relating

Create Something, and the Possibilities are Endless

One of the delightful aspects of creating something, whether it’s a novel, a painting or Picture a Conversation, is that you can never anticipate all the ways your creative baby will be seen, interpreted or even used. A friend may be totally convinced that you used her as the model for your protagonist, even though you didn’t; the art critic will read symbolic messages into the red rooftops you chose to cap the violet homes that sit beside a cobalt stream.

We’ve been delighted as we  hear from people who have begun to use our Picture a Conversation discussion starters. Our box top reads, “Choose a card. Share your experiences. Let the talk flow.” We’re learning there are many ways all three of these prompts are being set in motion.

Martin snapped this sweet little rowboat in Venice, CA.

Martin snapped this sweet little rowboat in Venice, CA.

When I was crafting the questions for the card on the left, I wanted to encourage people to consider  what it means to choose someone to be there for you when you are going after a cherished goal. In life, we may also reach a point where we realize someone, even someone dear to us, is holding us back. Being able to reflect on this can bring healing. Sharing how we dealt with a such a situation can help a friend or loved one in a similar situation. The reverse side of this card asks:

Do you set daily goals to achieve? Do you reach them?   When we are “rowing” after a dream, what is the impact of the people we surround ourselves with?   Recall a time when you realized the person “rowing” with you was holding you back. What did you do?

For our first focus group, I gathered seven women and laid the cards out for them to choose.  Each woman was drawn to a different card, and they took turns sharing what drew her to the card she chose and what experiences the image and the questions summoned for her. When my daughter got her set, she and her friends chose at random and picked a question from each card to answer. A couples therapist uses the cards with her clients, inviting them to choose a card if they don’t know where to begin for the week.  She also has couples choose a card as their “homework” for the week and return with the insights their conversations led them to.

Someone who uses the cards with her kids — two boys aged 8 and 10 and a girl, twelve — told me her  her sons really got into the nature images first and then began considering the questions, while her daughter zeroed in on a question and instead of answering it herself, handed it to her mom. I was touched when I heard this story, because that was something I never considered — that these cards could be the gateway for a child who wanted to learn something specific about their parent’s life.

One of my favorite comments so far came from a man who brought the cards to dinner with longtime friends. Throughout dinner and dessert the two couples went round and around remembering events from their shared past, projecting forward into the future. His friend emailed him later that week, “Never had such a good time laughing my a** off and having tears at the same time.” And instead of forgetting the conversations, the man wrote that having the images to look at instantly brought back just about everything they had talked about. Again, something I never considered — that having images would help cement an entire conversation into memory.

One grandmother keeps a set in her glove compartment. She frequently carpools her grandchildren and intends on using the prompts on the cards  instead of asking the usual, “What did you do today?” when she picks them up from school or other activities. On a long drive, someone else brought five cards with her and let her friend choose from that five. Their conversations eventually led them to reflect on the time their friendship faltered and they lost touch for years. “Each conversation led to another one and another one and even into the next day we talked about things we never would have otherwise.

Now it's your turn.

Now it’s your turn.

We call the card at the left “Take Flight” and the questions on the back reflect this theme. So we ask: Recall a “take flight” moment in life. What are the risks of leaving  a safe harbor and taking flight? What’s the difference between taking flight and running away?

Now it’s your turn. How would you answer these questions? Share with your friends and loved ones and let the talk flow.

 

Ready for more ? Order your own set of Picture a Conversation here.

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