Eric Bryant

Meisner Class Journal 6.11.24

We all brought in our independent activities last night. I had brought in two possibilities: needing to blow up 100 balloons for a kids birthday party, and separating lentils from rice to avoid starving. The activities were both good, as were the trigger events and the Hot Whos, however the one thing I forgot to address was how the trigger events impacted me personally, which provides the importance to the activity. In both cases I had crafted that I was doing the activity for the benefit of someone else. Honestly, my bad, and probably was the result of putting off working on the crafting until a couple of days before class. Jolene recommended that I do the lentils/rice activity with Joseph being my repeater.

The exercise went well, I thought. I was pulled out of the exercise a few times when I had a difficult time identifying Joseph’s behavior, and I thought that I didn’t do as good a job picking up and dealing. Interestingly, Jolene said that she thought I was pretty successful in that regard, and that I was filled up with the circumstances. One note she gave me was that she felt that I was trying to show how I felt, rather than just doing the activity and reacting. It boiled down to not leaving myself alone (which a couple of classmates had mentioned as well). After a little discussion, she said (about those instances) that she just didn’t believe me. That stung a little, but I’m trying to be open to the notes that I get, whether I agree with them or not. My initial reaction was to push back and try to justify the behavior, but I think it is important to be open to the criticism and use it as a way to reflect on what I did. So, upon reflection I do recall that when I started the exercise and saw the mess on the table, I did let out a frustrated sigh. While I recall this as being just an expression of frustration, the fact that I recall it at all leads me to think that I was consciously aware of what I was doing. Similarly there was a point mid-way during the exercise when the frustration of dealing with Joseph and the activity got me really frustrated and I let out a similar sigh. Again, the fact that I remember doing this makes me question if it was a genuine response to the circumstances, or if it was something I did to show frustration.

I do wonder that if an action is truly instinctive, would I be able to remember it so clearly? Is there such a thing as a conscious instinctive action?

Later I was partnered with Lucas as his repeater. Again I was struck by how, initially, my curiosity of his activity informed how I identified his behavior. I felt really good about the exercise, though I got a similar note about not leaving myself alone about halfway through the exercise. In this case I am not sure that I understand what behavior I was exhibiting that led to that note, but I’ll be mindful of it in the future.

We finished with an interesting, though lengthy, discussion about the relationship between the activity, the trigger event, and the Hot Who, particularly when the repeater is not behaving in the way that would be expected of the Hot Who. This was an exercise with Megan with the activity and Paige as the repeater. The Hot Who Megan had come up with was that Paige was an Abuser (can’t recall the adjective), but Paige was not behaving in a threatening manner. The discussion was regarding should Megan then just respond off of Paige’s exhibited behavior? Or should she still continue to view her as the Hot Who? Personally, I think it is both. If Megan is committing to the circumstances, then she should still be endowing Paige with the qualities of the abuser, but then react off of Paige’s behavior through that filter. Otherwise Megan would not be being truthful to the circumstances. N.B. this is not a commentary on how the exercise actually played out, instead it is just my trying to grapple with the question.

Looking forward to next week!

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