The story behind the name

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Why the name In The Pastel Bag

There is a story behind the name of my blog, one that I’d like to share with you.

The years of reflection in England

Picture this: I am in England, working with a social organisation 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.

Look at us: We are teaching and being taught; sharing and trusting; playing and creating. We are learning from each other and with each other. How easy it can be, to feel active members of a tight community. To feel that there is a place for us and our dreams; a place where we are valued and worthy.

Filling the empty bag

At the beginning of a certain workshop, the leading facilitator introduces the activity of “the bag”. She is holding an empty bag. You may wonder, why a bag? Let’s think why we’d use any given bag. To put something in there. Now let’s think how we can start to trust people we have just met. We need to put something aside. Put the pieces together and you get the big picture.

In that empty bag, we can put whatever preoccupies us and may block community building. On a piece of paper, we jot down any daily problems, difficult emotions, anxieties, fears, and put it inside. We close the bag and place it outside. In a symbolic way, we are now ready to get to know each other, free from current challenges.

We’d open the bag before we leave, for those possibly willing to get their paper back. They decide if and how they are going to use it.

There is a place for everyone’s dreams

Back home with a heavy bag

When the time came to leave life in England to return home to Greece, I put in a big 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 inside for the future. It seems that my 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 personal 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 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.

Whatever preoccupies us today could turn into a map for the future