Workbook for Change: Questions and Practice for Re-Entering Your Surroundings

(See here and here for an explanation, below the exercise for guidelines on doing this yourselves.)

Q: What reminds you of the truth that you are part of nature?

What distract you from it or leads you to forget it?

What is the cost of forgetting it?

What is the cost of remembering it?

PRACTICE: Stand (if you are able) or sit, recline, etc. with others and close your eyes.

Feel gravity and envision the earth holding you to itself.

Feel your heartbeat and envision water flowing through you.

Feel your breathing and envision air holding you up and outward.

Open your eyes and look at the people you are with.

GOOD TO DO

  • Choose the questions and/or practices you want to do at least a few days before getting together to do them. This means that people have time to feel their way into them and no one is surprised. The reasons for doing them—outlined above—should also be really clear before you do them.
  • If it’s a short gathering or if you have other things to work on, limit it to one question set or one practice.
  • Whatever ways you have of looking out for each other while you’re together also apply here. If you don’t have ways of doing that on purpose, developing them before you begin would be a good idea.
  • Have snacks around during the practice, and share a meal at the end. Do this even if you’re doing it remotely and can’t literally hand each other food.
  • Remind each other that it’s okay to do the questions or practices in a way that makes sense for you, which might mean changing them a little.
  • Every so often, offer or take the option to say how you’re feeling in your body, without needing to explain why.
  • Take both formal/guided breaks where you move, breathe, or otherwise remind yourselves and each other that you live in your bodies on earth, and regular breaks where people can walk around, go pee, have a cigarette, whatever.
  • Remember that people’s different histories may make these questions and practices difficult for them in different ways and amounts. Choosing a story to share, thinking in a different way, remembering and feeling can all be stressful. Be patient with yourself and others.
  • Try to keep your attention in the room you’re in and with the people you’re with. People may go “in and out” a little bit in their attention if what you’re doing is stressful for them, and that is okay.
  • Wind down at the end by asking people to say something about what they want to leave behind and something they want to carry with them, or something similar to help people return to their day or night.
IMAGE: Black trumpet fungus growing near moss, twigs, dead leaves and other small plants.

Thank you to the Assembly of Light Choir for testing this exercise out with me, and Monster Trux for trying it out on their own.

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