"That was a pretty lightweight start to the retreat last night," said the moderator. "One of the other members came up and told me it was "forum-lite."
"Really!" as I noticed my defensiveness wanting to come out.
"Well, we just talked about ourselves and our stories. We didn't really go deep."
My defenses relaxed. I knew how to guide this one.
"So, what does "deep" look like to you"? I asked.
"Vulnerable. Talking about real stuff. Speaking our truth. Challenging ourselves to take off our masks. We rarely get there. We need your help."
"Perfect. Because my belief is that until we determine that it is safe here, we will stay on the surface. Only when we judge that it is safe to really show up will we expose ourselves. So, what makes this a safe place?"
"Well... okay. Maybe it's not so safe. I get it. We tend to fix each other. That's not safe. We also tend to use humor if anything gets uncomfortable. So, if someone cracks a joke, vulnerability stops."
"That pretty well sums it up," I said. "What are you willing to let go of in order to get what you want here?"
And on it goes!