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

Activity 3: Sharing in Triads

Part of Spirit of Life

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

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

Preparation for Activity

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

Description of Activity

Tell the group that they will have a structured opportunity to share something about their hopes, dreams, and wished-for "unfurlings." Be clear in your explanation that an "unfurling" of wings can refer to freedom from limitations, but also to the freedom that comes from acceptance of limitations.

Invite participants to form groups of three or form triads yourself. This activity will work best if small group members know and trust one another. If the number of participants in your group is indivisible by three, form pairs as needed.

Ask participants to arrange their seats so that each triad can converse easily. Then, offer these instructions:

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. It is important for the listener to carefully take note of what is said, because s/he will use this information in Activity 4.

When you are holding the space, you hold the good intentions for the group and provide sacred 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.

Initially, 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 five 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. Ring the bell again at five minutes, at ten minutes, and finally at fifteen minutes to end the exercise.