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Very well, in a number of ways, all of which help people feel comfortable and welcome, including (but not limited to):
• Affect and tone. Very warm and welcoming. Engaging. Pleasant. Some humor evident just under the surface, poised to pop out. Generosity with one’s laughter is a lovely trait.
• Good going straight to group to encourage and engage them in providing input. Sets the right expectation for the course (and each session)
• Did well affirming participant input by feeding it back to them, enclosed in a little bigger nugget of a CIT skill or concept
• Good reinforcement of the point of the Skill 1 tools: getting back into and expanding our RZs, which provides tools for helping participants create their own safer space.
• Excellent work posting links to practices and other resources, along with a reminder to bookmark sites. People feel valued when they are provided with the information they need.
• Sharing your own experience with the Resilient Zone (RZ) and seeing yourself from an objective perspective and moving out of the RZ is a way to engage authentically. Shared experiences create a sense of safety.
• Demonstrated great teamwork. Respect and appreciation for our co-facilitator(s) contributes to a sense of safer space.
Worked very well with Trinidad, both reminding participants of confidentiality, promoting a safe space. Rossy then invited particpants to share personal experiences during the last week that involved use of Skill 1 elements. She followed by inviting folks to share any formal activities…..all setting the tone of a safe space.
• Great going to the group for the angel/devil slide, including the time spent there. Created enough space to allow that slide to do its “magic” to spark participant input.
Used the first three PPT slides well to introduce Skill 2. Would have been a little better if she had spent more time connecting Skill 1 in a way that would indicate Skill 2 as logical next skill to learn --- Skill 1 – focus on the body; Skill 2 – focus on the mind.
• Good overview of group activity instructions and very good work repeating the question about interference to the expression of Ethical Mindfulness (it’s very long) and then great work reflecting participants’ input.
• Great set up of counting thoughts activity, including what constitutes a “thought” and making sure to give them time to get a pen and paper (another safer space point ;0)
• Great debrief, with good pivots when participants didn’t jump right in after being asked questions, which is hard to do when we feel left hanging instead of feeling comfortable with the silence.
Rossy explained Breakout (Slide 9 - skits) activity well, followed by RW and MD (Slide 10). The latter two were a little confusing. She explained RW well, then proceeded on to next Group Activity (Slide11) then abruptly returned to guidelines for MD, not actually explaining the questions for MD exercise. The Group activity (counting thoughts) was in prep for "Taming the Mind" and I don't think the connection was made quite as clear as it could have been.
• Good job with using the phrase “just let go and let it flow” as part of the instructions for the RW.
• Good description of MD, including how we can benefit from it. Good overview and elaboration of MD instructions, including page number.
• Very nice wrap-up that included a sense of safer space by saying that facilitators also learn from participant sharing.
• Seemed to have a good sense of timing and when it was time to move on. This is a most helpful skill to have and develop.
• Good recap of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) from Skill 2; really liked “fight/flight, rest/digest” (and love it when consideration is also given to “freeze,” so I’m putting in a plug for you to consider that addition in the future)
• Referred back to Skill 2 tools with good acknowledgement of Elaine Miller-Karas as the originator of the Resilient Zone (RZ) material.
• Great reminder that the RZ is not nirvana or our comfort zone; hugely important.
• Good work letting questions and discussions flow, without really trying to impose your answers.
• Used a very good metaphor, comparing getting to the edges of our RZ to a smoke detector going off (and would probably have been excellent if you had made the comparison to the Autonomic Nervous System, perhaps specifically to the limbic system, represented by the thumb in the hand model of the brain).
• Good going to group for their input after the Stability and Clarity slide, providing great affirmation and elaboration of what they shared, and a good summary of their meaning and relationship to one another.
• Overall, relevant, appropriate, authentic and effective sharing of personal stories, using very good segues to get to them.
• Demonstrated good familiarity with content.
• Opened and closed session with safety and gratitude; great bookending for reinforcing safer space and sense of community within the group.
I thought Rossy did a great job with introducing the Skill with the three intro slides. She worked exceptionally well with her co-facilitator, Trinidad.
• Good setup of Contemplative Practice (CP) and good going to the group for their input on distractibility, which also added to the sense of safety based on mutual/shared challenges with mindfulness during CP (in other words, nobody starts out that great at it).
Rossy introduced the Skill early on with a CP, which was nice. Not sure participants who are not familiar with meditations would be ready for a CP at this point in CIT. It would have been better to delay any CP until after the entire Skill 2 was presented.
• Check-in could have been less about how they had done the previous week in general, and more focused on how they had utilized (or could have utilized) CIT skills in their lives the previous week (but fellow FITs picked up the CIT pieces and ran with them)
• Left out “freeze” as one of the ANS functions
• The opening practice was too directive in terms of telling them where to focus their attention (this was only Skill 2 and we don’t get to the idea/skill of directing their attention to a specific object of focus/body part until later in the PPt/session). This is better done as an invitation: “If you wish, you may bring your focus to your feet or some other place you’re connected to a supporting surface – or not direct people to body parts but rather to aspects of tracking, resourcing, and/or grounding.
• Sidestepped a participant question about mindfulness a bit; better to be direct and say that CIT’s definition of mindfulness is not like other definitions found in popular culture (for instance, Zinn’s or Brach’s). In case it’s helpful, if it’s ever an issue, I like to use Brené Brown (a “celebrity” US researcher, who has done work in shame, wholeheartedness, and in a sense, resilience), who often talks about “defining our terms” as being part of what science and systems do – and the definitions don’t always match. Her definition of empathy is likely to be a bit different from CIT’s, for instance).
• Sharing an example of a Heedfulness/Mindfulness/Awareness skit for the group activity would have made your instructions even more understandable and applicable.
• For Reflective Writing/Mindful Dialogue, need to include the instruction that what we write in RW need not be shared in MD. It’s up to each participant. Can share same or similar info, or pass. That needs to be in the instructions.
• Based on the momentary deep silence following your first debrief question on the counting thoughts activity, it might have been better to start with a question about attention wandering (however, that could have been because of the “cold start” they had because they hadn’t actually answered the question about the number of thoughts they’d had).
• A little “bobble” happened after the handoff from Trini for the Stability and Clarity slide; took a bit more time than was available by that point.
• In general, tightening up the information would help with having enough time to get through all the material.
I think more attention to transition statements between slides / elements and explanations would make the presentation clearer and more likely lead to "Aha" moments. For example, first three slides emphasizing Skill 1 about the body and Skill 2 the mind, leading to right speech and action.