Dare2Care

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If this process brings up distressing feelings that you are having difficulty processing, please contact your Joyality facilitator for support.

 

Each of the four objects symbolizes a different emotion.

  • The rock symbolizes anxiety and fear 
  • The stick symbolizes anger and frustration 
  • The pile of leaves symbolizes sadness and grief 
  • The empty bowl symbolizes feelings of not knowing, of emptiness and despair. 

Reflection: We invite you to use your Joyality Journal to write down a few of the so-called “negative” feelings that came up for you on the left hand side of a page, and write your very own “flip-side” on the right. Some unexpected insights or gifts may emerge…

Treat yourself very gently if you’ve gone deeply into this process. Do something that is simple and nurturing for you … a quiet walk, warm bath, a cup of tea … whatever it is for you.

[Download MP3s: Dare2Care ]

 

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[Transcript Dare2Care]

Purpose: The purpose of the Dare2Care process is to connect us to our deeper feeling and knowing about the state of the world. It’s an opportunity to focus on the so called “negative” feelings that our culture and society tells us either that we shouldn’t have, or if we do have them, that we should hide. This practise helps us discover what we really care about. What do we love? What really matters to us? What moves us?

Contrary to what we might expect, our so called “negative” feelings, such as fear, anger, sadness, and overwhelm are often the keys to finding our motivation and our life’s passion. Sharing these feelings with other people who we feel safe with also deepens our connection with them and helps us realise that we are not alone. We encourage you not only to “dare to care” but to “dare to share”.

This process is based on the Truth Mandala, which was developed by Joanna Macy as part of The Work That Reconnects, and is included in her most recent book written with Chris Johnstone called Active Hope (2012).

It is a chance to acknowledge, honour and release feelings about the world that we may have been carrying around for quite a while!

Preparation: The first thing to do is collect these objects from nature. Get an empty bowl to put the objects in (the bowl will also serve as one of the objects). Find a largish stone that fits nicely in the palm of your hand, two handfuls of dead leaves, and a short sturdy stick. If you can’t find these things, that’s okay, just use whatever you have around that works for you.

Each of these four objects symbolizes a different emotion.

  • The rock symbolizes anxiety and fear 
  • The stick symbolizes anger and frustration 
  • The pile of leaves symbolizes sadness and grief 
  • The empty bowl symbolizes feelings of not knowing, of emptiness and despair. 

*** Pause here while you gather these objects and jot these notes down in your Joyality Journal or open the Dare2Care webpage to this list of emotional symbols. ***

Find yourself a quiet and private place, either inside or outdoors, but somewhere that feels cosy and safe to you. Use a cushion, or a chair if you need one, and place it in a clear space on your floor. Arrange the four objects in front of your cushion – the empty bowl, the stone, the pile of leaves, and the stick. If you want to use a chair, clear a table and arrange the four objects on the table. If you would like to, light a candle and place it in the centre, symbolising hope, light and life!

Like all of the processes in this toolkit you can either do this Dare2Care process alone, with a friend, or with a group of people. Sharing it with others truly deepens the experience and what you get from it. If you don’t feel okay about visiting these feelings by yourself, perhaps ask a counsellor to do this process with you, or wait to do it with your Joyality Circle.

If you’re with a friend, get two cushions and put the objects between you.

If you’re in a group, sit in a circle with the objects in the centre. When someone wishes to speak they will go into the centre of the circle and sit beside the objects.

You might like to get yourself a glass of water, and maybe some tissues, and make sure that you won’t be disturbed. Take off your shoes and make sure that you’re comfortable. If you’ve chosen to use a candle, light it now.

*** Pause here while you do this. ***

Process: Sit down and get comfortable, either on your cushion or in your chair. Take a few really deep breaths, and with each exhalation feel all the muscles in your body relaxing. Allow any tensions to release. Close your eyes. Bring your attention to the earth beneath you, feel it supporting you as it always does. Feel yourself sitting on the ground, or feel the soles of your feet on the ground, and allow this sensation to connect you to the earth and also to be a symbol of entering and experiencing a deeper level of consciousness. See if you can feel that sense of relaxation, gratitude and support just by sitting there.

You might also want to draw upon a more personal source of support, something or someone that makes you feel safe and strong. Imagine a place, a nature being, totem animal, ancestor, relative or close friend sitting close behind you, “having your back” like a guardian and protector. If things start to feel “too much” then allow them to deal with the situation. You might also want to imagine your Joyality Circle with you.

Remember to keep breathing through all your feelings, and you can even imagine that as strong feelings arise, you allow them to be expressed through you, then let them settle and be absorbed by the earth, dissolve in the air and water, and burn in the fire of the candlelight.

Now you’re in that beautiful protected space, start to allow images and thoughts and feelings to arise about the destruction of the earth and its ecosystems, climate change, social injustice, war, famine, economic collapse – all the things you know about that are happening in the world right now that make you feel distressed. Just allow any feelings that you have to surface.

Now gently open up your eyes and allow your gaze to rest upon the four objects around you. Each of these four objects symbolizes a different emotion.

  • The rock symbolizes anxiety and fear – as you gaze at the rock, allow those feelings to arise.
  • The stick symbolizes anger and frustration – as you gaze at the stick allow those feelings to arise.
  • Now turn your attention to the pile of leaves – these leaves symbolize your sadness and your grief about what is happening to the world. As you gaze at them, allow those feelings to arise in you.
  • And finally, gaze at the empty bowl – this symbolizes feelings of not knowing, of emptiness and despair – allow those feelings to arise as well.

When you’re ready, pick up one of those objects, whichever one calls to you first, whichever one you are feeling most strongly at that time. Allow yourself to fall more and more deeply into the feeling. Welcome it, accept it, don’t try to change it. Feel the physical sensations that come along with that feeling. Maybe you are slightly shaky, perhaps tears begin to come – that’s okay, just let it happen.

Remember, emotions are simply energy, you don’t have to hold onto them any more, just let the energy flow through you … and see what emerges, if any new feelings and sensations take their place.

Once you’ve allowed yourself to feel this emotion, try to speak it out loud. Even if you’re alone, giving voice to your emotions is a powerful and often relieving thing to do. Speak in the first person, trying to express whatever feelings you feel symbolized by whichever object you are holding. (It might feel a bit strange to talk to yourself like this, but we encourage you to give it a go.)

Repeat this process for each object when you hold it. Yes, it’s important that you actually pick each object up and hold it.  Feel free to come back to an object or feeling you have already expressed if something else comes up for you about it.

If you are with a friend, simply take turns sharing, similarly in a circle. Don’t be afraid to allow silence between your sharing.

*** Pause here while you spend at least five minutes doing this process. ***

Reflection: Now, remember that the rock symbolizes anxiety and fear, the stick symbolizes anger and frustration, the leaves symbolize your sadness and grief about what is being lost, and the empty bowl symbolizes a state of despair and not knowing what to do.

Thank you for having the courage to get in touch with your deeper feelings, speak them, share them. Know that you are not alone in having these feelings. There are many of us who share your experiences, your knowledge, and your reactions. Remember, too, that each one of your feelings is a healthy psychological response to the current crises and the unhealthy state of the world.

We would like to remind you that each of these “negative” feelings also has a flip side to it. When you were holding the rock and feeling afraid and anxious, know that courage is not possible without those feelings of fear. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to take action despite feeling afraid.

When you were holding the stick and feeling angry or frustrated, know that anger is nothing more than a passion for justice and that it is a necessary force in empowering and motivating you to make change.

When you were holding the leaves and feeling sadness and grief at what is being lost, know that you wouldn’t feel those feelings unless you loved or cared for those very things. So the leaves also symbolize your deep love and care for the planet and for people.

When you were holding the empty bowl and recognizing your despair and not knowing what to do, know that we need that emptiness, that not knowing, that space, in order to imagine new solutions, make the changes that we need to make, and create a better world.

So thank you for your courage, your passion for justice, your love and care, and your openness and ability to change. Thank you for daring to care. Imagine what is possible if we apply each of those feelings, and the strengths that come from them, to making a difference in the world.

Reflection: We invite you to use your Joyality Journal to write down a few of the so-called “negative” feelings that came up for you on the left hand side of a page, and write your very own “flip-side” on the right. Some unexpected insights or gifts may emerge…

Treat yourself very gently if you’ve gone deeply into this process. Do something that is simple and nurturing for you … a quiet walk, warm bath, a cup of tea … whatever it is for you.

Source: Dr Eshana Bragg has been facilitating the Truth Mandala for over twenty years, and this is her own version of the original process created by Joanna Macy, adapted for use by one person, and renamed “Dare2Care”.

 

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