With everything going on in the world right now, we at Kikori know that it's important to practice appreciation - and to do that, I want to share our appreciation for one of the Appreciation Living Legends - Marilyn Levin.
Marilyn, a fellow Social Worker and University of New Hampshire graduate (!), is a social entrepreneur focused on catalyzing the global transformation that is underway. Marilyn met us through the SINE network and immediately began supporting Kikori as a way to spread experiential education. Since meeting Marilyn, she has consistently brought us joy and helped us to see what is possible in the world.
Marilyn is an award winning activist, a professional speaker and trainer and the author of Experiential Activities for a Better World, a book which delivers the information and inspiration you need to become a catalyst for personal and global transformation. It provides insights, methods, perspectives, tools and over 100 activities for facilitators, teachers, counselors, trainers, and group leaders – anyone who would like to transform injustice and inspire hope and healing in themselves and others. Many of this book's activities have already been featured within Kikori with more coming out every day. She has founded several non-profits and led one of the first global collaborative fundraising challenges including the Rolling on the Floor Laughing Challenge.
Along with sharing about the work that Marilyn Levin has done, I also wanted to share her favorite activity, Touch Someone Who, that is being added to Kikori's activities TODAY. This is one of the most touching (puns are fun - but really!!) activities out there and one which was led at my first Association of Experiential Education (AEE) Therapeutic Adventure Professionals Group (TAPG).
A couple of the Touch Someone Who statements we want to share that directly apply to Marilyn:
This is a bit of an ironic activity, of course, with most of us practicing social distancing to keep all of us safe however we think it's perfect because it represents so many things that Marilyn has always stood for - a reminder that in the future, things will be better and also an incredible mindset on ways that we can make the most of the situation (virtual touching!). We are sharing the activity here through our blog and it can also be found on the Kikori app.
Touch someone who
This activity enables people to express appreciations, increasing connections and sense of respect and caring within a group of people.
Decide ahead of time how many people at a time you will bring into the middle to do the touching and how many statements you will read for each round, based on the size of your group and how much time you have. For example, a group of twenty participants can be divided into four rounds, with five different people “touching” for each round. An easy way to divide a group of people into four groups is to hand out playing cards and then call clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades to stand up for each round.
Consider the following themes and then select the statements that will resonate the most with your particular group. The following are two Possible Activity Introductions to read to your group prior to beginning.
We are now going to engage in an activity that will strengthen your skills in the art of appreciation and acknowledgement. In a culture that gives us extensive training in judgment and criticism, it can change our lives to focus instead on building skills to empower ourselves as well as others. We will almost always have more success when we praise, encourage and inspire others toward their greatness as opposed to criticizing or admonishing them for their shortcomings. During “Touch Someone Who” please relax and remain open to all of the feelings the activity brings up for you.
Social Justice Focus:
We are now going to engage in an activity that will strengthen your skills in the art of appreciation and acknowledgement, one of the most powerful tools that exist, for social transformation. We will almost always have more success when we praise, encourage and inspire others toward their greatness as opposed to criticizing or admonishing them for their shortcomings. Our cultural bias of overvaluing emotional control and undervaluing emotional flow can block us from healing fully from feelings of rage and broken heartedness attached to injustices in the world. This effort to suppress and deny our deepest sorrows ends up blocking our deepest joys and passions and connections to other human beings. During “Touch Someone Who” please relax and remain open to all of the feelings the activity brings up for you. Let yourself be inspired, let yourself be moved, let yourself be open to the courage, the perseverance, and the love that human beings demonstrate in the face of unfathomable challenges.
Start the activity by having participants sit in a circle. Once the activity begins everyone will close their eyes remaining silent. The only exception to this is that participants need to have their eyes open when being selected as a “toucher” for the next round of “Touch Someone”. When called upon to come to the middle of the circle, their job is to listen to the statement being read and touch those people sitting in the circle who come to mind. In other words, the person will touch all those people for whom the statement applies. During each round, those seated in the circle (i.e.“receivers”) are asked to keep their eyes closed, refrain from making sounds, and notice what it feels like to be touched.
Begin the activity with everyone sitting with his or her eyes closed. The facilitator states that he/she will touch some people now and when they are touched they should come to the middle of the circle. Remind everyone that if they are not touched right now to keep their eyes closed and remain seated and quiet. Then read off a statement saying: “Touch someone who...” and fill in the statement “is a good role model.” See the attached list of example statements. Allow time for people in the middle to touch a number of people, and then move to the next statement. After the round has been completed, ask those participants who just provided the touching to return to their seats and close their eyes. Remind others sitting in a circle to keep their eyes closed as well. Then repeat the process by selecting a new group of people to do the touching until all participants have had a chance to be in the middle.
Add your own, anything appropriate or unique to the group and setting!
The following are possible questions to raise during the processing of this activity:
How did that feel for everyone? What was it like? What emotions came up for you? Was anyone surprised by some of the touches they got?
What do you think about the importance of appreciations? Were you a bit more likely to believe the touches were sincere since you couldn’t see the person doing the touching?
What are ways we could create more appreciation in our lives?
In this activity, it is very common for participants to be surprised about the statements for which they were touched. The truth is that everyone is really this amazing and worthy of such feedback. Unfortunately we live in a culture that has us forgetting to show how much we care about each other and how impressed we are with each other. If we learn how to show this care, we can increase our power, our possibilities and our connections to others.
In this activity we are demonstrating one of the most important aspects of humanity, the power of touch. How we can convey just what needs to be conveyed with a hand on a shoulder, or briefly touching the hand of another, or gently grabbing their elbow... such motions can convey SO much, just through a simple touch, we can do so much good.
After large group processing takes place, this activity works well when participants pair up to do a Listening Partnership. Each person would get several minutes to respond to the following statement: “The amazing truth about me and my power to transform the world is...encourage people to sound as much like Gandhi, Mother Teresa or any of their heroes as possible.” Remind participants that the world needs us in touch with our magnificence and unafraid to use it in order to make the world a better place!
Click here to SEE THIS ACTIVITY WITHIN THE KIKORI APP TODAY!
This version created by Marilyn Levin, https://www.marilynlevin.com with contributions from Brian T. Ivory, Ph.D, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have more information regarding the source of this activity, please email us at email@example.com, and we will update!