A space where we can use our skills and talents at creating wellbeing to support other wellbeing creators and let ourselves be supported too.
Since moving to Melbourne over two years ago, I knew I didn’t want to exhaust myself with running monthly sessions as I did in the UK, so I chose to take a different approach and took things very slowly.
Very organically, a small Creating Wellbeing Melbourne group formed. I kept meeting people who were passionately promoting wellbeing and creativity in the community but needed a space to concentrate on their own creativity and wellbeing (like me!). We decided to meet on a bi-monthly basis at one of our homes.
A year on, and before The Blueberries emerge, we reflected on how the group has been for us, it’s future and how we can help others create similar groups in their communities.
How it’s been
First, we chose images of what Creating Wellbeing has meant to us as individuals.
Creating Wellbeing is like having a warm cup of tea with friends.
It’s the sun coming from behind the clouds that’s what we’ve all been doing – showing each other our sunshine.
CWB is snuggly and cosy like a koala. I find it very relaxing and chilled out.
It’s like a crystal twinkling in the sunlight, moving slowly and reflecting light and energy.
We chose these words to reflect the purpose, atmosphere and result of our group:
Purpose: “Sharing ideas, perspectives and heart.”
Atmosphere: “Accepting of all you are.” Result: “Coming back to what makes me feel good.”
We chose objects to represent how we see the group progressing.
Everyone trusts our evolution will happen naturally to fit the needs and lifestyles of those involved. It may expand, help others set up similar groups or simply continue as we have been. For now, we’ll continue with our bi-monthly sessions and use the Facebook group to connect with the wider community, sharing useful resources and events.
The pencils are our Creating Wellbeing community; I see the possibility of other groups meeting in a similar way
The bike paperclip means I want it to continue going forward and being held together.
Tape can be used for lots of different things; a bandaid to fix wounds, to build or create things, to connect things together. I’d like to see CWB continuing in those fashions.
The goddess flower garland represents a sense of play and sacredness. I hope it continues in the same spirit; balancing lightness with a serious side.
Creating something similar?
If you’d like to start a group of your own, we feel the following are key ingredients to success. Of course, this is just what worked for us, for you it may be different.
Decide: Have a whole session (or few!) dedicated to defining your purpose. Then what atmosphere and result you want to create with the group.
Keep it simple – get together over some food, an activity, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Close it:Although this made me uncomfortable at first because I felt Creating Wellbeing should be something that is accessible to and benefits all people far and wide, it was important to close the group at 10 people. In contrast to a drop-in structure, I didn’t need to advertise between sessions to ensure people came. Closing it also meant the group grew to know and support each other in a deeper way.
I felt able to be vulnerable, myself and real.
Share it: Sharing the organisation, hosting and facilitation from the beginning was integral for responsibility not to fall to one person. Miraculously and naturally, at the end of each session, someone volunteered to run the next one. They then set up a doodle poll to find the most suitable date and time. Being bi-monthly, we knew far in advance when the next one would be. Although the group did reflect that I still played the role of ‘instigator’, sending messages between sessions to check-in and remind of the next one, this was not at all stressful because someone else was always organising, hosting and facilitating. Some people in the group felt all groups need an instigator to keep it together, however, we’re going to experiment with using a closed Facebook group where we can create events and receive automatic reminders of the next session.
Be flexible: “Understanding that sometimes it was better just to nurture myself and not go.”
We were all clear from the start that noone should feel obliged to attend sessions. We are a core group of 10 and had between 4 and 8 people at every session. We all felt that everyone who was at each session was meant to be there. If attending was not conducive to someone’s wellbeing, we would rather they put their self-care first and didn’t come.
I missed a couple but I remember when I did turn up to a session having not been it actually didn’t matter: The right people turn up, it’s a slightly different dynamic each time and that’s really lovely.
Please do share on the Facebook group if you’re thinking of starting, or have already started, a community wellbeing group.
(First set of photos from