After a week of discussing boundaries, we move on to a weekly theme of “communication”. How fitting – after examining what our boundaries are and where they lay, to learn how to communicate them with ourselves and the people around us. Improving communication skills is essential in minimizing conflict with those around us. We looked at the topic of communication not only in the resident workshops but also in evening support groups and one on one life coaching sessions.
In one workshop, we examined ways of communicating through stories, poetry and mirroring. We explored the topic of nonverbal communication in every form. Nonverbal communication is the first type of communication we know. As babies, we express our distress through crying and body language, and we learn to read the smiles and facial expressions of our caretakers. In the words of Adam, our life coach and workshop facilitator, “The body never lies, even when our minds do”.
We studied each other, copying others body language and checking in with ourselves to see how each stance or movement made us feel. As we walked behind a fellow community member and tried to move as them, literally following in their footsteps, we tried to notice what our bodies were communicating to us. Afterwards, we shared our experience – did we feel shyer? Pensive? Certain walks felt more confident or even sexy, others relaxed or pensive. We noticed what little movements of our bodies can communicate, from how we hold our head to how far apart our legs are.
During the weekly anxiety support group, we brought up feelings of shame and how they get in the way of human connection. We discussed how to communicate shame and learn to be vulnerable, making way for true empathic communication.
Hugging meditation was especially meaningful during this week, paying particularly close attention to the nonverbal communication expressed through our eyes, our bows, our smiles and our hugs. Breathing in, feeling the body of each hugging partner, trying to notice how one felt as opposed to the previous partner and what information they are trying to send in those moments of physical connection.