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Background - Elaine Yonge

AGREEMENTS

What is an Agreement Field?

At the start of each retreat, we will sit together as a group to find common grounds on subjects we would like to agree upon as we build a safe field of respect and trust for one another. This gathering will result in a written document: Our Agreement Field. A clear set of guidelines on how we as individuals in this group will handle sharing circles, interactions with one another and sensitive information shared in the group setting. Some of the agreements will be brought forward by participants and some may be brought forward by the facilitator and team. 


The purpose of this agreement field is to care for ourselves and each other in this group experience. It allows us to have common ground around expectations of behaviour and interaction. Having an Agreement Field is an integral part of building group trust. It supports us to drop into deep processes together. 
It is not the spirit, nor the expectation that, because we have the agreements, we will always get it right in every moment. The key is to notice when we are not aligned and to decide to bring ourselves back into alignment.

 


An example of what an Agreement Field could look like:

 

Self-Care

 

• I agree to breathe, to feel and to be present and authentic, to the best of my ability.

• I understand that I am free to step out of a structure, circle or process at any time. I can choose to sit in the ‘step out space’ or I can leave the room if that is what I need. 

• If I leave the room I will inform a team member. The team would request that if you are in an altered/activated state or in the midst of a ritual/emotional process, that you stay in the proximity of the group room unless it is agreed with the facilitator. 

• I am encouraged/I encourage others to use ‘I’ statements, so that everyone speaks in the first person as much as possible.

• I am responsible for my own wellbeing. I intend to take care of myself and my needs. The team acknowledges that from their side, they have responsibilities for care and holding of the space and the structures offered.

• I am open to considering the impact of reducing the use of technology, social media, prioritising quality sleep and being mindful of my food, nicotine, sugar and caffeine choices in order to be fully present for this experience. 


Requesting, Offering & Receiving Support
 

• I am aware that I can seek support from the assistant team or the facilitators if something (or someone) creates a significant challenge for me. 

• I agree to request support and guidance by using clear, direct verbal requests. If a verbal request is not possible, I will do my best to use a non-verbal gesture.

• I understand that the team will observe the group during the Journey and that they may reach out if they feel someone needs extra support. This is to prevent an individual needing support who is unable to ask for it in the moment.

• I agree to be open to guidance and support. I am open to consider feedback and direction from the facilitator (and assistants - if the facilitator asks them directly to support me). I have the opportunity to say no or ‘not now’ to any offer.

• I am aware that at times I may feel the call to offer support/comfort/guidance if I sense another participant in need. I will hold in my awareness that while my support/comfort/guidance may serve this person, there is a potential to have the impact of interrupting their process. Therefore, I will be mindful as to how and when I offer support/comfort/guidance. I will always ask for consent, and if in doubt I will ask someone on the team for a reflection. 


Boundaries & Consent 

• I agree to share my boundaries with others and to honour my boundaries to the best of my ability. I will ask for support if I need guidance to clarify my boundaries.

• I will honour the boundaries of others and will obtain clear consent from others where appropriate.

• I agree to bring to the attention of the facilitator(s) if I feel that the conduct of another participant is inappropriate and/or I need the support of the team to resolve/discuss this.
• I have full sovereignty to say no to any photographs/videos of me being taken during this retreat or to any photographs/videos of me being shared publicly at a future time. 

* This agreement process is informing me that at some sessions in this retreat, there will be pictures taken by one of the team members. They will be taken for the purpose of capturing the energy of the journey (by primarily capturing images of Elaine, the team and distance shots of the group). The intention of this is to allow people who may want to join to get a general sense of the journey process and space. They may be used on Elaine’s website and/or socials. 

*Pictures will not be taken during processes or rituals. It will be clearly announced when the pictures will be taken. The intention is not to photograph you as an individual (unless you would like to be photographed, then please let the photographer know). 

*We will discuss this as required on the first day, to check in with the group around anyone's needs with regards to this agreement.

 

Integrity 

 

• I agree to maintain confidentiality during this retreat and afterwards. This means that I will not disclose any individual’s identities, stories and experiences. I am free to speak about my own experience. 

* Exception if there are concerns about an individual’s safety or I have consent from the person involved. 

• I agree to not gossip about others and to speak directly to the person I feel challenged by or have some conflict with. If someone attempts to gossip with me about others, I will support them to speak directly to the person concerned.

 

Group Awareness

 

• I agree to ask people if they are open to feedback (whether it’s considered ‘positive or negative’) before I share with them and I will check in on the right timing. It is valid to say ‘no’ to feedback or to receive it and choose not to respond. 

• I allow space for others to share. I have a shared responsibility as a part of the group to support everyone who wishes to share, to have space to do so.

• I will do my best not to interrupt, give advice, offer coaching or talk, while someone else is sharing.

• I respect that everyone in the group has different opinions, experiences and backgrounds and I leave space for all of those to co-exist. I agree not to assume anything about a person by their appearance or behaviour.

• I agree not to take pictures of myself or others inside or outside communal rooms and areas. It is okay to take pictures if I am in a private area and there is consent from everybody in the picture.


 

Agreements - Boundaries

 

• I will come to each session at the agreed time. If I am unable to be at the session as agreed, I will inform one of the team.

• I agree that this retreat is a non-prescription medicine, state altering substances/drugs & alcohol-free space. I will not use or take any of the above for the duration of this event. This includes the time outside of the main group sessions. The facilitators are aware that there is a fine line between food, medicine, drug/substance. 

*The reason we request this is that we are working with strong energy and emotions and we want to work with the medicine of the body without any added relaxants, stimulants or hallucinogens. This is not a judgement on any of the above choices you may take in your life outside of this space.

• I will keep my mobile phone and other technologies turned off in communal rooms and areas. I agree to be mindful of how I use my phone/laptop in private accommodation spaces.

• If at any time I feel that this retreat is not appropriate for me or I wish to leave the retreat, I agree to speak directly to the facilitator before leaving.

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