Donna Lynn Hope, Willow
I've got to be fascinating tomorrow morning. I'm slowly figuring out what might be useful in keeping another fascinated, and words are not high on the list... so here I am using words to see if I can fascinate you :)
I have to keep the attention of about 16 young people, who in most contexts don't keep their attention on anything for more than a minute or two. So what am I going to do? I'm going to talk very fast and then get them involved as quickly as I can before they dissociate...
I'm not joking about the dissociation. I reckon I've spent my entire life dissociating in all sorts of contexts, so I don't get too upset when I lose my audience. I think it's my job to keep them fascinated, and if I can't do that I'll take most of the responsibility. I was very fortunate to get some training in the therapy world that suggested if a client doesn't engage it's the therapists problem. If I challenge you too much and you walk out of the room (even in your mind/dissociate) then I'm going to at least ask myself how I misjudged your willingness to see what I see (knowing that what I see might not be real to you at all - it might be my reality and I need to see it not you! And/or it may not be real in any sense).
So, we, a bunch of young people and brave adults, have leapt into a space where we are deliberately asking the others to see us, even in ways that are not comfortable. We are trying to see each other and remain fascinating at the same time.
For example, we (the fearless leaders lol - we've already admitted we have a few) will describe our experience of anxiety without going into the gory detail of an anxiety provoking scenario. Then we will work through ways that we might stay vulnerable (hence allowing ourselves to be known in some sense) without putting ourselves at risk (i.e. by NOT sharing the graphic detail). Even when we feel totally safe with another individual, it's not essential to share the minute detail to feel known and cared for by the others with whom we are sharing our broad thoughts, though in many ways detailed feelings... 'cause we are starting to know that thoughts are passing, and that to be known might also be a very transient thing - especially considering that yesterday I had some sense of who I thought I was and a vague sense of purpose, and today (even though yesterday's thoughts are still vaguely familiar) I'm not convinced that yesterday was close enough to say; 'that's me' that's 'who I am' the 'meaning of life' or at least 'my life' (as if I could stamp some sort of ownership on the flesh/bones/thoughts/feelings or even the process).
That kind of stream of consciousness above is enough for me to have enormous respect for the pain and dissociative escapes of anyone else who temporarily disappears (voluntarily or otherwise) into a paradise or hell for a few moments or minutes.
What will we do tomorrow? I'm hoping to explore the connection between anxiety and performance, but I'm not assuming anyone will care - it'll be really fascinating if we can come up with some shared metaphors to understand what triggers us and what we might do to step around the blocks to performing our roles and enjoying our souls...
Duck stretches to deal with some lactic acid (ready for a long jump)