When I decided to set up my personal blog, I was advised to create a Facebook account. I was told that this helps to connect with readers, interact with them and share stories. They were right. It was on Facebook when I was asked how I came up with the name In The Pastel Bag.
Ah, there is a story behind the name. I think it is a beautiful story, like all stories which come from the heart. I hope you enjoy it…
So, I am working with a social organisation in the UK run by women and for women. One of the programmes delivered is the outcome of our collaboration with the international volunteer organisation Alternatives to Violence Project, known as AVP, which organises workshops on resolving conflicts and improving relationships with others on the basis of mutual trust and understanding.
My friend and I support the joint initiative as facilitators. Our first task is to participate in AVP workshops as trainees. Through specific activities and games, in a fun way, we get to see how we can turn personal experiences into a source of learning and development. There we are, teaching and being taught; sharing and trusting; playing and creating.
At the beginning of a workshop, the leading facilitator introduces the activity of “The bag”. She is holding an empty bag. You may wonder, why a bag; Think why we tend to use any given bag. Now think how we can start to trust people we have just met. Can you see the picture?
In that empty bag, we are about to leave there whatever preoccupies us and may block community building. On a piece of paper, we jot down any daily problems, difficult emotions, anxieties, fears, and leave it inside. The bag is then placed outside. In that symbolic way, we are now ready to get to know others, unaffected by current challenges. The bag opens towards the end of the workshop, for those possibly wishing to get their paper back.
When the time came to leave life in the UK to return home to Greece, I put in a bag concerns, worries and anxieties, this time, concerning the future. Back home, something interesting happened: I opened the bag and noticed that there was a map for the future. Apparently, those concerns embedded within what I have learned about life from women and men who have turned failure into inspiration; disappointment into understanding; fear into trust. Symbolically, the name of the blog is a reminder of the fact that the content of our bag may be a burden; it may also be a destination in life.
The bag is in pastel colours. When the sun is setting, the sky gets decorated with pastels, inviting us to look up at it and see our dreams through the clouds. How amazing to see that there is a place for everyone’s dreams. We are smiling. In the pastel bag, there is a place for thoughts, stories and projects which bring a smile to our face.
Have a creative week!
A blogger friend, Joanna
Photo: Camil Tulcan