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The Feeling of Being Watched: Community Screening Healing Guide

Part 2: Guiding Questions – Facilitating Healing Dialogue

Before The Film

Once you welcome community members, acknowledge that the film may trigger difficult emotions and that this is normal. Invite them to take a moment to participate in a deep breathing or grounding exercise. This allows everyone to clear their minds and feel connected to the experience of being with others in this space.

Use the following example, or feel free to use your own:

Close your eyes (if this is uncomfortable, look at a spot on the floor just in front of you). Take a deep breath in through your nose. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your abdomen. Breathe deeply enough that the hand on your abdomen rises. Hold the air in your lungs, and then exhale slowly through your mouth.

Progressive muscle relaxation:

This exercise can be used to help settle any anxiety or stress that might arise.

Say: Sit back in your chair in a comfortable position. For each area of the body listed below, you will tense your muscles tightly, but not to the point of strain. Hold the tension for 10 seconds, and pay close attention to how it feels. Then, release the tension, and notice how the feeling of relaxation differs from the feeling of tension.

Feet Curl your toes tightly into your feet, then release them.

Calves Point or flex your feet, then let them relax.

Thighs Squeeze your thighs together tightly, then let them relax.

Torso Suck in your abdomen, then release the tension and let it fall.

Back Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then release them.

Shoulders Lift and squeeze your shoulders toward your ears, then let them drop.

Arms Make fists and squeeze them toward your shoulders, then let them drop.

Hands Make a fist by curling your fingers into your palm, then relax your fingers.

Face Scrunch your facial features to the center of your face, then relax.

Full Body Squeeze all muscles together, then release all tension.

Reflection Questions:

Take a moment to notice your breath, your body and the emotions you may be experiencing before the film begins. Are you feeling anticipation, excitement, dread? Write them down here:

What interests you most about The Feeling of Being Watched? What are you hoping to learn or understand by watching the film?

Write down any questions you currently have about surveillance, trauma or healing?

After The Film:

Once again, invite everyone to stand, stretch, take a deep breath and notice where they might feel tension in their bodies. Have they been holding their breath during the film? Have they felt their hearts racing?

Open the dialogue with an intention, prayer or reflection which sets the tone for the conversation. Here is one example:

May we be connected to each other

May we know the range and depth of feelings in ourselves and in each other

There is vulnerability, fear, love, rage, hatred, compassion, courage, despair, and hope

In ourselves, each other and the world

May we know our most authentic feelings

And voice them when we speak

May we tap into soul and spirit when we are silent together

May we form and become a circle

Be silent and feel the clasp and connection of hands and heart

Then each in turn

Speak for yourself and listen to each other

Put judgment aside

Remember that anything voiced that you want to silence may be a silenced part of yourself”

May the Healing Begin in Us

Alice Walker

The following questions can be used to begin the conversation by focusing on the emotional experience of watching the film:

Take a moment to close your eyes, place your hand over your heart and listen to your breathing. What emotions are you feeling?

What moment in the film impacted you the most?

Have you (or someone you know) had a similar experience?

What did you learn from this film?