“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
– Viktor Frankl
The premise of these discussions is that we all carry within us vast wells of wisdom based on our own experiences. We all hold this in our own way, but rarely do we have an opportunity to intentionally share, to pool hunches and guiding principles, and offer them up, lightly, to one another.
This series of conversations will bring participants on an observational journey in which they will be asked to consider how they function–successfully, or not–within their own inner dialogue, in their dialogue with other individuals, and in their engagement with the world.
Each week will have a particular focus (self, the other, the subconscious, and the social), and a group conversation will be initiated by a set of questions, and some reading, that participants will be asked to consider, prior to meeting. Participants will be asked to share stories about themselves that illustrate or show (as opposed to tell) their vulnerabilities, core assumptions and values. The meetings will be facilitated in a way that models the sharing of these stories, allows for all voices in the group to be heard, and encourages empathetic listening and respectful objectivity.
The goal will be to learn something about how we actually function in the world, and for the very brave, an opportunity to ask, “Is this who I want to be?” It would be my hope that in listening to one another’s stories we recognize ourselves, and see in that reflection a clarity that allows us to identify obstacles, and cherish that which serves us well.
Prior to moving to Brooklin, Maine, Annie Porter worked extensively as a facilitator with teachers and parents, in an effort to align adult expectations with the developmental stages of elementary school students. She also served as a pedagogical administrator, mentor, student advocate, and teacher of middle school English, drama, earth science and history.
“How to Be Perfect”, Ron Padgett
“The Bench”, Mary Ruefle
excerpts from Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg
excerpts from Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury
excerpts from Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
(and maybe more…)
Participants will be asked to come to the first meeting with three items:
What grounds you?
After a welcome and articulating some ground rules around confidentiality, this conversation will be a fun opportunity to hear a variety of different guiding principles held within the group. The sharing will also function as a way to warm up the group and develop a comfort level with one another. Depending on our time, our reflection (see below) may be started before the end of our meeting.
Example assignment for week 2 (given in person):
How do you find alignment with others? How do you get to yes?
We might discuss:
Example assignment for week 3 (given in person):
Week 3: Subconscious – the hidden
Observing triggers and responses.
The goal of this week will be to find some common ground in the fact that everyone struggles with responding productively in a “triggered” state. The hardest thing of all is to take the time to respond thoughtfully. Consciousness of our own fears, our own triggers, and the discrepancy between our actual response and our intentions are all first steps in taking charge of this part of our psyches. Priority this week will be given to hearing one another’s stories. This conversation is not about what makes us triggered. This objective conversation will be about our response.
We might also discuss:
Example assignment for week 4 (given in person):
Week 4: Social – engagement with the world
Finding meaning and moving forward with intention. Is this the road to happiness?
Sharing these images will be a nice bookend to the first conversation. The goal will be to create a picture–a feeling–of the future, individually and collectively. We will share our interests, then write specifically about our intentions. The focus will be on identifying obstacles while holding a clear vision of our personal goals.
We will also take some time to reflect on the past four weeks.
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