Remarkable moments in adult learning

I’m touched. My soul is stirred. I feel emotional enough to write. I’ve started writing this eleven times now. I’m trying to isolate what it is that has taken hold. To distill what it is about a 3 minute video that has created a need to understand, to write, to read, to explore and harness fleeting ideas. It’s rather like an earworm which was wonderfully explored in a BBC Radio 4 programme. But this is a ‘mindworm.’ It’s tricky, slippery even, to isolate what sets off our emotional tripwire. Neuro scientists would have us believe its our amygdala, an emotional sentinel within our brain which remembers our emotional recipes. I just know that there’s something remarkable about what I’m seeing and hearing in the video stories.There are small remarkable moments all the way through the video. Anyone watching might just watch it and think ‘that’s great’, or ‘that was nice.’ But it’s jam packed with extraordinary moments that deserve to be noticed. At the very beginning, and toward the end I see people doing creative stuff. They’re cutting and sticking, drawing with confident long arm strokes. They’re using colour, shapes, collage and easels in a quiet individual way and then one person holds up a sheet of paper.  The smiles speak volumes, but look more closely and you’ll see moments of sharing, conversation and acceptance.  Support, warmth and encouragement hit your senses. As one person says, ‘you can’t get anything wrong here.’

My recipe of emotions has included a good dollop of humanity, oodles of kindness (Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor – On Kindness), mega creativity (Robert Henri – The Art Spirit), trolley loads of empathy and overflowing caring with a good pinch of compassion (Paul Gilbert – The Compassionate Mind). I turn the pages of Alain de Botton’s ‘Art as Therapy’ book which I included in a previous blog. But this time nothing quite stirs the emotional me which has connected with this video. I scanned my bookshelves in the hope that a recipe would jump out. It did and it didn’t. Daniel Goleman’s ‘Emotional Intelligence’ began to help crystallise my thoughts. There’s much talk of fear and it slowly dawned that it’s about feeling safe. For people to talk as they do on the video about their bad health, being in at home, confidence being shot, mental health issues and not being in groups, they need to feel safe. It’s not the same as absence of fear. To me feeling safe is under acknowledged. I feel as though I’ve hit the jackpot! The essence of feeling safe to be who we are is down to the welcoming, encouraging, enjoyable, and lovely atmosphere. Just 32 seconds into the video I hear ‘this isn’t something that happens everywhere.’ And they are so right.

I think I can sum up my emotional trigger now. It’s simply magical, heartwarming even, to see people engaged in creative activity in a relaxed, safe space. It is making a difference to their lives. The significant moments seen and heard in this video are of people gaining confidence, being in a group, being relaxed, cracking jokes even, and learning to be who they are. Seeing a flicker of a smile by Geoffrey at 2 minutes 11 seconds is simply beyond words. Remarkable.

Take a look. I’d be interested to know what you see and hear.

Here’s an interesting TED talk on why good leaders make us feel safe.

Oh, and I love the artwork created too.

Thanks for reading and thanks must go to:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s