Having our emotions heard is a fundamental human need. The modern world denies this need, but that doesn’t make the need go away. More then denying the need, society gives, and encourages, us to suppress our emotions. Feelings meetings stand in opposition. They exist to allow us, no, encourage us, to fulfill our fundamental need of expressing emotion.
Each meeting opens with with a standard spiel.
- This meeting is a forum to have our emotions heard.
- What we say is strictly confidential, if you can’t honor that, please leave.
- We must be uncomfortable, if not, we’re doing it wrong.
- Do not break the tension through jokes or fidgeting.
- Listen to the emotions, not the words. When you want to clarify, or problem solve, stop yourself, and listen to the emotions instead.
Rituals let us get into the “spirit” of the feeling meeting faster. Some of our rituals:
- Remove the table, and sit in the smallest circle we can.
- Bring a box, place all of our electronics into it.
- Set a timer for the end of the meeting, so no one is aware of the time.
- Begin the meeting with the standard spiel.
People ask me why this meeting works, here’s my current theory:
- Emotions need to get out.
- We are encouraged not to think about our emotions
- We make an effort, often sub concious, not to think of our emotions.
- We release the tension in other ways - Telling dismissive jokes, fidgeting, thinking.
- Distract: Watch TV, Eat Junk food
- We mute: Booze, Drugs,
- Feelings meetings are different:
- We are encouraged to express emotions
- Those around us are expressing emotions, which stirs ours.
- Tension is forced, through deliberate activities, and blocking normal tension relief valves.
- As tension goes up, the more you need to express your emotions.