Alumni Advocate Lauren Johnson explains what our program name means to her. Help Conspire continue its classes at the Travis County Correctional Complex by donating here.
Doing the work that she does with Conspire, Kat often talks about rehearsing possibilities. Initially it felt a little silly and dorky however, Kat manages to show people the real life applications.
During the Inside Out workshops that Conspire held there would be a theme each month. Just before the holidays, we explored our perceptions of what the upcoming events would bring in each of our lives. Using the bodies of people in our group, we would arrange people in a pose throughout the room to illustrate what a scene from our holiday typically looked like. We let everyone else in the room observe and comment on what they saw and then we explained our scene. After both groups did that, we then did it again, except this time we had the chance to make things look the way we would want our holidays to be. What our dream get together would look like.
We also played a game that had us gifting each other with imaginary presents. The receiver would become excited and in an improvisational manner make up something odd or interesting that they imagined the gift to be, based on the way it was presented to them. For example one person pulled an imaginary something out of their pocket to give while another seemed to be lugging a gigantic rock into the room.
Another noteworthy exercise we did was to go around the room having conversations. The first time around person A would ask a question and start a dialogue, person B had to answer starting with the sentence “no, but” and then finish the sentence. The second time around was similar except the rebuttal was to be “yes, and” .
Each of these exercises was a blast to do. Of course we discuss them after we have fully explored things. At the end of the first exercise, we discussed things that we could do to transition our holidays from the first scene to the second one. We came up with personal strategies for ways to facilitate these ideas.
It sometimes amazes me how simple things can actually be! Often on television with various issues that people are going through in life they are told to journal. At first thought it sounds like it is too simple to do any sort of real good. But listen to the majority of people who have employed such simple remedies and they will swear by it! So initially when I heard the term “rehearsing possibilities” and the concept behind it I sort of dismissed it. I doubted it could have any potentially powerful effects. Simply playing pretend couldn’t make live situations improve, could it?
I have to tell you that when the actual holiday get together arrived I was stunned! I couldn’t believe how much closer to the second scene our festivities were! It was amazing. Part of me wanted to believe it was just a fluke or coincidental, until I heard similar reports from other participants who were also pleasantly surprised!
Rehearsing that day, I believe we opened our mind to new possibilities of what our reality could be. By improvising gifts and gestures of graciousness we were more prepared to act accordingly in those situations as well. With the “No, But” game we learned that using those sort of words tended to shut down the conversation, whereas the “yes, and” kept the dialogue open and flowing. It does almost seem to simple! Kat has a knack at weaving the complex straw of life into a simple golden reality!
It is easy to see how important it is for people who have lived out bad decisions, people who have gotten stuck in cycles of behavior, need this opportunity to rehearse new ideas to help change their lives! I hope you will support this important work ! Come away knowing lives are being transformed!