Black and white picture of a black woman sitting on a black man's knee. Both of them look joyful.

Self Consent day 6 – experiencing yes

Today I invite you to read through the instructions before starting. That way you will know what you’re going to be doing before you get started.

Looking at your list, find something that you could do today – whether it is a sporting activity, listening to a song, watching a film or cuddling a pet (or person for that matter). Whatever it is, it needs to be something you can do while also reflecting on your embodied experience. It is likely to be easiest to do this by listening to a piece of music but anything on your list that you can do will work.  

I would like you to think about the feelings in your body as you look over your list to figure out what you are going to do. Reflect on whether the different activities give you different kinds of emotions; maybe some are exciting, others are relaxing, and others just bring a smile. Just notice the positive, neutral and negative feelings, and how making the decision to do an item on the list feels.

Rather than thinking or writing about the activity, today you are going to actually do it. You’re going to pay attention to your body when you are doing it. Keep an eye out for feelings that denote enjoyment, ambivalence, and everything in between. Notice the different kinds of ‘yes’ you feel and where. If there are subtle emotions like ambivalence or even no’s, recognise those too. Once you have finished the task, reflect on how it differed from previous days. Was it easier or harder to notice your feelings when doing something? Was it any different at all? How was the experience of paying attention to your emotions while you were doing something you wanted to do?

You might find it useful to do this exercise with several different things, paying attention to the different ways in which you can feel your body responding to things you’re doing. It’s all good information because it can help you to decide whether you’re feeling ‘yes’ when you’re doing things in the future. Do bear in mind that things that initially feel like a ‘yes’ might change to ambivalence or ‘no’ when you’re actually doing them. Paying attention to this change is really useful because it gives you some help with identifying how you feel when those things change.
For example: I’ve been excited about the idea of doing a workshop on co-counselling. I got an email asking to call one of the facilitators, and I realised I was really excited to talk to her so I abandoned my list and decided that would be the thing I did. Radical, right?  It was hard to find that excitement in my body because I had just eaten breakfast and a lot of my emotions are located in my tummy. I’d never noticed that I feel excitement in my ears, but when I was talking to her (maybe because it was a phone conversation), I got this sensation like tingling on the skin of my ears. It felt really different to the other exercises, and in some ways much harder to notice what was happening in my body because my focus needed to also be on the conversation and doing something. Nevertheless, I felt the ‘yes’ in my cheeks, tummy and ears. I also felt happy and excited, which was something of an all over sensation. What a lovely start to the day.

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