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Jim

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Summary of June 3 -- 4 kinds of empathy

Tuesday's group began with a grounding meditation, then people were asked to remember a person they saw in passing during the day and to try to guess their feelings and needs, then notice the impact on themselves as they open to the empathy. We then broke in to pairs to talk about those interactions and get empathy for the experience of opening to other's experience. This was a variation of practising silent empathy and empathy. 

We then had a discussion about the purpose of empathy -- what is it really for? Some great conversation developed, and some of the needs that we identified were: connection and understanding, play, community, belonging, contribution, presence, aliveness and energy.

With that in mind, we took time to write out a basic self-empathy statement (something we were mourning or celebrating, the observation, feelings, needs and requests), broke into groups of two or three and one person shared their own self-empathy out loud, continuing to deepen the self-connection, understanding, etc, while the listener(s) practised silent empathy (not speaking at all, but consciously making needs and feelings guesses while listening). This was a very powerful way to connect and it seemed like there were some surprises about the power of listening with intention.

We briefly touched on the other two kinds of empathy -- 1) actively listening and making verbal feelings and needs guesses or 2) using honest expression with the deliberate intention of showing empathy for the speaker with our sharing. Lots more to explore with this.
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