Saturday, February 20, 2016

Summary of a Workshop: Introversion and Energy

 I gave a workshop (three actually) at the 2015 Heartland Pagan Festival. It was a great experience, and eye-opening in many ways. I formatted my workshops as discussions (yes, all of them), and each of them went in a different direction than I had predicted. But it was wonderful!

I am attempting here to summarize, with a bit of additional commentary, what the discussion ended up being for my workshop: Introverts and Energy

I would like to start out by introducing myself. I am an introvert. I have horrible stage fright that I have been working on since I was 15. Which is only ironic if you meet me one-on-one first, cuz I'm really open and funny until there's a bunch of strange people staring at me.

Now, just to make sure that all of us are on the same page to start, I'm going to review some definitions.
Extroverts are over 50% of the human population. Extroverts aren't necessarily talkative. They simply get energy from action: involvment in events, interacting with other people, moving. Because of this, they tend to be more social and outgoing. Their behavior supports getting more energy.

Introverts are around half the population, except in the U.S., where they are closer to 1/3 of the population. Introverts aren't necessarily shy. They get energy from having time, usually alone, to think and be inside their own heads. This, BTW, includes one-on-one and tiny group discussions that cover deep topics. Introverts tend to be more withdrawn and solitary. Again, behavior supporting how the person gets more energy.

Now introversion/extroversion is a spectrum in behavior, but it is more divided when you look only at the energy matter. So think about how you feel in large groups with small talk vs how you feel when sitting alone and thinking. Which gives you more energy? Which do you identify with?

When you are put in a position of not being able to recharge, your mood and behavior changes. You may get grumpy, tense, angry, frustrated, anxious, sad or several of those at once. Your behavior may show you to be flustered or unfocused. You may retreat more and more, finding a measure of comfort along walls or nestled into a corner, or by blocking out movement or sound from others. Consider how your behavior changes when you are unable to escape a crowd.

For obvious reasons, a large group of people in a designated space, such as the Heartland Festival, can be empowering for extroverts. There are tons of new people to meet and talk to, workshops to speak up at, loud music, large groups... So, it can also be intimidating for introverts. At Heartland, we have various sacred spaces that are usually empty and isolated, where we can go to meditate and refresh ourselves.
What are some of the ways that you use this environment to recharge?

Now, conventions are a whole 'nother story. Conventions often have more limited, often indoor space, which makes it harder for us to get away from the crowds, which also makes it harder for us to meaningfully interact with new people.

So, what would you consider to be the most important obstacle to fully experiencing a festival or convention as an Introvert?

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