Empathy, Shame & Singing

by Groundswell participant Claire S.



Chip Hand Face. Chip Hand Face. CHF CHF CHF. I am trying to compile my thoughts on the main events of last week by simplifying and re-bundling a scattering of unfitting events. It is not always cohesive here. Facilitators are either coming and going or only around for their class. Likewise, students juggle many different things and are in attendance such as life permits. I just want to connect it all. Then there can be a sameness and this whole thing can be ingestible. CHF CHF CHF


The week started with a planned change in plan, Michael from Mas Movement was coming in to start a conversation regarding privilege. After his arrival we were informed that a particularly charismatic and inspiring student would no longer be a part of the program. Hung up on this loss, we began a short confusing introduction to privilege and anti-oppressive spaces. CHF CHF CHF. Seeing and listening are the starting points we started with. Beginning to speak about privilege commonly evokes an intense response of shame leading to paralysis. In Gilad’s class he soothed our inadequacies with chocolate cake and showed us a popular video on vulnerability through a vulnerable internet connection. Heidi narrated the gaps with information on neurological connections and effects of shame on these connections: connection breakdown. Cognition breakdown. Without connection there is little empathy.

After a broken connection, learning, vulnerably moving towards more connections. We are supposed to be looking for potential partners, business partners, but our connections are jolty. We sat in groups indulging in delicious cake sharing our project ideas or where we were at with this pivotal part of the alternative business school. Sharing our vulnerable and secretive ideas, or lack of, was paired with the photo (1)empathy of the group. This connection helped validate our sense of worthiness. CHF CHF CHF. I am still in this nest of wanting to listen and ingest listen and ingest listen and ingest. Stepping out and creating: transferring from see-er to see-e (also known as witness to spectacle) is slightly challenging for some--I’ll speak for myself here, challenging for me. Group brainstorms on project ideas begins next week. Inevitably this continuation of sharing will lead to greater connection and genuine care in each other’s endeavors. My chips are gone.

The connection is connection

With our consulting project it is becoming clear a major motivator is a desire to connect to other people. –In Matt’s class we are look at examples of people connecting and succeeding over a shared need: alternatives to top-down Capitalism. It is in the connection that success has developed. –Reilly’s whole class is based around finding current ways of connecting. photo (2)Wednesday’s class ended beautifully with entertainment and wisdom. Shiki initiated a connection by a humorous and insightful presentation on language barriers called ‘Shiki’s Gap.’ Explaining that much of what she desires to say is left unsaid and thus falls into the ‘black hole,’ illuminated that a quiet person is not necessarily one that has nothing to say nor wants to say nothing. Shiki played the violin to translate Shiki’s gap with two short songs, one song delicate and vulnerable, and the other flourishing in expertise and confidence.

Chanel wrapped up the class by facilitating something unfathomable. She got the class to sing. Together. The whole room. Everyone. Me. I sang. We sang together. We heard each other’s voices. We matched each other’s voices. We simultaneously sang different things and mingled through the small space Chanel had laid out for us. It was challenging but completely doable. We messed up, but we sounded good. If you are seeking connection, may I suggest singing with people.