LOVE CONNECTORS: Stick Together

A Crafting Series

By: Jill Stockburger

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.” Kitty O’Meara

As many celebrated Easter, although there was togetherness, it was likely not the togetherness we anticipated or are used to. Traditions, connection, and celebration have had to take on new creative twists and turns, and the fatigue of the new normal may be setting in as the natural world blooms and awakens to hope around us.
For some of us, all this togetherness might be creating a bit of a sibling or parent-child rub, but it serves us (or, me) well to remember that conflict can actually be the seedbed of a deeper, more trusting relationship if handled with care, connection, and a solid dose humor.
“Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioral consequences.” Dr. Dan Siegel

There are three overarching “rules” embraced by many who use the tools of Empowered to Connect and practice Trust Based Relational Intervention:

  1. Stick Together
  2. No Hurts
  3. Have Fun

In order to stick together, we give voice to one another which means we embrace conflict as a companion to growth. And, if conflict and growth are friends, then the art of dramatic play might as well be their next best friend.
Drama helps to regulate emotions like anger and develop a sense of closure. It reduces feelings of loneliness and social dissatisfaction, and even increases self-esteem and memory functioning. Play is the foundation to all of the arts.
Practice doesn’t make perfect here folks, but it makes progress. Perfection can be so limiting anyway. So, let’s get to using it all!

Mirroring Resonance: Parla! (Speak) Giving Voice and Life Value Scripts

  • In this exercise, the goal is to guide participants to examine a conflict from a new perspective, develop their listening skills, and stretch those empathy muscles.
  • As a group of three (recommend at lease one adult in the trio), the participants will take turns discussing a conflict they are currently dealing with or dealt with in the recent past. Whichever participant is discussing their conflict at the time will use the other partners’ bodies to “sculpt” the scene. The other two participants will remain frozen in this scene representing the other partner’s conflict until the sculptor says “Parla.”
  • Once the magic word has been spoken, the sculpture will come alive; the two participants that make up the sculpture can move, talk, and act in whatever way seems most fitting for the situation. They will be given one or two minutes to act out the scene while the third partner watches, then freeze back into a sculpture to finish the exercise.
  • The two sculptures should take their performance cues from the third partner’s story and the physical position they were placed in rather than inventing any characters or conflict themselves. The point is to mirror the conflict back to the author as clearly as possible, without trying to solve the conflict.
  • Repeat the process with the other participant.
  • Afterwards ask the participants how they feel about the conflict now. My bet is a little play has broadened horizons and brought an opportunity to integrate a life value script.

And, speaking of horizons, next is a sunrise challenge.

Sunrise Family Breakfast

  • The night before, set the table, if possible consider setting up outside, on a porch, or near a window to the see the sunrise. Keep breakfast simple.
  • Plan to wake everyone in time to be ready at the table about 10 minutes before sunrise.
  • Begin to have breakfast together and notice how it gradually gets brighter as a new day breaks. The sunrise always comes. Its arrival connects the entire larger community with the promise of a new day. Share any thoughts and experiences that come to mind. Together reflect on the gradually brightening that comes through sticking together.

Later in the day or weekend you can use those extra coffee filters from that much needed early morning cup to create these symbols of peace and promise.

Dove Garland

Supplies: white coffee filters, colored pencils, string
Ages: 3+
Exercise: Fold 2 or 3 coffee filters in half and line up the pattern so that the belly of the dove is on the crease of the fold. Invite your child over to trace the pattern!

Cut out your doves! Since the filters are thin, you can cut 2 or 3 at a time.

Separate your beautiful birds.

Write a name and an encouraging character trait of that person on the dove. Attach your birds along some string with tape. Watch them soar!

Other Options: Remember there is no right or wrong here. Feel free to choose just one portion of this process or spread them out over a couple days.

About the author: Jill Stockburger is a counseling intern with Memphis Family Connection Center as she obtains her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy through Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.
Jill loves to see all the arts modalities of visual art, music, drama, dance, and creative writing integrated with TBRI principles.