My book group has been reading and completing exercises from the book The Five Wisdom Energies: A Buddhist Way of Understanding Personalities, Emotions, and Relationships by Irini Rockwell. One of the exercises she includes in the book comes from industrial/organizational psychology and is used in companies to build teamwork. She uses it to develop more conscious intimacy in relationships.
And y’all know when I say intimacy and relationships, I mean all kinds…not just romantic partnerships. For example, I did this exercise with my teenage son, and while he initially thought it was a little weird, he ended up really enjoying it.
When you do this exercise with your partner, or another individual with whom you have a relationship, one person starts as the interviewer, going through all the questions with the interviewee. You may ask for more information in a positive way (“Oh, wow! I’d love to hear more about that!”), but don’t judge, correct, or cross-examine their answers. Do not add your own response at this time. After the exercise is completed you switch roles, and your partner asks the same questions of you and listens to your answers.
You can discuss and process your answers and the entire process of the exercise after you have both completed it. Sometimes hidden (ok, or not so hidden) negativity emerges. Rockwell suggests trusting the positive process of the exercise itself to create a more open space to work through these issues.
If you try this exercise, I would love to hear how it went!
1) What are the times in your life that you have felt the best?
2) What are the external conditions that made that possible?
3) What qualities in you made that possible?
4) What are the times in your relationship when you have felt the best? (This could be any relationship with any person, including the interviewer.)
5) What are the conditions or circumstances that made that possible?
6) What qualities do you see in the other person that made that possible
7) What aspirations do you have for the relationship, separately and together? How would you like the relationship to be in three or five years? What would you like your contribution to be toward making that happen?