During Aware Thinker youth exchange we strived to improve “soft skills”, identify and let go of personal obstacles to enhance authentic communication, develop emotional Intelligence and skill of being emotionally present, we wanted to build and learn to build meaningful connections, practice inclusion of yourself and others, experience non-violent communication and voicing displeasure and conflict, speak up for yourself, and set boundaries, practice accepting imperfections. 

Did it work out? Check below.

Lets defined who is an Aware Thinker first. We see it as a person who speaks from the heart, is not afraid to risk, and is emotionally present for others by connecting with their inner voice. Becoming an Aware Thinker is experienced through Community Building – we practiced the power of listening and expressing deeply, co-creating a safe space to learn to be and stay authentic and to express joy, pain, and everything in between. This being over doing approach helps participants to learn a way of being mindful in the presence of others and to consciously remove the barriers of misunderstanding that separate them from each other. What we learn by building a Community is both how to be more authentic when we are busy with our lives and how to create meaningful relationships intentionally.

“There is a yearning in the heart for peace. Because of the wounds and rejections we have received in past relationships, we are frightened by the risks. In our fear, we discount the dream of authentic community as merely visionary. But there are rules by which people can come back together, by which the old wounds can be healed. The purpose of Community Building is to teach these rules—to make hope real again—and to make the vision actually manifest in a world which has almost forgotten the glory of what it means to be human.” —M. Scott Peck, MD

Warming Up Day – Getting to know each other and team building

Today 28 participants and 7 leaders from UK, Greece, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria gathered in Aware Thinker youth exchange in Kennington, United Kingdom. This is a second phase – read a full story of the Aware Thinker 1 here.


Today was the first day of the youth exchange and we have an experience shared by one of our participants.

“I felt a lot today. It started with the h a r d s h i p of letting go of the concerns I carried here with me. And then slowly I started discovering more of each member of the group: talking for the first time, engaging by drawing each other, sharing agreements.

Surprisingly, for me the most e n j o y a b l e moments were when we sat in silence. While somebody did share something it was
r e l i e v i n g just to listen. There was no need to respond. When I felt the urge to share I did so and j o y found me.

Was for everybody the same? No, and it is natural to experience things differently.”

Opening Up – Body Awareness

On the second day of the project, we focused on body awareness and on finding common values.

We engaged in exercises that challenged all of us in one way or another.

At the end of the day, we realized that it’s all a process that can and probably for most of us started with disconnection from ourselves and/or from others.

It was important that we truly listened to what our body and soul said to us and also what others said, maybe even without words.

Unlike yesterday when we first tried out the silent circle, today most of us started to enjoy it more and more the silence and felt more comfortable sharing what is within us.

Art Therapy

We started the day by sharing how we feel and then we let ourselves be surprised by our dance moves when we had to split into small groups and take a lead in an improvised dance.

We enjoyed speed dating as it was personalized with the questions provided by each participant.

Also, we started to truly collaborate, as we came up with the programme of our “My precious ashlove community festival ❤️ ”

After that, we experienced the intensity of art therapy by creating our portrait/s by illustrating both our intrusive/limiting thoughts and our superpowers.✨

We tried out a connection exercise before the silent circle. Some of us connected and some not. Also our circle today almost exploded… One word “EMOTIONAL”. We try to keep in mind that all we are doing is a learning process: IMPERFECT, but ESSENTIAL.


Personal experience shared by one of our participants.

“Reviewing our guidelines and recommitting to our shared agreements felt good, especially because I felt it was also a form of inclusion.
We did a debate on topics chosen by us. I loved it! Not because I enjoy debate in general, but because it was challenging and a place for our community to express itself and grow while doing so.

I was so frustrated throughout the whole day, because some of my thoughts and feelings, that I started feeling uncomfortable within the group. After telling them in the circle how I feel I started feeling that the weight I was carrying it lightens.

I feel grateful for my community and I felt that some of the dear souls did appreciate and created a safe space in a special way for me and for all of us today. ❤️”

Preparation for Festival

Today we are preparing for the festival “My Precious AshLov Community Festival”, as well as continuing with our evening circles.

Personal experience shared by one of our participants.

“During the circle were expressed different emotions: joy, sadness, frustration, gratitude, displeasure, excitement, disappointment; and we 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞 for all of them.
I was 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 in the morning! I 𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤 and 𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 in the circle about my feelings and thoughts. Others were glowing too, someone’s sharing touched me especially. It was about experiencing a 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 here after a time of isolation.

The 𝐜𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐥𝐞 changed: it became 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐲 and we became more brave to 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 even if it seems scary.️”

My Precious AshLov Community Festival

Today we had our “My Precious AshLov Community Festival” ✨

We started the day with a 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 and 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 experience: 𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠. Then a part of the group continued with the 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 while the rest of us created a drawing collaborating on it with others. Based on the drawing, each of us made up a story on the spot.

After that, we had a tied leg race and continued with a 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐜𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐥𝐞 where we 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 and 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬 while 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 for each other’s backs.

Then we continued 𝐞𝐧𝐣𝐨𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬 with karaoke and theatrical games. We 𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐝 our 𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 and 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐡𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬. We had a 𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐧𝐲 blind date experience and 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐮𝐩 the night with a jam session. 🌞


Today we decided to go out and explore London, Canterbury, Dover and Folkstone in separate groups. On the way, we were doing different types of challenges and we had some connecting experiences within the groups. Once we returned back to Ashford we were eager to share our most precious moments with each other.

Together and Alone

Today we had a day of reconnection, with everyone, with the lives back home, and more importantly with ourselves. The schedule was free for anyone to propose an activity so today we spent a lot of time by ourselves but we also had some activities, like karaoke, dancing, and full body silhouette meditation. It gave us an opportunity to reflect on the sad, the happy, and the most loved moments of our lives, and this training has definitely become all 3 of them.

The day we ended in a circle where all the truths, appreciations, silences, and pains were spoken, as it should have happened in order to free our minds.


We started our last day together as this COMMUNITY by giving feedback about the program, completing the Youthpass and cleaning.
We had the silent circle which was almost entirely without talking. We HELD THE SPACE for each other and even if there were just a few words said, it felt really powerful to BE PRESENT in those moments TOGETHER.

We made some funny group pictures and then shared some moments of APPRECIATION, LOVE, GRATITUDE and JOY with every soul. After that, some of us left but the ones who stayed kept playing games and discussing until the birds started singing.


See you next time

“This project was really powerful to really develop either personal and community values, with all the activities you could learn something from yourself and from the others and it was empowering.”

“I learned to find common ground with people who are radically different. There were some participants to whom keeping the rules was of the utmost importance and they would be truly upset if the rules were broken. I personally couldn’t care less about rules, but I do care about not upsetting other people so I did my best to respect them and their values.”

“I always enjoy the type of method where there is a process of give-take involved. I feel like there were always oportunities given to shine for bad or worse, and my inner tremors felt adressed.”


Aware Thinker – Article in Bulgarian

Aware Thinker – Article in Polish

Aware Thinker – Article in Lithuanian

Aware Thinker – Article in Greek

Aware Thinker – Article in Spanish

Aware Thinker – Article in Czech

Whole Aware Thinker project

Erasmus + Youth exchange Aware Thinker

Story Aware Thinker: 1  

Story Aware Thinker: 2

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