Hopeful > Secure

Every Thursday night i have Not Forum, my Twin Oaks transparency group.  We are playing with a several different tools and my current favorite is what is being affectionately (and slightly mockingly) being called “The emotional flip”  This is a borrowed from Emotional Brain Training and the first part of it is you cycle thru  more difficult emotions: anger, sadness, guilt and fear.

So for example last night i said

“I am angry that Rainbow and this anti-occupy gathering are happening at the same time so i cant go to both.”

“I am sad i will miss out on the national rainbow gathering with Shal, who i would love to go with.”

“I am afraid this anti-occupy event in Philly will be poorly organized and there wont be enuf people there to network with effectively and the trip will have been a mistake, and then i will be even more sad about not going to rainbow with Shal and company.”*

“I feel guilty that i am prioritizing this political thing over the cultural/fun thing.  i feel like a bad funologist.”

It is often the case the someone will feel combinations of these emotions around some situation, you might list 4 fears before you went onto sadness.  The flow is what ever feels best to the person who is revealing.  And, significantly it does not have to be true (i am oft too earnest in these exercises).  Even contradictory statements are okay like:

“I am sad that everyone hates me”

“I am secure that everyone does not hate me.”

These simple emotional declaratives, ideally spoken like a child would are fabulously revealing, even when (and i would argue especially when) they are liberated from having to be reality based.

The slightly comic part of the evening was when we got to the earned rewards emotions which technically are: happy, proud, grateful and secure.  Secure has a fall back, which is if you dont feel secure about anything, you could feel hopeful about something.

But i think this short sells the importance of hopeful as a stand alone emotional experience.  I am hopeful that there will be transformative change in the way the US operates in my lifetime, i may well never be secure in this, but the hope alone matters to me.  It drives me to do things which i would not do if i were resting comfortably in my securities and happinesses.

So all thru the evening when we were reminding people what the different earned rewards were, the four principal ones would be listed and i would and “hopeful”, sparking some amusement.

* It seems this fear is probably ill founded after talking with a couple organizers they reasonably expect between 50 and 200 people, including people poached from the national Occupy event in town at the same time.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

7 responses to “Hopeful > Secure”

  1. Jason Sharma says :

    I would say you should go to Rainbow, but barring that you might want to consider voting with people who want to travel and see who wants to go where so that you can car pool more efficiently.

  2. marta says :

    fun! EBT on your blog! and — your fear listed above, not so much 6-year old language. i forgot at cross talk to invite you to try that and then ask yourself “and that’s scary because? …. ” a step that can help reveal something .

    i haven’t thought about it much but i maybe the reason hopeful is there just as an aspect/part of “secure” is b/c this practice is largely about developing a healthy intimacy with yourself, and feeling secure for example, that you are loved or that you’re doing the best you can or that you’ll figure something out, is a powerful self-love and self-support thing to touch, and when you can touch not the security of that but the hopefulness of that it’s important and there’s some tenderness in that .. like “i feel hopeful that i will figure this out or i feel hopeful that my partner loves me” etc … but if you can touch feeling secure about it, great, name that shit! celebrate!.

    maybe putting hopeful in there by itself lends us to more abstract thoughts … I guess it comes down to what the intention is of the exercise, if we’re going for a transparency-share then totally that would be neat to hear people’s hopes. if we’re using the “flow of feelings” (aka emotional flop) for the more standard and focused therapeutic value then check for secure and if you’re not quite then say you’re hopeful. i think that’s actually what’s true in your example. you probably would say secure if you could about this, but since you can’t you go for hopeful in your sentence “I am hopeful that there will be transformative change in the way the US operates in my lifetime”. Which isn’t something a 6 year old would (well maybe your 6 year old did) so you might find something in trying to make it less brainy. And there might be a “secure” in there like “i feel secure that i am doing my best to help this happen”

    just some thoughts….

    loving your hopeful self …

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Marta:

      A 6 year old might say “i hope things get better”, which is what i am say, with some greater specificity – this does not stop it from being an emotion, it just makes it slightly more technocratic.

      Paxus at Acorn
      23 Red 2012

      • marta says :

        i agree with you and i want you to say that instead and see how/if it feels different ( i feel hopeful that things will get better) love

  3. marjibar says :

    So fun to revisit this blogpost after our quarantine t-group last night! haha there i went in 2012 coaching your ebt tools. the other thing, that we didn’t name here is that in the neuroscience that ebt is based, the order of the emotions matter. again, if you’re just sharing like “one mind” to reveal to others in your group – it might not matter. if you are cycling through the flow to “fan out the emotions” and move your brain state from one of slightly-stressed to more peace and joy, then it might make a difference.
    For example – you can feel that after naming a few angry’s, you start to slide into feeling sads…and from there into afraids….and then last, guilty. Similar on the other side, and I think you can notice an emotion pulling to be next, like how happys started to shift into gratefuls last night before we officially ‘switched’… and then secure comes before proud… the previous ones lay the groundwork for touching pride. one school of thought, so absolutes. and i want to credit/honor the research and wisdom that went into creating the tool. I LOVE YOU!

    • paxus says :

      Yes, the emotions slide into each other. I should study the EBT more so we can tweak this tool which we have changed significantly since we started using it, specifically it is now much more group building rather than individual harmonizing.

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