Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Exercises for the Young Earth

From 2005 to 2007, I had the opportunity to run a Leadership program for girls ages 10-14, in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The program focused, as I designed it, on developing the girls’ inner strength, by focusing on exploring internal and external issues relevant to their experiences. In the end, the girls were able to truly learn new things about who they were. In 2007, when I got a Knowledge of Self, I drew connections between the purpose I gave the program, and how it related to what became who I am now, my natural self: The Earth. Below, is part of the curriculum of only the retreat. These were the two main activities engaged in and just wanted to share with those that might find it useful.

The following exercises can serve of great help, especially the journal writing, for young Earths getting knowledge of self. Journal writing is essential to the experience of growth. One should start with simple exercises that can get girls comfortable in talking and sharing moments of their life. This will instill within them the idea of sharing, documenting, and exploring themselves. All processes natural when gaining knowledge of self.

Asset Building Activity: “Self-Awareness through Journal Writing”

Asset to work on this workshop: Sense of Purpose, Positive view of Personal Future

Facilitator: Izayaa Allat.

Objective: In this training, the girls will be able to begin to develop their own “personal story” and use their life experience/expertise to find their “VOICE.” Using a number of exercises/discussion they will become familiar with the concept of self-awareness, getting to know who they are. They will learn how to get in touch with their inner voice through meditation techniques and use journal writing as a way to document their life experiences.

Materials: pens/pencils, paper, life story handout, journals, binders, and yoga mats.

Step One: Opening circle—Participants will make a circle and say one word that reflects their state of mind. Facilitator should start as a way of providing an example to the kind of words that accurately express our feelings. (i.e. “Today I feel excited about what I can learn.”)

Step two: Ground rules—Participants will draw on their experience to list 5 essential rules that will apply to all following workshops/trainings.

Step three: What is Self- Awareness? The girls will start to explore the concept of “Self-Awareness” and what that means. In small group formation, girls will write down their thoughts on the concept. Through group discussion, the answers will be explored to arrive at one concrete definition.

Step Four: Presentation of Journals—The girls will be presented with their journals.

Step Five: The Game Story—participants will pair up and have a few minutes to tell each other their “Life Story” then the group comes together. Facilitator will pass one handout to each girl and explain the handout. The handout is in a timeline form and girls are expected to fill out each space with significant events in their life up to present time. Facilitator will provide examples of the kind of events to write in their timelines. Once timelines are completed, each girl will choose an event they remember vividly and would share with the rest of the group. They are to write about this event in their journals with details. Facilitator will say, “talk about an event where you were able to grow as a person, learn something new, or that impacted you? What did you learn from this experience?” Facilitators should aid those that are having problems talking in details. Girls will then get with a partner. The partner is responsible for reading the other’s work and to provide feedback on what other information she thinks her partner should add on. By asking questions to each other about their events, the partners will be able to complete their narrations. After, the whole group will unite in a circle. Each girl will share their own stories.

Step Six: Mindful meditation—participants will learn how to meditate. By sitting or laying on the floor they will be guided to relax and begin to monitor their breath, body, and mood. This exercise will aid their self-awareness and to be present at all times. This meditation will allow the girls to also become in contact with their inner voice (being self-aware) so that they can then document it in their journals. Facilitator will ask, “How did you feel when doing the mediation exercise? What kind of things were going on with your body? Did you get sleepy? Did you have trouble relaxing? What do you think meditation does to the person that practices it? Girls will write in their journals.

Step Seven: Closing Circle— the girls will come together in a circle (if not in one already) and will talk about one word that reflects their state of mind as the session ends.


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