The Safe Container & “Readers Write”

Beth and I are the ones in any class who raise our hands to ask questions. In a live or Zoom meeting, we’re avid participators, always eager to jump in and take part in discussions. I would chalk some of that up to our ease at public speaking. We’re performers and teachers, so expressing ourselves comes quite naturally to us whether it’s live or online.

As a facilitator, I’ve also become adept at creating what is called “a safe container.” When I’m with a new group of songwriters, for example, I like to declare our meeting “a safe playspace where anyone can offer up thoughts or emotions without fear of being judged or made fun of.” And even if it’s not specifically explained, Beth and I always use words, tone, and body language to help people feel at ease. I’m sure many of you are adept at this, too!

I’ve gone on at some length about this for two reasons: First, think it’s really important for healers and teachers, whenever we’re in a group setting, to employ a gentle manner so as to encourage other people to poke their heads out of their shells. For the last couple of years, we’ve all endured a highly anxious and sometimes isolating health crisis on top of an already divisive political landscape. Kindness is something we cannot have too much of right now.

My second reason for speaking of safe containers is to declare this blog a safe playspace, too! I would love it if you participated in the comments section when the spirit moves you. I know so many of you as deep thinkers and emotive beings, and I’d like you to get to know one another.

And here’s another idea: I am going to steal a concept from one of our favorite magazines,The Sun, and initiate a new monthly part of the Adventure called “Readers Write.” So, here’s the deal…

I will pick a topic in advance for the month. Your assignment, if you’re willing to participate, is to send me a non-fiction piece on that topic by the 30th or 31st of the previous month. So, if November’s topic is “Gratitude” (and it is), you would email me your piece by October 31.

Here’s some samples from The Sun: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/sections/readers-write

Sending it to me means that you’re giving me permission to include it in a future blog post. That said, I declare myself the benevolent play leader who has permission to lightly edit your work and determine if what you send me feels like it will work well for this group. I also reserve the right to post a portion on Facebook to encourage people to come to the blog and read your great stories!

As far as content, let’s tell one another a TRUE STORY of something that happened to you that makes you think of the topic. It can be happy, sad or anything else! There’s no need to tell us what it taught you or pontificate in any way, shape or form. Just tell the story. As one writer said, “Show, don’t tell.”

Again, here’s some samples from The Sun: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/sections/readers-write

When “publishing” I will only use your first name and last initial. And, if you prefer, I can post it as “Name Withheld” if that allows you to be more honest. LMK what you prefer.

Here’s the first topics due by the 30 or 31st of the previous month:

November – Gratitude (due October 31)

December – Holidays (due November 30)

January – Boating (Due December 31)

Happy Writing!

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