Thursday, May 15, 2008

TO WRITE: Your Gang
What organizations or informal groups do you belong to? If you're like me, you can name quite a few. I'm a member of NAMI and DBSA, several writing associations, a gym, charitable organizations, alumni associations, on and on.... Then there are the less formal groups: two writing groups, a group of church friends interested in multiculturalism, my old high school gang of four close friends, a book group, and, of course, my family and my neighbors.

It all looks a bit daunting as I start to list them here. But I think most groups I am a part of do offer some benefits. Some provide a sense of camaraderie, a sense of shared purpose, educational opportunities, or -- most critically -- friends and support.

Play with this. . .
Take about three minutes to quickly jot a list of groups or organizations to which you belong. Then take three more minutes to list those you've belonged to in the past -- remember, your fifth grade class counts, as do any religious or business affiliations you've had. Now write continuously on one to three of these items, considering what your emotional experiences are or were there. Did you feel uplifted and aided in a depression support group? Did your softball team provide friendship when you needed it? Did your high school graduation class offer enjoyment, or was it all a burden?

Finally, how could you improve your life in terms of the groups you belong to now? Could you audit a class or find a few folks who like museums? Personally, I'm feeling stretched way too thin right now, so I'm trying to take leave of a few volunteer activities and focus more on things like the writing group I lead and the one I write in. I'm also realizing there may be times in the future when I'll benefit from a mood disorders support group again -- one of my saviors in past times. Try to be creative and keep all your options open.

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