We are grateful to the collaborative artists who lend their gifts and expertise, time and energy, fine instincts and sense-abilities to our multi-media learning tool production process and results.*
ELSOTA!: Emotion Literacy School ON THE AIR
ELSOTA! Credits Executive Producer, Script
Pamela Sackett Technical Director, Original Music
Guy Nelson ELSOTA! Series Cast (in order of appearance) Guy Nelson as “The Announcer” Fredrick Molitch as “Freddy” Pamela Sackett as “Pamela” Sue Ellen Katz as “Francie” and “Roz” David Silverman as “Elliott Glazer”
The Full Spectrum Birthday Song
& producer:Pamela Sackett CD cover illustration: Mark Magill Sound engineering, CD design
& photo: Daniel Sackett Sound effects, engineering:
Ovation “…for the audience of you inside.”
& producer:Pamela Sackett Instrumentals & sound effects :
Guy Nelson Sound engineering & photos:
Daniel Sackett CD cover illustration: Mark Magill CD design: Tina Hottovy
Pink “…for the knowing you inside.”
& producer:Pamela Sackett Instrumentals: Guy Nelson Sound engineering & CD design:
Daniel Sackett CD cover photo “The Visionary”: Mark Magill
The Ducks & Us Song a musical interlude with wildlife, feelings and food Story Characters, Vocals Pamela Sackett: “narrator” Northwest Boychoir: vocals Timothy Piggee: “Lou” Michael Loggins: “Chas” Teresa Clark: “Claire” Elisabeth Williams: “Kate” Maggie Holmes: Kate’s ‘ahem‘
Production Pamela Sackett: composer, rhythm guitar, design concepts Guy Nelson: Boychoir recording engineer, flute Kenyon Curtiss: synthesizers, strings Daniel Sackett: recording engineer, graphics, editorial Ben Kromholtz: choral arrangement, Boychoir conductor Mark Magill: graphics consultation
“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”
~ M. Scott Peck
I would like to sing a beautiful song
if I could
so beautiful, I’d sing it all day long
perhaps I should
oh-oh-oh how fun it would be
specially if you’d all sing with me
I would like to fly all over the world
and radiate my glow
fly so high the whole world would see it show from head to toe
oh-oh-oh how fun it would be
specially if you’d all fly with me
but I’ve got survivor’s guilt, I’ve got it bad
learned from a very young age to hide my joy amidst the sad
now there’s a man over there
cardboard sign and a shell-shock stare
I want to give him some food
can’t tell if he’s able to chew
there’s a child inches away, suffering injustice everyday
something I can’t erase, so I erase myself
I would like to board the everything cause
but I haven’t the fare
so I set my course on deflate and despair
then go nowhere
isn’t that what I’m supposed to do—
just read the paper and listen to the news?!
I would like to grow a garden of charms with loving arms ridiculous to reach
for an antidote to harm
isn’t that what I’m supposed to think—
we’re on a boat destined to sink
I’ve got this overwhelm pinch
got to learn the ways of the sacred inch
got to take out the trash
need some choice
beyond win or lose—
bear down, beat down
or muster through
got to keep up on the current clash
got to soothe my lifelong identity gash
got to figure out a way to be myself no matter what you say
got to see myself as you and keep my separate selfhood too—
it’s all true
I would like all things to be accurate and fair
but human routes don’t fit that neatly inside a square
isn’t there a passageway for a pure desire to hold universal sway
I would like to host a healthy and wholesome fight
with moves that dare embrace both sides into the light
isn’t there a full-spectrum chance
to fall into an earth-wide romance
how to cope with this messy morass
how to keep my heart open
when you close your own fast
how to face discomfort with ease
I wish one song could do the deed
culture the notes in the ultimate key
open up room for the you, the me and the we
I would like to sing a beautiful song
if I could
so beautiful I’d sing it all day long perhaps I should
oh-oh-oh how fun it would be
specially if you’d all sing with me…
Study questions for reflection, writing & discussion
Describe three times you advocated for something in which you strongly believed and the results. In what ways did the results, internally and externally, influence your perspective or your sense of yourself in relation to the thing for which you were advocating.
Have you ever advocated for your feelings? Describe the environment within which you feel safe enough to disclose your feelings and needs? Recall a time when you were not aware of your feelings in one setting but became aware of them in another setting.
Describe those settings and the ways they influence your awareness level? In what ways does advocating for a cause differ from and resemble advocating for your feelings? Please explain.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
~ E.E. Cummings
The following comment was excerpted, with permission, from a seven-page letter, sent to Pamela, written by John Elliott in response to “Passageway” song:
“…and it is a song I have been singing all day long for several days. And this reply to it is the revelations it has lead me through, culminating today in this letter.
All day at work the last two days the melody has woven its way through my awareness: especially those initial words “I would like to sing a beautiful song” contrasted with “survivor’s guilt.” Without that contrast I would never have taken this journey through your words and music. It would have washed over me and dissipated. Instead, it has become a vital part of my life and my awareness.
I think that those two overwhelming words (the concept) “survivor’s guilt” are possibly the most powerful door you could have put there, as the wholeness of the message of your song suddenly starts to become clear. Painfully clear. Just giving examples–as you do later in the song–would not have done the trick of awakening my heart to hear this song. But the idea of survivor’s guilt IS the concept that embodies all those examples to come. The concept gets me, as a listener, to explore that part of me before the song gives its own examples; I am there and not only ready to hear the examples you give but to empathize with them with immediacy.
Thank you for sharing this song with me. I have now heard it half a dozen times, printed out the lyrics and next listening I will follow along with the words–because seeing them allows me a whole new depth and breadth of understanding that hearing-only cannot do.
And thank you for allowing me the point of departure to write all I have above and arrive here. Here is a lot closer to where I am headed. Thank you for this part of my journey.”
In a world where survival instincts preside, a parallel universe resides. Are-you-food-or-am-I-food black and white thinking spins practically on its own. Reflective, nuance-capable, gray-friendly thought reaps wondrous ripples as long as you practice throwing those
I have an intimate relationship with defense as motis operandi. I am not slow to apprehensiveness and given a wealth of causes for alarm, atop my safety-hampered history, caution is quite reasonable. But, when my un-checked imagination runs amok, fear keeps me stuck.
As all things grow from a tiny seed, my stance, my starting point, can, in part, be birthed and bolstered by my own sense of what’s possible, what I envision or recall, elect or believe, create or concede.
Where a whisper of perception and choice meets or averts a preemptive scream, I ask myself, in
Which part do I want to play, now and here: love or fear?
how ’bout love, every day, I say: love, in every way…
love as a frame
love as an aim
love as a teeter-totter
a salve for fear, disappointment and shame
love as punctuator
love as a base
love as actuator
love as taste
love as host
love as a meal
love as key
to open what you feel
love as telescope
love as air
love as the rule
not the exception
love as question
love as doubt
love as a traveler
exploring all about
love as temperature
a constant beat
love as a feat
love as a maze, love as a mountain, love as a freely accessible
love as protection
love as witness
love as a work-out for emotional
love as a friend
not yet named
love as our wild essence
never to be tamed
love as a sign, in a sea of trouble
a messenger that
on the double
love as confection
love as need
love that grows
prolific as a weed
love as recognition in a strange land, love as ignition
love as a hand, love as your very own community band
love as a stride, love far and wide, love as a fierce and gentle tide
love as the earth, handled with constant care
love as currency, always shared
love as vision, clear as a bell
love as wisdom, deep as a well
love as hurt that knows how
love always out, never concealed
love as sky through a canopy of trees
love as you like
love as you please
love as stubborn as a decree
love as a look, an endless book
that reads you
The Full Spectrum Birthday Song captures the essence of feeling-friendliness in a narrative that springboards from the topic of birthdays, a dynamic time that stirs all manner of feeling. This musical learning tool is an invitation to celebrate all feelings every year, every day, every moment.
The Full Spectrum Birthday Song was first launched for partnerships between Emotion Literacy Advocates and twenty-three social service agencies in Oregon, Idaho and Washington. Through these agencies, ELA’s song found integral application in multiple settings, for those working with children, parents and teachers. 8,000 CDs were requested and provided by generous ELA program sponsors included in the list shown here.
Read more about this traveling innovation in community education-as-gift here.
Just as a point of information, I reviewed the CD for the family partnership program in my car on the way to an event, my nine-year old grandson (who I am raising) loves it! He can listen to it over and over again for, literally, hours…thanks so much for your generosity. —Linda Miner, Family Support Partnership Supervisor @
Tacoma/Pierce County WA State Health Department (requested and received 600 CDs)
The Full Spectrum Birthday Song CDs were sent out to (325) families and community partners (with their quarterly newsletter). I wanted you to see the e-mail from Kelly DeLany, Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center Program Manager. The responses have been so positive. Thank you! —Audrey Riggs, Oregon Department of Human Services’ Child Welfare Supervisor
We just received the latest edition of Kidbits with the lovely enclosed CD. I’m playing it now over and over… I found The Full Spectrum Birthday Song laughter-inspiring and intriguing and it certainly covered the full range of birth feelings. I personally plan to play it at our next family birthday event and make it a ‘full-spectrum celebration’. I have asked Jennifer Ricks to consider including it in her Positive Parenting training. —Kelly DeLany, Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center Program Manager
I gave out the CDs to most of my families last month. This month I am asking if the children enjoyed listening to the CD. So far, it has been a positive hit with the children. They want to listen to it several times over. This CD is introducing vocabulary and is building self esteem—making the children feel good about themselves…both child and parent listen to the CD together, this also gives the parent some tools of how they may talk to their child. Thank you for sharing your CD with so many families of young children. —Sue Rogge, Family Support Partnership Program @ Tacoma/Pierce County WA State Health Department
The Full Spectrum Birthday Song (or Why Just Happy?) will be a great asset to any wish granted here. These (CD’s) will be given to children whose birthdays fall on the day of their wish as a ‘wish perk.’ We listened to the CD and found it very innovative and inspirational. —Alyssa Chrobuck, Make a Wish Foundation
Pamela Sackett’s Full Spectrum Birthday Song is a wonderful song of celebration—not just of one’s birthday, but of one’s range of emotional expression, abilities & possibilities. We acknowledge and honor children’s feelings and encourage them to express their feelings—that it’s ‘OK’ to feel happy, sad, angry, etc. Pamela’s Full Spectrum Birthday Song communicates these same values in a creative, musical and thoughtful way! —Randy McCoy, Director of Curriculum, The Little Gym International
You did good…The Full Spectrum Birthday Song CDs work really well in several of our classes and we’ve shared them with other agencies that serve parents! —Nancy Klahn, RN, MHA/MBA, Parent Enhancement Program
We hand out The Full Spectrum Birthday Song CDs at classes as part of our curriculum. Children are learning the song, moving to it and playing instruments with it. —Denise Mimura, Executive Director, Arts in Motion (music programs offered to all incomes in south end Seattle public schools)
The Full Spectrum Birthday Song is fresh and brings so much more to the meaning of celebrating birthdays. The song and music are a real work of art. Much soul and inspiration for celebrating all of life comes through even in just that two minute sample online. —Georgene DeWald, Certified Professional Coach
Pamela’s song reminds us of so many possibilities…let The Full Spectrum Birthday Song become the new tradition. —Arlene Plevin, Ph.D, author/professor
My three and a half year-old daughter loved the imagery in The Full Spectrum Birthday Song and requested we play ‘that other birthday song’ again…why settle for ‘happy’? The Full Spectrum Birthday Song encourages exploration of all manner of birthday sentiments. —Collen Laing, public affairs consultant
Birthdays are a time when we celebrate the passing of a year and the beginning of a new one. Each year has it’s ups and downs and in the acceptance and appreciation of these fluctuations, we find the immensity and deep meaning and joy of life. Pamela’s song asks why just a ‘happy’ birthday? Why not celebrate and love the whole reality of living? It’s a simple song, humorous and one with a message as profound as the ages. —Dan Richman, Seattle Public School teacher
Emotion Literacy Advocates (ELA) has had many exciting developments since we produced The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie, including a sequence of bookings on sixteen cinema screens, an award from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in support of a four-month Washington state tour and an in-kind contribution of services from Deluxe in Los Angeles which means we were able to provide 35mm prints to each partnering movie house!
According to Still Hope Productions founder John F. Williams, fellow film-maker and festival attendee, The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie was the festival darling inspiring laughter and a large amount of applause.
Let’s hear it for our participating ducks, humans and our contributing artists:
More info can be found right here on this blog about the flow of events for this learning tool here and here.
What a fascinating project and such a new take on an old issue. I’ve seen all kinds of tactics attempted: flyers, brochures, signs, but never a song! I really appreciate the effort you’ve made on such an awful issue. The song was dead on with so many aspects of the problem…really a great job! —Michele Goodman, Webbed Foot Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (Goodman’s quoted in AP article on duck feeding damage called “angel wing.“)
This is an interesting project that helps get the message out in a different way about why it’s not okay to feed ducks and geese. Most people are not aware of the problems associated with this common activity occurring in many of our parks and other waterfowl use areas. —Don Kraege, Waterfowl Section Manager, WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
This song reminds me of many songs I listened to and sang as a young child and the fact that I still remember those songs and have fond memories of singing them speaks to the power of singing as a learning tool for young children. I think that the questions are very appropriate and I especially like the attention to the belief systems and personal motivations that are informing each character’s decision. —Liz Silvestrini, Education Coordinator, Sustainable Seattle
I am really impressed! You call this a song but I think it’s more like a one-act operetta—it’s a whole story that covers a lot of ground. You brought up issues in a way that allows people to make their own decisions. —Belinda Chin, Education Supervisor, Seattle Parks and Recreation
The Ducks and Us learning tool connects the arts, youth, and ecology in an innovative and exciting way to bring an important message about the devastating affects that ‘people’ food can have on our bird population. It would be great if this awesome song became a ‘standard’ song kids grow up singing… —Heidi Narte, Senior Gardener, SE District Seattle Parks and Recreation
As I rove and contact the public at Carkeek, Magnuson, Golden Gardens, and Meadowbrook Ponds, I encounter Chases and Claires all the time. The Ducks & Us is sensitive to people needs and emotional ties to nature and clearly addresses the sensitivities of behavior change for urban humans. —Brian Gay, Naturalist, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Author Puts Emotions in Motion Have you ever had a feeling you couldn’t put into words — some roiling emotion begging for expression? Has fear ever kept you silent? You might be interested to hear from Pamela Sackett, the Seattle author, playwright and artist who will be reading from her new memoir, “Saving the World Solo” at The Elliott Bay Book Co.
Sackett is involved with a group called Emotion Literacy Advocates, using her words in compelling fashion — to entertain and teach about the essential role language plays in relationship to feelings and behavior in schools, on stages and beyond. —Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2004
Excerpt from Saving the World Solo book introduction
…as a lover of language, I was awed by (Pamela’s) ability to manipulate and revel in words—to play with their multilayered meanings and their rhythm, to make them completely her own tools to express precise perceptions and nuanced tones of feeling. But beyond the word-dance, it was the content of the pieces that held me transfixed: Pamela Sackett was expressing the meta-mental and emotional process of the Strong Idealist who is burdened with a legacy of personal self-doubt and fear,living in a world that is structured at so many levels to foster and maintain that self-doubt and fear…
…Pamela demonstrated great vulnerability and sincere bravery as she wove pieces of her life story around her conviction to reach for personal and planetary emotional health, in the midst of navigating her own deep wounds, and ours. I wondered how many other people in the audience felt like she was telling their stories out loud, articulating their own idealism and self-limitation.
I know I did. Having dedicated my life to “accountability,” at all levels, working as a professional activist and as a personal activist, examining and rooting out my own patterns of limitation that interfere with my ability to be my strongest, most liberated self, Pamela’s words were like a mirror reflecting my own greatest hopes and darkest secrets.
It became immediately clear to me that Pamela’s richly textured work was just that—her work, her calling, her reason for being on this earth. To use language to bear witness to where we are locked up as a society and as individuals, and to do so by using herself as the primary specimen under the microscope. In doing so, she gives us several gifts.
First, the gift of naming and shaping our greatest potential: the freedom to be emotionally authentic.
Second, the gift of exposing the greatest obstacle to that freedom: our fear of vulnerability in being emotionally authentic, and the lengths we will go, because of that fear, to avoid our own authenticity and freedom.
Finally, she shows us a path to our greatest potential: to examine the fear and learn the forms it takes; to then listen to the still voice inside that is already authentic and free; and to amplify that voice by sharing it. —Dana Gold continues to work with the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and served as director of the Center on Corporations, Law & Society at Seattle University School of Law
Pamela uses everyday language in a vital and innovative way…high quality stuff, redefining the human. —Rich Reha, gallery owner
I had the privilege of hearing Pamela’s performance and enjoyed it enormously. She displays subtle humor effectively with an originality that made her message most meaningful. I confidently recommend this program. —Bob Wilson, former Rotary District Governor
Pamela is a gifted stream of consciousness writer—a creative catalyst replete with screaming clarity! —Joanne Wright, board advisor, Women Business Owners
I attended this event because I thought/hoped Pamela would have a paradigm-breaking use of words … she did. She is amazing, touching, honest, funny, but yet beyond and deeper than my own words are saying here … timing, voice, deep, funny both ‘ha-ha’ and deeply real … I could listen and be awakened by you for hours, days… —Jordana P. Smith, Portland, Oregon
Speak of the Ghost: In the Name of Emotion Literacy is a series of seventy-eight finely detailed narrative poems and a comprehensive introduction. The book’s primary intent is to support individuals moving through family of origin issues by providing witness, prompts for stages of the journey, insight and encouragement.
A work of creative non-fiction, the book also serves group facilitators working in therapeutic and educational settings.
Speak of the Ghost fan letter excerpt
Hello Ms. Sackett…your name was entirely new to me…when I sampled some paragraphs from your book, I was quickly struck by the directness of expression, the clarity of detail and tone, the sense that you are reporting on real defeats, struggles and victories; the complementarity of inside and outside, of personal and social; the sharp challenges, the shocks of recognizing accustomed and perverted priorities; the both visceral and conceptual responses; the voices of self, selves, and self-alienation; the radical changes of recovery, the sweetness of healing and self-integration; and other content and characteristics I am still struggling to name. Most important, the conviction that they all are fruits of a hard-won knowledge and integrity.
Such an integrity is part of my goal also.
I was stunned. The book quickly became necessary (one of my conditions of purchase), and it captivated me for several hours…
…I look forward to learning more about your methods of using language as a tool for recovery. And even without understanding your methods, your work is encouraging. Hurrah! Thanks… —Anonymous
Take a look at Pamela’s book and you will find everyone on trial, caught and transformed. I loved those poems. —Arnold Mindell, Ph.D. author of The Leader as Martial Artist
Pamela’s words and feelings are mine. She went into that place in me where they had been hidden for so long and gave permission for them to finally come out. Her work is a gift to me because it gives so much permission and validation. —Bayla Greenspoon, early childhood educator, teacher on anti-bias, multicultural issues
This book is a primer for the reality of emotion, makes it tangible. Reaches the part of me that sees without my eyes—-my whole being—-every cell of my body has eyes when Pamela speaks. —Taylor Danard, M.A. Psychotherapist
…tapped my losses from childhood forgotten, that men don’t talk about in our culture…tapped somewhere in me, untied a knot in me long buried. —Barry Schiess, landscape artist
Her collection of poems and writings contain strong emotion, clear insight and models ways for each reader to emulate as we fight clear of the hurts of the past. —Earl Rice, Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, Seattle
Your words went directly to my emotional body. As I listened to you, I heard the truth of my own story, uttered with such passion and wit. My body literally tingled. I felt shivers as the wave of realization rippled through me. Thank you for putting words to my experiences. I feel more deeply empowered to utter my own story now. —Elliott Bay Book Company reading audience member
What an absolute pleasure. Your language drew me in, made me ponder. I thank you for that. Several of your pieces are meant for several of my clients, and me, and my husband! —Seattle Counselors Association member
Having also been born into a family where emotional repression was the key to survival, I was quite moved by many of your pieces. I was also very heartened by the commonalty of experience and the hope, willingness and insistence on active change towards emotion literacy. As a researcher in domestic violence and as a survivor, I wholeheartedly recognize and acknowledge the need, and thank you for your courage. —Mary Kernic, epidemiologist in training
Your book has been an unspeakable asset to both myself and my best friend who is in the midst of recovery… —Seattle University psychology student
It helped me to re-establish the importance of my writing and among many other things, being a witness to children. —Anonymous
Like every offspring, Speak of the Ghost came with its own set of gifts and demands. Mere minutes after an east coast truck delivered the finished book to my door, I received a call from Kevin Krycka, Seattle University’s (then) graduate psychology program director letting me know he elected to put the book on a required reading list and integrate my live, dramatic presentations into three psychology curricula.
Placing such a personal work into such a public format heightened my sense of risk and fear of scrutiny, punctuating the essence of why I needed to write the book in the first place–to retrieve my own sense of authority and to exercise my ability to stand by it, no matter how this work might be publicly perceived.
Engaging in that struggle through the writing and delivering of Ghost influenced my direction, personally, as an artist, forever, and seeded the founding of Emotion Literacy Advocates. I am grateful to all those who let me know they appreciate the chance I continue to take, years hence, with comparatively microscopic hesitation. —Pamela Sackett
In Booing Death, Pamela manages to find tender humor in this subject that is too often not even spoken about. It creates an opening that I find very refreshing. As a drama therapist and teacher of emerging therapists I have utilized several essays and poems from Booing Death to help students focus on the various issues included in grief. We have found that her way of ‘getting in the corners’ of those issues inspires embodied activities that are central to our healing art. —Bobbi Kidder, MA, RDT/BCT
In reading your book, Booing Death, I am reminded of my husband’s passing over eight years ago. When he died, I received at least twenty-five books about grief. They were either delivered to me at my door or mailed. Also there were recommended readings via phone or email. All from our dear friends. Yet, not a one spoke to me. I admit I didn’t feel an urge to pick one up. I am positive that if I’d received Booing Death eight years ago, I would have been curious, drawn to open it.
I have found it necessary to consciously stop, put your writings aside, and be still. This is so I can have a moment to relish each experience you describe, each intimate poetic brilliancy you have willingly shared, with me—yes, your work is so very personal—and in part, a replica of my own story. I read your riveting awarenesses over and over, Ms. Sackett, for when I do, it appears as if I am reading a profound page all anew.
With gratitude beyond words, thank you. —Rebecca Love, M.A.
… beautiful, gut wrenching and comforting all put together! —Julie Daniels, actress, writer, M.F.A.
An uncompromising work of absolute emotional authenticity.
It’s not a self-help book (thank goodness); it doesn’t offer solutions (what solutions are there?), but after reading it I felt neither depressed nor fearful. I felt uplifted in a quiet way; I’d been made more aware of connections to other people.
This book is incredible, a salve and a bridge, takes me places I need to go!
—Pre-publication reader comments
Fall semester of 2013, Christina Roux, language arts teacher at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, decided to make Booing Death her honors credit “Book Seminar” course selection. Nineteen students finished the course which included the purchase and reading of the book, attending one of Pamela’s author events in Seattle, journaling, responding to the study guide for Booing Death and discussing the material together in the class that Pamela was invited to visit.
Here are a few student comments about Booing Death:
I decided to sign up for (the course) because (death) is a topic that is not very common in literature, especially when discussed so candidly and up front… and because of the death of my mom’s parents. It really affected our family and I was interested to hear other points of view on death.
…death is never really talked about in a relatable way but in Booing Death it was very understandable.
[I chose Booing Death] because I have had a family member pass away and I was curious how other people dealt with the same pain…because I have an interest in short stories and poems. I like to write them so I figured this would be a great opportunity to learn.
I found the cover of the book intriguing and I wanted to learn what it meant…I lost a friend last June and thought this book might give me more insight to the idea of death…so cleverly written…so relatable…this poem put all my thoughts into writing and made it easier to organize my ideas about this…the book really helped me…Half Green moved me quite a bit.
I didn’t really think much of this line when I first saw it but I re-read the poem…made me wonder why I didn’t get that clarity in my own life.
I found the poems Encore, Fixed and What If really opened up my emotions and made me realize what exactly I was feeling and thinking about after a grieving loss.
Before I thought death was a very strict and dangerous topic to talk about…I then realized because I was afraid of thinking about death is part of the reason why I feel that death is such a hard thing to overcome.
[Where The Sun Won’t Shine] was particularly significant to me because it made me think about life more than death.
…words described exactly how I have felt before…at the time, I was at a loss of words to explain but the author surely wraps up the right words to form a very well-said sentence…the author yet again explains how I (and she) feel perfectly…summed it up for me…evocative of my own life…led me to think in a new way about death, loss, grief and emotions/feelings…gave me a more peaceful image…gave me a different perspective.
…opened doors for me to understand grief…made me understand death on a deeper level…
No one in my life has died but I have experienced friends disappearing out of my life…
…each stanza was so different and so beautiful… (reference to ‘Almighty Cul-De-Sac’)
First Understand Emotion Literacy Advocates’ primary motivation is to understand emotion—an often misunderstood aspect of the human condition. The ability to translate emotion affords us the opportunity to know feelings and their constellation of soft (non-physical) needs, memories and associations.
Full-Spectrum Feelings Allfeelings are “friends,” helping us bloom in the growing knowledge of ourselves and each other. Feelings are like letters in the alphabet; each one is required to speak the language. We benefit by appreciating the capacity to feel, the awareness of feelings and the story they tell.
Communication Words, thoughts, beliefs and expressions can lock or open a door;words do not tell the whole story; meaning lives between the lines. Given our need to connect and comprehend, it is essential to aim for congruency between feelings, needs, behavior and words.
Mutual Inclusivity Feelings and needs—amongst individuals and between groups—co-exist, albeit often worlds apart. Core feelings and needs are a truth worth discovering, no matter how diametrically opposed or seemingly nonsensical their expression.The ability to perceive and to hold contradictory elements allows understanding to deepen.
Freedom Emotion literacy advocates practice translating their own emotions and behavior thereby earning the freedom to know feelings and recognize needs in progressively clear ways.
Responsibility Given the primary neural imperative—to survive—and given memories of past difficulties, patterns and fears, we are susceptible to constrained thinking and disavowed feelings which, when not recognized, can result in scapegoating, bullying, self-injury and other reflexive behaviors. If we are unable to immediately respond in accordance with our ideals, we can create a closer alignment, when resilient and privileged with a second chance.
Vulnerability We must accept vulnerability in order to learn. We must be strong to accept our vulnerability. Strong humans are aware of and embrace their vulnerability. To be vulnerable can mean receptivity to learning and the willingness to risk—fertile soil for universal connection, in the face of differences.
Authenticity Emotion literacy advocacy aspires to transparency in the interest of self-knowledge, genuine community and insightful stewardship in the natural world. When being ourselves in a social setting poses a threat, it is difficult to uphold the value of authenticity and imperative one upholds it, if only to and for oneself. Loving groups and wise, loving actions begin with self-loving individuals.
Blog photos by Rebecca Love: flower, tree bark w/feet; “It’s All True” painting (mother with child in two worlds) by Nathan Gregory in collaboration with ELA. (also available in the ELA T-shirt store)