Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit of Life: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Spirituality

Activity 7: Sharing in Groups of Three

Part of Spirit of Life

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Bell
  • Clock, watch, or timer that shows seconds

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide how to form triads in your group. Determine whether you will have participants number off or form their own groups.

Description of Activity

Tell the group they will have an opportunity to share their stories about their own experiences of wonder, reverence, and the Spirit of Life.

Invite participants to form groups of three, preferably with people whom they do not yet know well. If the number of participants is not divisible by three, form pairs as needed.

Then, offer these instructions:

For this exercise, each person in your group will have a turn at each of three roles: speaker, listener, and holder of the space.

When you are the speaker, it takes courage to speak from your depths to another person. You choose what, and how much, you want to share. True, honest speaking creates community and strengthens you in being true to who you are.

Listening is a way of showing respect and care for another. Listening is a way to learn and grow. Listening creates community. Listening without interruption and with attention takes concentration and effort.

When you are holding the space, you hold the good intentions for the group and provide witness to the sharing between speaker and listener. As you hold the space, you want the best for the time. You want safety and compassion. You want truth to be spoken, and heard. When you are holding the space, you give your attention and support to the speaker, to the listener, to the process, and to the relationships it creates. One woman said that holding the space is like being in the same room with her two children when they are having a conversation. She is not part of the conversation, but she wants so much for the conversation to go well.

Each person will have five minutes to speak. When it is your turn to speak, you might begin by taking a deep breath. Speak the essence of what you have to say. Take all the time given to you. Not less, so as not to show up. Not more, so as to take away from someone else's presence in the group. You might think you've said all you have to say, but if your minutes are not up, you can pause quietly, breathe, and perhaps get in touch with something more to share.

Invite each triad to determine the order in which they will rotate the three roles. Participants who are paired will each take a turn as speaker and listener.

Tell the group you will ring the bell to begin the exercise and at five-minute intervals so they can switch roles. Ring the bell, and watch the clock.

When all have shared, tell participants they will have two minutes to reflect on the exercise within their triads or pairs. Ask each triad or pair to allocate the time evenly, on their own, so that everyone has the same amount of time to speak and to listen. Offer this question to guide triads and pairs in reflection:

  • How was this experience for you? What did you notice?

Begin and end the two-minute period by ringing the bell. Bring the whole group back together, and invite brief responses to these questions:

  • What was it like to hear about others' experiences of wonder, reverence, or the Spirit of Life?
  • What was it like to share your own?
  • What will you carry with you from this experience of sharing?

Tell the group:

The triad sharing you have completed introduces some practices that many consider spiritual: To speak the truth in love, to listen as a way of showing respect and care, to hold good intentions for a group, and to witness to sacred possibilities in a moment of human interaction.