IFG UPDATE: Week 1 – Am I Aware?

Song of the Week:
NONAME – Shadow Man (Ft. Saba, Smino, & Phoelix)
“We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it.” – Andy Puddicombe

This week in IFG we explored our present awareness in two ways:

  1. Others: Are you aware of your peers, your host family, the program staff, your doorman? Do you know their stories? Their thoughts and feelings? If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. Ourselves: Are you aware of yourself? Your natural-default setting? How you’re automatically relating to your experiences and your surroundings?
We discussed how creating more contact zones (getting to know people’s “stories”) helps us extend compassion beyond ourselves and challenges the self-centered, egotistical, unquestioned auto-pilot we unconsciously run on. It is for this reason we must become aware, especially in a new environment where we must open our minds to new experiences and ways of thinking about things.
As you enter your 4th week in Madrid, start paying attention to your tendencies and habits. What does doing so make you aware of? What do you learn about yourself? In what ways are you opening up to or resisting “being a local?” Why?



To help you understand the benefits of adapting to life here in Madrid, please read Derek Siver’s short piece “Moving for Good” before your next IFG session. Come ready to talk about it!


“As a Spanish person that’s never been to any place in America, IFG might be a totally different experience for me, nevertheless it has helped me through things I would never had thought about before coming here. If you guys don’t know me, I’m the facilitator for the “Queer IFG” group, and one of the things that has surprised me the most during my time here is how having such an intercultural group makes every person both a learner and a teacher in a very enriching way. So many different realities but so similar if you look at them closely.

There is no doubt that having a diverse group is the way to go if you want to have the widest variety of point of views, and it’s so impressive that while still having a lot of things in common, in our case being queer, you can have so many things to learn about, e.g. culture, life, activism and even legal stuff.

IFG is a way to bring us together an have a safe space that helps us not only while you’re here in Spain, but also for the rest of your life wherever you happen to be.”


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