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Seeing Care in Everyday Life

What does “care” mean to you, in your life, based on your experiences? What is it that you do in day-to-day life that contributes to the wellbeing of others, and likewise what is that others do for you that contributes to your wellbeing? What have been significant actions of care over the course of your life? And how does the space you’re in remind you of such care?

These are the questions we’ll explore in this unit. Your observations will form the foundation for visualizing care in your life.

Mindfulness Prompt

Shadows and light on outdoor floorboards, against a glass wall

Before you do the exercises we have developed, take a moment to notice what is already in your mind. Pause and observe the care that surrounds you. Where do you notice acts of care in your daily life? Consider the different ways care manifests in your environment and who provides and receives such care.

Exercise: Recent Care Experiences

For this exercise, review your last couple of days and write down a list of actions you observed that were meant to care for others, to support or increase their wellbeing, in ways small and large. These include things you did as well as those done by others around you.

Here are two examples, one capturing care activities at home, and the other at work.

Handwritten list: AT HOME / Helped dad organize meds / Calmed dad when he got frustrated / Dad made me coffee and a fresh batch of cookies / Ellen called to chat / Neighbor John mowed the lawn / Patty took dad to a show Handwritten list: AT WORK / Sue brought in coffee and donuts for the team / Henry commiserated on the contract delays / May improved my graphics / I mentored a couple of interns on career choices / I helped James plan his team's offsite
Need some help? Here’s a refresher video.

Exercise: Care In Your Life

Next, using the Care In Your Life worksheet, reflect on care you have experienced (given and received) over time. As circumstances changed, the nature, intensity, and frequency of care activities likely changed as well. Recent or particularly noteworthy activities may jump to your mind immediately, while others may surface more slowly.

Need some help? Here’s a refresher video.

Exercise: Exploring Your Care Space

After putting pen to paper, it’s now time to go out and explore our spaces of care. When asked, “where do you experience care?” there are a variety of spaces that might come to mind. Maybe it’s the hospital, the house you grew up in, the gym, or even your desk. Care can happen anywhere. Where do you experience care?

Discuss with Other Weavers

Questions for Further Reflection

  • What did you learn from the Recent Experiences exercise?
  • What did you learn from the Care In Your Life worksheet?
  • What did you discover from the Care Exploration exercise?
  • What actions or changes in your life (if any) do you expect based on these reflections?

In the next unit as you learn to draw an Atlas CareMap these observations of your own experiences on care given and received will form the basis for your drawing.