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Resource 8 Experiencing the Program Solo or in a Pair
Working alone or with one other person can be an interesting and effective way to engage with the High Hill program. Collaborating with another person, particularly if you live in an area that does not have a Unitarian Universalist congregation, can be a wider and more affirming experience than working alone. However, some people prefer to make this journey by themselves, taking things at their own speed, focusing on what interests them most, rather like a solo camping experience. You know your style and preference best.
If you decide to go it alone, set a work schedule for yourself, including completion dates for each step of the process and time to review your process periodically. When you review your progress, consider which parts of the project have touched you most deeply. What writing have you done eagerly and joyfully, and what parts of preparing and writing your Odyssey have you shied away from? Sometimes what you preferred not to do reveals more important parts of your life story than what you preferred to do!
Working with another person on this program can be a very moving and intimate experience. Choose a person with whom you are comfortable and whom you respect and trust. Begin by making a calendar with agreements about how often you will meet and what you will focus on at each meeting. Agree to pay attention to one another during your meeting times and stop when you are done or have reached the agreed-on end time. During your initial meeting times, try to do as many activities from the first retreat weekend plan as you can together, and give each other feedback. Once you have begun the writing process, divide your meeting time equally, so that you use half of the time together to focus on each person’s work. Or, you may wish to spend one whole meeting on one person’s work and the next on the other person’s.
Here are additional suggestions for partner work:
- Set aside five minutes at the beginning and the end of your meetings to check in with one another: Use the beginning time to catch up on what has been happening in one another’s lives and the end time for closure and agreeing on how the time in your next meeting will be used.
- Decide if you wish to exchange pages prior to your meeting. One of the great gifts of modern technology is the capacity to electronically forward pages to another person. If you are both able to use electronic communication, decide if you want to use it in your work together, or if you prefer silence/no contact between meetings.
- You may wish to vary your meeting place. Or you may prefer to always use the same place. Talk this over and agree ahead of time. It is best to meet when and where there are no, or few, distractions.
- When you are writing, discuss and agree on the kind of feedback you will give and receive. Some writers are really looking for copy editors—specific feedback on grammar, spelling, syntax, style, continuity. Others want input on clarity, content, and flow.
- One way to meet is to go for a walk, or a hike. This assumes you have read the pages that you will be discussing. It is a pleasant, healthy, and often very intimate way to talk.
- Consider how you want to present your completed Odysseys. Will you present them to each other? Gather a group?
Approaching a Friend to Work with You
If you would like to do this program with a friend, start by giving or loaning your friend a printout of From the High Hill or invite them to read it online. Tell your friend why you find it appealing and why you thought of doing it with them, in particular. Invite them to examine the program. Make a date to discuss if and how you might do it together.