By Faith Evans and David Markwardt
A column published for Association for Challenge Course Technology
Poet – Danna Faulds
Just as you may keep files of games, energizers, and initiatives, we encourage you to add a file of poems we publish in Poetry Works and keep it handy during programs. The timely reading of a well-chosen, relevant poem can easily set a tone to inspire and encourage participants, or deepen the debriefing experience.
As challenge course practitioners, we regularly invite individuals to step out of their comfort zones. We encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and read a poem, even if you feel vulnerable. At the least, you gain renewed empathy with your participants; at the most, you may have added depth, enrichment, and an outside perspective.
“When we sit here in a circle and grow still, the energy of Spirit fills us. Until we surrender to silence,
we stay on the choppy
surface of the mind.
As the breath grows quiet, we go behind thought, beneath confusion, fear and
doubt. When we sit here in a circle and grow still, the mystery of truth and vastness transforms our separate energies into one heart, one consciousness, one being – present and fulfilled.” - Danna Faulds
from One Soul, Peaceable Kingdom Books, 2003.
Ideas for how to use the poem -
Frequently participants arrive with “choppy minds” and “confusion, fear, and doubt.” Faulds’ poem might be read at the beginning of a challenge course program to get the participants calm and focused. The poem could also be read at the beginning of a debrief which may deepen the conversation. Questions might address, What are you noticing as you listen to your breathing? What are you hearing in the silence?
Faulds’ poem has short lines. No line is longer than five words and no line has more than seven syllables. Faulds has broken up the sentences into short lines to slow the poem down, which mirrors the subject matter. As you read, pause frequently. Read in a calm and quiet voice. Allow for silence. Allow the listeners to sink into the silence. Read more slowly than you may think is necessary. Pause at punctuation and line breaks. Consider reading the poem a second time so everyone really hears it.
Faith Evans, PlayFully, Inc and David Markwardt, Teamwork in Action Director, Santa Fe Community College
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