Forest of Affirmation

Intro to the Forest of Affirmation

There’s not a lot of room for flattery in deeply joyful community - that’s because it’s all been taken up by genuine and meaningful affirmations. After group members let their guard down and bond with one another, open up about themselves, or stretch past their comfort zone, it’s a caring act to guide them to the Forest of Affirmations. Really, anytime an individual or the group as a whole dares to be a little vulnerable is a good time to hop on over for some affirmations. When individuals take a risk by sharing of themselves, validation in the form of appreciation, celebration, acknowledgement, or simply witnessing reassures the person that it was safe for them to take that risk.

The act of encouraging each other through affirmation is crucial to the growing process of a group. Participants in affirming interactions often feel warm and fuzzy about the group, their individuality and their place in the group. Affirmation games and activities can give people the opportunity to reflect on how much they care about each other and what they appreciate about each other and the group. Some of the activities in this section might be considered “doors” into the forest: good to play as warm ups or in anticipation of deeper or more challenging connection. Some of the activities might be considered intense or even overwhelming for participants, so it’s particularly important to gauge comfort levels and get informed consent for these activities.

The Forest of Affirmation is also a place to celebrate our differences. Some of these games and activities point to how diversity in perspective, generation, race, ethnicity, neurotype, culture, ability, lifestage, gender, sexuality, class, or/and preferences makes the community richer. Other games offer a chance to be each other’s mirror and show people what we see in them that they may not have noticed in themselves. When used as part of a worship, many of these activities can allow participants to access a sense of reverence for one another as sacred beings.

As a facilitator one of your important responsibilities will be to ensure that everyone receives relatively equal amounts of affirmation, which might mean enlisting some community leaders to monitor and contribute as needed.