This workshop provides an opportunity for participants to notice their personal needs by creating a flower where each petal represents one need. They will begin to see the many layers of needs—physical, emotional and spiritual—and to honor all these layers. To notice that our needs are deeply linked to who we are as a unique and special person.
Colored journaling paper
Colored construction paper
Blank envelopes (optional)
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Introduction: 5 min
Opening Circle: 10 min
Demonstration: 5 min
Journaling: 10 min
Creation: 30 min
Closing Circle: 15 min
Set-up / Prep:
Lay out all the materials in the center of the table so that each person will be able to reach all the colors. Prepare a sample so that your demonstration can go quickly and leave plenty of time for creating.
“This workshop is a window of time for you-a safe space to notice your thoughts, feelings, and needs. Since this space is your window of time, everything you do or say is voluntary. I’ll offer a suggested workshop idea, share about the materials we have available, and invite you to create, but there’s no right or wrong way to do this. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. What matters is taking this window of time to truly honor your thoughts and feelings, however they come out. Please ask for what you need, and know that I’m here in support of you.
“Many of us are willing to give SO MUCH of ourselves to our families, our friends, our coworkers, etc. We’re often willing to sacrifice so much for others, that we forget to acknowledge and honor our own needs. Sometimes we don’t even take time to breathe. It can be such a blind spot for us and we are often not even aware of it!”This workshop is called Personal Needs Flower. Today, we’re going to take a window of time to notice and honor our needs… what we want more of in our lives, or what might be out of balance and need our attention. Tending to our needs (physical, emotional and spiritual) is a vital part of self-care and one of the most important jobs we have. It is not only important, it is necessary for each of us to respect and honor our needs so we can recharge our batteries and be there in greater ways for ourselves and others.”
“We are going to start by thinking about what each of us wants or needs in order to feel safe, happy, and healthy. I am going to ask anyone who wants to, to share one word about a need that is coming to mind as we start this workshop. Is there some need that’s asking for attention right now? First thoughts are fine!”After participants have shared: “Thank you for sharing and acknowledging that your needs are valid and important!”
“Before we create our Personal Needs Flower, we will start with a journaling exercise to help us notice our needs. I’ll demonstrate the materials and creation process now, so that at the end of the journaling process, you can dive right in. As I demonstrate the steps, remember that more than anything else, this is your special time to listen to and trust your own needs. There is no right or wrong to what you create. Just listen to the voice inside of you as you go. Whatever emerges is fine!
“Today, we’re going to try something new, and ‘tear’ the paper to create our flower. This is an opportunity to let go and enjoy the freedom that tearing allows. Allowing ourselves to be curious and playful can help us discover needs we might not even be aware of!
“I am going to be demonstrating a flower, but your creation can be anything you like. It does not even have to look like a flower. For example, you could create a deck of cards, where each card represents a specific need.”
1. Creating the Center
The first step is creating the center of your flower. (Hold up a sample or demonstrate by making one). With the colored paper, tear a circle as small or as large as you like. You can create this center to represent you. You might want to draw a face that represents the peaceful, nurturing, supportive part of yourself that is here to help you. Whatever you choose is up to you.
2. Creating the Petals
The next step is creating the petals, each one representing one of your needs. To make each petal, choose the paper and tear it into whatever shape or size you want. You may want to vary the size of the petals to illustrate the importance of each need. For example, one of your greatest needs might be “peace,” so you can choose to tear a large piece to represent that and a smaller need of yours might be “entertainment” so you could use a smaller petal for that.
Then you’ll go ahead and draw a symbol or use words to represent each need. Use your imagination to create colorful representations of all you discover. Place each petal, adding layer upon layer to the flower-like shape.
3. Completing your Flower
“The final step is deciding how you want to finish your flower. Using a glue stick you can attach your petals together or glue them onto a larger piece of construction paper or collect them into a pile that can travel with you. If you are going to keep your petals loose, you might want to decorate an envelope to keep them in.
“You can finish your flower whichever way will best support you not only in being reminded of the needs you noticed today, but also in the ongoing process of discovering more of your needs. (You could even make some extra petals without anything on them yet so you can add more needs as you discover them).
“Any questions? Remember it is very special to take this window of time for ourselves—a need most of us never acknowledge. Ready for the relaxation?”
First, pick a color paper that speaks to you or makes you feel strong or hopeful.We are going to journal about 3 different types of needs we all have: the needs of our body, our mind and our spirit. You can fold that paper into thirds lengthwise (show example). On the top of the first column, write the word Physical, on the second Emotional, and on the third Spiritual.
I’m going to talk a little bit about each of these three needs and give you two minutes after each one to reflect on/write about this need for yourself. There is no right or wrong way to do this journaling exercise. You can write sentences, words, lists, draw symbols, shapes, or anything else you like.
Just allow your thoughts to flow onto your paper without judgment. What you write does not have to make sense to anyone but you! It is also fine to just sit quietly and notice what comes up. Remember this is your window of time to connect with yourself and what’s meaningful for you. You might want to play soft background music during this journaling portion.
Physical needs are what we usually think about first. What are your physical needs in order to be safe, happy, and healthy? (Ex. We need to be free from harm. We need shelter and a safe place to live. We need good nutrition: healthy food and clean water. We need exercise – keeping our bodies healthy and strong. We need rest, giving us energy to do what we need to do, like succeeding at work or going to school).
In the first column, begin writing words, sentences, symbols or shapes to represent your physical needs. (Give participants two minutes to write).
Another need that may be a little harder to think about is our emotional needs. What are your emotional needs in order to feel safe, happy, and healthy? (Ex. Feeling understood, accepted, and heard. Knowing that we are loved and appreciated also gives us the feeling of having emotional support. Relaxation, fun, and friendship help us to find emotional balance. Having boundaries, realistic expectations, and a positive attitude are other ways of supporting our emotional health).
Now in the second column, begin journaling about your emotional needs. (Give participants two minutes to write).
Finally, we will address our spiritual needs. What does your spirit need to give you peace? (Ex. The ability to forgive, have patience or acceptance of others? Do you need quiet time to reflect, meditate, or pray? Do you need to do good deeds or help others feel uplifted? Do you need “me” time to care for your soul?)
In the third column write words, begin journaling about your spiritual needs. (Give participants two minutes to write).
Thank you for taking the time to reflect on (and honor) your own personal needs. Remember that you are worth it and representing your needs shows that they are, too!
As the participants create their flowers, gently remind them that there is no right or wrong way. The only important thing to keep noticing and honoring their own needs. Encourage them to keep asking the question, What are my needs?
Be sure to leave time for sharing at the end. Encourage each person to decide how they want to finish their flower. Do they want to glue it together? Do they want to create any extra petals to carry with them to add more needs as they are discovered?
Give everyone an opportunity to share about their Personal Needs Flower, and any discoveries they made as they took time to notice their needs.
Remind participants: “This process does not end today; you can reflect back on it anytime, however it best serves you. Noticing what we need to feel safe, happy and healthy in our lives is one of the most important jobs we will ever have, and one job that no one else can do for us!”
Encourage participants to continue the journaling exercise at home and to keep identifying more of their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. They are worth it!