Once again, I feel so relieved someone else did the more descriptive, general write-up for me. *dons sunglasses, throws self in hammock set up between chestnut trees*

It happened! Grow Creative in Rijeka

The youth exchange we were preparing and waiting so much took place in Rijeka on 6-17 October. 30 young curious and talented people from Croatia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, and Spain came to learn, act and have fun. And they did it!

The aim of Grow Creative is to empower young people to be successful and creative, to find their dream jobs. The participants went deep inside to discover their inspirations and values, and they flew high to share their dreams and plans for the future. They worked hard morning through evening to enhance their problem-solving and communication skills, and even tried themselves as entrepreneurs.

Many things were happening every day. We learned some NLP and coaching tools, and had many interactive presentations and discussions.We played different roles,and had new exercises and energizers every day.Many activities were created and led by the participants. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

We used many different ways of communication, mingling and cooperation. Our mutual understanding and unity reached ones of its highest peaks during the cultural evening. Each country presented the best of its culture: artistic performances, traditional dances, national habits,and delicious cuisine. And we saw creativity boosting! Altogether it made the event so intense, exciting and remarkable.

All these 11 days Dharma Hostel was our home, sweet home. It provided us with beautiful Adriatic Sea view, comfortable rooms, vegetarian food, yoga classes in the morning, and very friendly and hospitable staff.
We also went out to explore Rijeka, and it was a lot of fun with some unexpected discoveries and surprises.
Sometimes the things were not easy, and we needed support of each other. Sometimes we went out of our comfort zones, but always came back to our Cozy Area. And eventually team work proved that everything is possible, we got impressive results and had a great time together!

Thank you to all the participants for making this exchange so special and inspirational. We hope to see you again and wish you beautiful adventures ahead.

And here we go, ready to take off with new projects and ideas!

My remarks:

Everybody set challenges for themselves during the training. Mine was “move and function from love, not fear”, inspired/taken/stolen from the phenomenal book I read a few months ago already, Conversations With God

All in all, I found this exchange very motivating and inspirational. I had  the distinct feeling it was just what I needed, the right thing at the right moment together with the right people etc. The Greek team, the Spanish guys, the Czechs, the Croatians and the EVSers working with them, българите…There was a lot of synergy in the group and we bonded faster and stronger than I expected—though this feeling is a typical high you get during  youth exchanges and one that unfortunately doesn’t last that long once they’re over. I’m still trying to figure out whether that feeling is artificial compared to “normal” intimacy with people. Maybe it’s just our society and way of life that have taken so much out of plain old human connection.

Anyway, I felt great clarity when I was envisioning my future and describing my present situation, my place in life and where I wanted to be. I felt amazingly relaxed letting out the words but not caring whether they would come to pass, or even if anybody would understand; I realised that whatever happens will be right, if only I focus on what I want my life’s meaning to be, so to myself as to the people I meet on the way. No, scratch that actually. No matter what you do, no matter what happens, everything will be alright. Including, I don’t know, the destruction of the Earth itself.

Writing these lines brought Man’s Search for Meaning to mind…

One such moment of touching core meaning was was when I gave a half-hour workshop on the Enneagram to the group and it went super smoothly. Almost nobody had heard of it before, and it resonated with a greater part of the group than I had expected. It felt right and in fact I received positive reinforcement in everything I attempted to do differently, as related to coaching (a big point of focus of Grow Creative in general) and working with people.

The feedback I get during exchanges is so different from what I’m used to hearing in “everyday life” that I must admit I find it addictive, scary and thought-provoking in equal degrees. Many people in Grow Creative found me and what I had to bring to the team—the Enneagram, the games, my honest sharing, my attempts to be an active listener and competent talker—“inspiring.” I was just making a point to be moving from love, not fear. And it made everything so much easier, so much prettier. Opening up and, as cliché as it sounds, letting go—that is, letting go of who you want others to think you are—felt good in a very pure sense.

That said, I can’t recall the last time anybody in Greece called me inspiring. Apparently, I project quite different personalities to the people I’ve known for a long time, who have certain expectations of me, and to those I’ve just met. Quite contrary to what used to be the case, I’ve become much more eager to meet and get to know new people, and find it increasingly harder keeping up with older friends, acquaintances, relatives… I like to think it’s because of expectations and that it’s impossible to make everyone happy, in other words, “best just to avoid having to deal with expectations entirely”... But could it be another sign of my underlying need for infinite novelty? Well, in Grow Creative, for the first time in a long while, I felt as if I took the first step in getting over that too. But maybe not, either, and it’s not very important, really.

A big thanks to the Life Potential team who scored big with their first exchange.

In the vain of Kwa Nhingirikiri (totally had to double-take on that), Timing, Happy

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