Far away from everyday life, I had the best time and opportunity to think about myself. Hidden deep in the shadow of the mountain, Dobrinishte was the place where, together with 26 other people, I took part in a course, named “Storify yourself: youth worker as a brand”. From the beginning, the name of the course makes you think about it! What does exactly “storify” mean? On the very first day, all participants wrote their expectations and fears and, step by step, we were going to achieve our goals. None of us even suspected that the course was directed more towards developing our personality and inner stability than our external behavior. We were taking part in exercises, starting early in the morning and finishing late at night when we were lying in bed and continued to think. The trainers - real professionals – helped us step forward and gave us directions how to think.
So, the first day we met each other and shared our life stories - how we saw our lives. Life was described as a river that make us what we are. This helped us to break the walls between different nations, cultures, ages and education. On the second and third day, we had two more trainers - Sania and Zlatan - who gave us directions to try to speak in public and keep attention, to forget the thought to be perfect and to find a way to express ourselves in different situations. On the fourth day, we took part in a hiking exercise, where we could feel the mystic spirit of the Pirin mountain, clear our heads and put everything (almost everything) in order. And it was the last preparation for becoming an adult - to stay alone in the mountain, far away from everyone else, alone with your thoughts and daemons (like they do in some Indian tribes). It was a great night! I was wondering: Am I brave enough to do it? Am I in peace with myself? Can I stay calm with so many unknown things, with fear of what I don’t know? BUT I did it! I did one of the hardest things in my life. That night I won a war against some of my strongest fears. There was so much solo time to think that I even didn’t realize how I was changing myself.
On the next day, we had to create our own stories – whatever we wanted, something important that we wanted to share with others. It was really difficult because, if you think about it, everything could be “important”, and if you know how to tell it, everything could be interesting. On the final day, we shared our stories and looked into the mirror - the mirror of other people’s opinion and understanding. I heard a lot of heartbreaking stories of life, for the breaking of ice between people. And I realised how different ways of thinking we all had. I saw how we “branded” ourselves, consciously or not, with what we share and the way we share it.
Now I realise there are a lot of things I have to work on myself but I have a direction to move on, and I know that I am not alone. So, don’t lose connection with nature and with people themselves!
Author: Donka Apostolova
Training in Dobrinishte, Autumn 2019