Center to Advance Education for Adults

CAEA ~ DePaul University, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

On February 6, 2013, Amy Scatliff, Ed.D, led us in a reflective inquiry into our experiences of "Illuminative Moments" in which we experienced deep connection, presence and/or insight. We then looked for the strengths and/or skills we noticed ourselves demonstrating in these experiences and thought about how we might share or teach these to others. A pdf of the process, as well as additional resources Amy shared with us is posted below, along with Graphic Facilitator, Brandy Agerbeck's map of our conversation and group insights.

Please reply with your additional reflections, questions and resources below.

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I brought my 10 students from LLS410: Liberal Learning Seminar on Personal Effectiveness: Achieving Satisfaction, and as we were debriefing one of them asked HOW the "safe intimacy" that we agreed was present was created.

Upon reflection, I told the student I could think of three ways: 

1) There was a lot of expectation adjusting about "experiment." There are no mistakes in "experiments," only data. So no way to have a sub-par performance! That takes away pressure to look good and be "successful"--it's all good!

2)We were not invited to lead with our status either in or out of the room. No sales-y introductions, no table facilitators, etc. Everyone was considered equal. Also, as Dan pointed out, we led the stories not with the skills/accomplishments, but the feeling, which, (as my student Michele also noted) everyone could relate to, even though we have different skills and accomplishments. And

3) the fact that this wasn't all explictly processed with a bunch of potentially self-consciousness-inducing and inhibiting (albeit counter-cultural) "ground rules" probably also helped!

Thanks to all for a great learning event!


Your point about the absence of status seems really important. I also love the thinking about the power of the mindset shift to "experiment" and the possibilities that opens up.
Thank you for bringing your class. On the way home we commented that their presence made a big difference--having so many people who were completely in the frame of reflecting and being open to learning. I was thinking, too, about having so many who only stated their identity as "student"--and, what if we all led with that frame?

I KNOW--I wanted to introduce myself as "student," as well, although formally I am not, I so identify with that role! Which is a good thing!

I have a "what if": My what if is: "What is every emotion were a positive emotion?"

Here's what I mean: the whole positive psychology movement was famously based on the idea that getting beyond pathology was not enough. But another thing I think the idea of"positive emotions," specifically, was based on is the idea that only very special emotions are "positive" i.e, many if not most emotions are to be avoided and repressed because they feel "bad" and therefore may lead to destructive actions, as may the attempt to avoid them through addictions, binges, etc. But what if we were more accepting and tolerant and open to emotions in general? We can transform the bad into good with our attitude, as grief, for example flows into empathy for all who have suffered and finally serenity if we let it. My Jungian analyst used to always correct me when I would say I had a "bad" dream. All dreams and all emotions are meant to get our attention and help  transform us, if we let them. Emotions move and motivate us--that is their appropriate and natural function.

One of my favorite poems says this far better than I could:

As educators, how can we create space, support, and safety for emotions?

I think this is a really great question, Julie. I'd love to see this explored further. As you both mentioned here "the power of the mindset shift to 'experiment'" fits well with understanding positive and negative emotion as neither good nor bad (or a finality) but something that can be open to continual interpretation. That's the basis of the creative process too where something can be continually reshaped and remade. I was hoping that 'illuminative' could mean something where each person felt an individual and collective interpretation and connection.

Thanks for bringing your students to the lab. It led to such great insights and discussion.


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