A Feelingwork Session in Detail: Receiving Love

Drawing No!


J: Let’s start with the No! So the color of No! is going to be a silvery metallic. Right?

S: Yes.

J: And the thickness of that steel plate is, half an inch, an inch…?

S: No more than a half an inch I would say.

J: Yeah. OK. 

S: I mean it’s stainless steel, after all. It doesn’t take a lot of it.

J: Right, exactly. So I think I’ll just use this…

S: So it’s actually out in front of the body.

J: OK.

S: So it’s barely… yeah, there you go. Like that.

J: OK. Is that about the right size, and is it curved a little bit the way I’ve made it, or is it…

S: Ah, no, it’s straight.

J: OK.

S: Yeah, that’s right.

J: All right. And then the front view is going to be…

S: So just start at the collar bone, so you can see where the collar bone is there.

J: Uh huh.

S: And then down to just… up slightly… yeah, right there. And if you were to color it in… yeah.

J: OK. So, that is No!.

For the drawing, I am sharing my screen with Susan and drawing on a tablet with the program ArtRage. I’m starting with a template outline of a human body, and adding the illustration of the feeling state according to Susan’s description and her in-the-moment guidance as we draw it together.

Drawing a feeling state is often a discovery process of its own. When the Feelingwork explorer begins to visually see the explicit representation of the state, they will sometimes discover it feels different than what they originally described. If you are facilitating someone and taking notes for them, you’ll want to update your notes with the revised state description after the drawing is complete.

Now I want to call your attention to something unexpected here. Notice that the steel plate of No! lies completely outside Susan’s body. Our common assumptions about “emotion” include the understanding that emotions are strongly somatic, generated by the nervous system in response to threats and opportunities. Our common language about emotions, our science of emotions, our methods of therapy, all orient toward emotion as a phenomenon contained by the body, plus our cognitive engagement with that physiological response.

I don’t want to take you too far into this just yet, but it’s important that I introduce the idea that the feeling we are working with here is not emotion. This map of No! is clear evidence of that. Feelingwork maps of states extending beyond the body is actually quite common as we shall see.