One of the more difficult aspects of leading a group like ours is the frequency of attendance. We’ve seen a lot people come and go over the years. They appear one week but not the next. Or they are there for a few weeks and then disappear, never to be heard from again. Some reappear months or even years later, having realized that they were missing something by not being here.
I must admit that in the early days I was quite critical of myself, thinking I was not serving the people in the groups properly. I thought there must be something being done poorly and with some adjustment in our program, the people would be staying longer. But the same situation exists. People come one week, but not the next etc.
The secret to our methods in terms of dealing with pain and its associated emotions is long-term consistent practice of the methods. So I would think “If only this was clear to everyone, surely they would catch on.” Perhaps we are not explaining things properly. Maybe if we just say the right words that inspire people with solid information about meditation or the latest research in pain medicine, they will catch on. So we will talk in our sessions to offer this information until everyone’s eyes glaze over in boredom 🙂
Further, we have altered the format a few times to optimize the process of integrating sitting, standing, and walking meditations along with all the information we impart, thinking once again that if we just get the program right………….
It has taken me a while to understand and accept that each person attends or not based on their individual situation. After all, we have stated repeatedly in the group that participation in each exercise is always optional based on one’s ability and pain threshold that day. So why would this not apply to the choice of whether or not to attend at all?
So I have arrived at an acceptance of the presence or absence of each person. I’ve realized that since each person’s situation changes day to day, week to week, that we cannot expect them to be with us every week. This acceptance is liberating for me and I hope, for each participant. Because it means the following:
Whether you attend regularly or once in a while, we are happy to be here with you and help with your pain.