All you can talk to your partner is only one of these three words: yes, no, maybe. One at a time and only when it’s your turn. That sounds boring immediately! But read on. You can choose any word randomly depending on how you feel at the moment. And you can use intonation, facial expression, and body language to convey a rainbow of human intention, like
- Yes – inquiry, persuasion, request, demand, longing, begging, threat, temptation, …
- No – rejection, refusal, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, …
- Maybe – Possibility, willingness, recession, evasion, temptation, …
Now it becomes fun! This is the first game we played on Day 3, and my favorite of the day. I winked with a “no”, stamped my feet with a “yes”, and stone-faced a “maybe”. My partners of two rounds, both nice guys, quickly competed against me in “surprising” each other 🙂
What we were doing with our partners is an exercise to prepare us the mindset of community building and anticipating conflicts.
Often when we want others to do something, we are preoccupied with the desirable response. This simple but smartly designed game forces you to keep all three possible scenarios (yes, no, maybe) in mind and recognize that the response can be random. But you cannot give up communication (going into silence) .
On the stages of community building, perhaps it becomes more intuitive in the example of a love relationship.
- Pseudo – community: love relationship just starts. “Finally, there is the right person!”
- Chaos: existential matters. Love relationship breaks. “It’s just not the right person.” (The other person’s fault.)
- Emptiness: let go attachment of being right. “What did I do wrong? What can I do differently?”
- Authentic community: respect and appreciate difference.
There is only one wash machine here and is shared by all residents. I don’t feel like to use it and have been hand washing my clothes from the sink of bathroom. The morning tea break is 30 minutes. Usually, I sneak back to my dorm on the second floor and quickly wash my clothes in less than 15 minutes. Luckily, summer clothes are thin and easy to wash. It’s also a time that I enjoy spending with myself to go over things in mind what we just learned.
People of the day
Shijian. Shijian seems shy from the first time when we were randomly put in a group for exercise. From his self introduction, I learned that he works for a spiritual health training center. At lunch time, when I saw him carrying his plate and looking for a place, I invited him to my table. I asked him a curious question immediately. But he closed his eyes and went into silence, with his hands still holding the bowl on the table. After a few seconds, I figured out he’s doing some sort of praying. I felt myself rude for almost interrupting his ritual as well as for not having my own respectful ritual to honor food. At last, he opened his eyes, “Oh, to your question, I am with a spiritual health center. (omitted)”. I got an impression that the center teaches Chinese traditional philosophy and host other cultural events to help people handle the stresses from modern urban life. Before this job, he works in some factories for not very long. Eventually, it occurred to him that he shouldn’t just work for paychecks and there ought to be larger meaning beyond making money. After exploring some workshops, he landed his current position. It seems that he is enjoying the learning.