. We discovered the blind spots of our own beings, through our own and through others’ eyes.
We all slightly felt as if we were lost. We suddenly had the courage to peek under the bandages of old wounds to see if they had really healed. We stared into our own eyes, in a way we never dared before.
On the first day we got acquainted with each other. Each game we played got us closer to ourselves and to each other as well. Playing them really helped us recognize our own fears. We tried many games of self-discovery that put our problems into perspective and asked us some tough questions. Doing all of this as part of a group reminded us that we are not the only ones who struggle with problems and that others fight similar battles too. The fact that we could hear others talk about the things that occupied their minds at the moment helped us recall memories from deep within that went unnoticed before.
We all struggle. We’re all candles and sometimes the wind extinguishes our flames, but we are capable of relighting it for others and for ourselves if we look deep inside our souls and aren’t afraid to get deeper. Hearing each other out and discovering pieces of ourselves in others launched us forward, because simply putting what bothers us into words is a step towards healing. We can be a mirror, a new perspective, an ear to listen and sometimes this is the most we can do. We shouldn’t stand in front of others and tell them what to do and how, we have to help and guide them through their struggles. This is how our little group of strangers became a real team, or at least started the journey of becoming one. Although we didn’t really know each other, we still balanced out each other’s weaknesses and held a mirror to our strengths. We felt safe to be weak and vulnerable, we didn’t have to be strong, only ourselves.
The second day was full of action. We peered into ourselves yet again. Although we spent a lot of time with the games, it didn’t feel like a burden at all. It felt like home, we could leave behind our anxieties, stress, and the pressure to fit in, as if the outside world had ceased to exist for the time being. We learned a lot: how to look inward, how to hear ourselves out, how our body communicates what it needs and how to notice it. We received a lot of advice based on our personal lives and our personality traits.
Playful games and tasks followed more serious ones, but they were just as deep and guided us further and further into our souls, step by step.
A simple game: choose a picture of a door. This poses thousands of questions, thousands of whys that await an answer. Why exactly that door? What do we see? What’s on the other side? Why is the door there? Is it a barrier or is it a hiding place? These questions are already inside us, we just have to learn to see them and ourselves.
A haiku is a simple, yet beautiful little poem, but if we scratch the surface, it tells us so much, resonates with us more than we would think and tells each of us different stories, stories that our hearts need to hear. We had to interpret these haikus for ourselves and illustrate them as statues, dialogs or motion pictures. It was really peculiar seeing the things we already knew from different perspectives. We had to play a collage game: problem and solution. How do you fit the two pieces together? How do you find the rainbow in a grey sky? How do you find the answers within yourself? There were no rules, no whats or hows, no golden ratio. We could create freely and pay close attention to our inner workings, without comparing ourselves to others. We didn’t draw the line in a particular place because we had to. By not following any rules we could think about why we really drew it there. What do I want to express and why like this?
Every motion of creating something new is a question and an answer in one. But I can’t ask the question if I’m following rules made by someone else, and I can’t find any answers either. Art heals and gives our feelings a tangible form. It is an inner mirror.
What is self-knowledge? A tough question, really, but one we still need to ask ourselves. There are times when we’re dragged down and feel like we’re down in the dumps. We can get up again and heal our wounds, but first we must know ourselves, because we have to rebuild our forts from the inside out, otherwise it’ll all come crashing down again and again. The real problem will only get solved if we stare it in the face and stop building our forts across ravines. Our physical health is not the only thing that matters, we must take care of our souls as well and take the time to get to know ourselves.
If I had to summarize the Get-together, I’d say it was something that made me feel like I was awake again. Sometimes I feel like my inner child has been lost, like I can’t understand myself, like life got stuck under my shoulder blade. And then my soul detoxifies, and I feel alive again. I can feel the storm raging inside me quiet down and I can hear myself again. I want to fight laughing again, I want to dance under the burning sun, I want to say good morning to the stars, I want to live again. If we are our own enemies and don’t know the hidden world that resides withing us, we can get lost so fast. This weekend started us on a path that helped us see ourselves for who we are, and not for who we want to see or want others to see. Not knowing ourselves is like roaming in a cold and muggy maze. We cannot be our own enemies. We must understand and accept ourselves, otherwise we’ll get blown away by the smallest breeze. But if we know ourselves, we become our own homes. The thunder can rage on the outside if it’s always sunny on the inside.
I really needed these two days to understand why I do things, but the process is nowhere near done, getting to know ourselves is a task that lasts our entire life.
We’d like to thank the Bethlen Gábor Fund and the Odorheiu Secuiesc city council for its support!
Written by: Tímea Kelemen
Translated by: Zsuzsa Kertész