Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Real

Emotion Square in Progress
Courtesy Brooke Brown, 2011
Yesterday at Village Art Project, we talked about Empathy. What it looks like to really connect emotionally with other person with an experience of theirs, both good and bad. We started the time painting emotion squares. Basically, this involved the kids choosing an emotion (ex: love, anger, hopeful, ignored) that they possibly identified with and express it through painting on one half of a canvas. The other half of the canvas was reserved for their partner to paint on. Their objective was to copy the original painting with the exact colors and design. So both were challenged to pay attention to the details of their partner's painting so to "empathize" with them.

The kids ( and me) were then pushed out of their comfort zones a bit in the next project that required them to interview someone living in the park. Everyone, even us adults, got a chance to share our stories (one of the happiest moments in our life and something that we might have lost that caused us sadness). Like the kids, this in a way was a stretching/growing moment for me.

This project time gave me a chance to reflect on my current relationships with my close friends. I realized in my most recent conversations with friends, how important I felt to respond to their situations by sharing a similar emotion from one of my personal experiences. I can't always fully understand their situations if I have not gone through it myself, but I found that it was ok to share in similar emotions. I may have had a different story, but my emotions were similar. No more feeling like I have to find the perfect answer to help someone when they are going through a hard time. Instead I felt the need to lift them up by sharing that they are not alone in their current emotion. And on the flip side, being willing to express my emotions to others so that healing can begin in my heart. This is totally not something I regularly put into practice about five or six years ago. My response then: keep things inside, play Oprah (fix problems of others).

It makes me feel so happy to know that we all NEED each other as we journey through this life. That this is actually expected of us. It takes just a willing heart to get real with ourselves and one another.

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