Authenticity is ambiguous

On Tuesday, Terri and I went to an Authentic Relating Games night. We’d been planning to go for some time but other life things have gotten in the way. We finally made it, and here is my tale.

Once we got there, I got super stressed.

Who ARE these people?
Why are they even here?
What am I supposed to do with them?
That guy over there creeps me out.
Woah – I want to authentically relate with that cutie across the room.
Etc.

And it was neat in ways and it was weird in ways and it was VERY WHITE. There was a game near the end where people could stand up and finish the sentence “What if…” with whatever popped into their heads and I just kept thinking “What if there were people of colour here?” and then I was thinking “Maybe some people here are POC who pass as white and oh sheesh what is the right thing to do here?” and I just let the moment pass and that was shitty. I should not have let the moment pass.

Anyway maybe you want to know what this whole event was even about. Here’s a blurb from a website:

Engaging with oneself and others in this safe, spontaneous container affords the opportunity to create and foster a culture of conscious connection, positive regard, and authenticity in relationship. In this field of co-creation and co-discovery, we come to recognize and experience our shared humanity on a deep, profound level. Here we experience the absolute relief of being seen and accepted as we explore outside the box of social sleepwalking and superficial conversation.

Games Night is the playground where we practice a new way of connecting and playing that allows the power of intentionally relating to emerge. Here, we are cultivating and practicing transformation — not just talking about it — by being willing to be affected or changed in relationship with someone else (or even ourselves!). The more we let ourselves enjoy and be nourished by each other, the more we take care of ourselves, each other, animals, and the world.

Basically they are a series of “games” that the facilitator explains in the moment that get people to connect and interact with each other. Like the first class get to know you stuff, but better.

The first one we did was walk around and when they rang the little cymbals on their fingers we stopped and looked at the nearest person and the facilitator would ask us to consider what we thought of the person (asking about different aspects with each new person) and then prompted us to “let it go” and then move on.

So those kinds of things are neat. Like, this is not new stuff for me, but it is new for me to do any stuff like this with strangers.

What I found weird about it is that we would interact within the contexts of these little games but really not otherwise. I STILL don’t know why these people were there, or really much about their lives etc. So the neat part about that, is relating to people about things that I don’t normally share with strangers/acquaintances and to actually feel no connection to them afterward. Usually, I feel a bit of a connection, and share to deepen that connection.

This is something I’d like to do again, but like, not next week. It was pretty exhausting and I don’t even think I was being all that deep or vulnerable. I was more into figuring out what this whole thing even was so now that I have that understanding, I know how to get the most out of it, and also feel like less of a jackass and call this group out on some stuff.

On this day:

In 2009 – those playlists were so great and I now realize that my ex has my ipod.
In 2008 – about cameras I’ll never use because smartphones exist now
In 2006 – I have no recollection of what that whole plate thing was about and I probably never followed through with it.

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