Election day in the US. Big breath. Is this what it feels like to know you’re on the verge of a historic moment? To feel like so much is on scales that are at a breaking point as they waver on either side of the tipping point? A country – my country – tearing itself apart over wounds and anger so deep that whatever the result, the aftermath is frightening?  Time to turn this card over and write. See what word might guide not only my pen, but also my heart today.


Yarn. So many colourful strands. Can be tangled, twisted, twirled, unrolled, unravelled.  Will we tie ourselves in knots or find ways to weave all the disparate threads into something beautiful and comforting?

One of my favourite activities to do at the end of a workshop involves a ball of yarn. I have a ball of soft, thick, forest green wool I like especially for this purpose. Everyone is seated in a circle, and everyone is invited to reflect on what they will take away from the day or the workshop – perhaps an idea, a question, an answer, a plan.

Here’s where the yarn comes in:  the first person (always a volunteer) opens the discussion.  This person holds the ball of yarn and shares their idea. When finished, the next person to speak is not necessarily the person to the right or left of Speaker 1, but someone who feels their comment connects to Speaker 1’s remark.

Then, Speaker 1 holds on to the end of the yarn and tosses the ball of wool to Speaker 2, wherever they are in the circle.  Speaker 2 shares a comment and explains the connection to the previous comment.  The next person to speak will find a connection to Speaker 2.  As before, Speaker 2 holds on to the yarn and tosses the ball to the third speaker.  And so on.  Each person connects to the previous comment, says their piece, keeps hold of a bit of yarn, and tosses the ball to the next.

By the end, each person has spoken and we have created a web, showing how all our ideas connect.


Connection. Creates a web. Unlikely links following an unexpected sequence, showing a way that all our perspectives can come together.

What is Present, not precious? 

This entry was posted in Present not precious, Present, not precious - November 2016, teaching and learning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Yarn

  1. Turning the card today gave me “Adjustment”, which stands for uncompromising honesty and objectivity – balance, and fairness, looking at an issue from every angle. The route to congruence?


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