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Some Ideas for using the Feelings & Needs Cards

  1. Feelings & Needs Poker: version 1
    For 2 or more players. One person is the Storyteller and the other(s) are Listeners. The Storyteller holds the Feelings cards and the Listeners split up the Needs cards.
    The Storyteller tells the story of any incident in his/her life which has stirred feelings within. After telling the story, s/he selects several feelings cards which seem alive for them.
    Then the listener(s) take turns guessing Needs which may relate to the Feelings cards shown, laying down one Need card at a time next to the Feeling card, and speaking in a question format, such as. "Are/were your feeling …(name the feeling on the card) because of your need for…?" Continue giving the listeners turns until they have no more guesses.
    The Storyteller (who has listened without comment) then chooses one or more Needs cards that particularly resonate for them and speaks briefly about that and how s/he feels about it.
    The Storyteller position then rotates to the next person and so on until all have had turns.
  2. Feelings & Needs Poker: version 2
    This activity helps participants deepen the awareness that feelings arise from needs. This is also a reminder for people who have taken a Level 1 as to the possible nuances of this activity.
    The facilitator divides participants into groups of three or four and tell the groups how long individuals will have to tell their stories.
    Each group of three or four has their own deck of cards, and one person begins as the Storyteller. The Storyteller starts with the deck of Feelings cards. The other group members divide up the Needs cards.
    The Storyteller then tells a story about something that stirred a feeling within them. It can have a "positive" or "negative" flavor. After they finish they sort through the Feelings cards and lay out 2 to 5 feelings that are alive in them in the moment after telling the story.
    The other people, the listeners, now take turns trying to guess which Need cards were at the root of the Storyteller’s Feelings. They take turns laying down one Need card at a time and speak in a question format, such as:
    "Are you feeing ____ because of your beautiful need of _____?"
    "Are you feeling ______ because you yearn for _____ both for yourself and others?"
    Be sure to make all statements in the positive. Do NOT practice associating a feeling with a lack of a need; such as, "Are you sad because your need for empathy was not met?"
    The Storyteller does not respond as each Need card is laid down. She or he listens calmly and focuses on letting in all the possibilities that are offered. The Storyteller tries to sense the reactions in his or her body as the cards are laid down, as these are clues to which cards really do or do not represent the experience.
    Play continues until all the appropriate cards are played, time is up, or the group is ready to move on.
    At that time the Storyteller gets to choose which Needs cards spoke to him or her and actually represented the experience. She or he does this by picking the Needs cards up and taking a few moments to slowly read through them.
    I like to touch each card carefully while I read it. I stay aware of any reactions I have in my body or mind to each Need card as I read it.
    As the Storyteller, allow yourself to savor each Need card that you select as having inspired one or more of your Feelings. Allow yourself to sense the beauty of having that energy within you. The other players should hold presence for the Storyteller while she/he connects to the chosen Needs cards by quietly watching
    The Feelings cards are then passed to another member of the group who is the new Storyteller. Repeat the process until everyone has had a chance to be the Storyteller.
  3. Self Empathy
    I keep a pack handy to use during self-empathy. When I make my observation I then sort through the feelings deck and lay out what resonates in my body. I then sort through the needs deck and lay them out with the feelings.
    Then I pick up the needs cards and slowly go through them, touching gently each card, taking time to absorb the need word. I sense where that need seems to be resting in my body at that moment. I listen for any negative judgments in my mind or tensions in my body when I consider each need. If I sense any judgment I write it down for future empathy sessions or core belief work.
    I stay with each card until I feel a softening or embracing of that need. Or I carry the cards around for the day and when I have a few moments I take them out and consider the needs.