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.