Saturday, January 30, 2010

Radical Reflection...

was the name of the class Sarah and I taught today. She'd gotten all motivated by the reflection posts I'd put up earlier this month and wanted to try it herself. And while we were at it, how about if we asked others in the congregation if they wanted to get together and do some writing about the past year? I said sure and we were off.

Our session was today. We met from noon to 3 at the church (with much competition from the custodian, a music class, and some mic practice by a couple of guys) with three others (Malcolm, Effie, and Christine). We did some warmup activities, I explained my process, answered questions, and then we set them to writing, while I retired to another room to read my book. I'd already done the work; now I was the teacher who got to sit and goof off while they worked.

One of the feedback items from this group (which generally approved heartily of the class and want it to be repeated every year) was that I should post my process, which I mostly hinted at when I posted it here at Ms. Kitty's.

So here it is. It took me several hours, spread over about five days so that it wasn't too demanding at any particular time. And I didn't get burned out.

First, I started at page 1 of my 2009 daybook and began to list all the important events of my year, all 365 days of it. I wrote down in a list about a page and a half of events that were important enough to be listed.

Second, I put each item in my list into a category. The categories I used were developed from the list of events: music, physicality and health, personal, church ministry, larger community ministry.

Third, I went back over each category and rated each item with one, two, or three stars, depending on how important I felt it had been in my life. One item, which had given me days and weeks of angst, rated three stars and a plus sign because it turned out so well.

Fourth, I looked at the items in each category and extracted what I felt I'd learned from each item, stated the general lesson(s) of the category and stated a "to do" item, something I'd try to accomplish within that category.

Fifth, I reviewed the lessons of each category and the possible plan considered and then examined the spiritual aspects of each category, the ways my spiritual nature had been fed (or not). In addition, I wrote down what I felt were the elements of my spiritual nature and the spiritual practices I most commonly use.

At the end of the three hour session, all reflectors seemed to feel pretty satisfied and eager to continue what they'd started. Nobody seemed to complete the whole assessment for themselves but felt they could carve out time to finish it. A couple of them might want to get together with me when they finish.

So Sarah and I felt very good about the afternoon. And I feel very happy that what I started out to do has had a further application. It fits right into my spiritual practice of "generativity".

Tomorrow's sermon is "The Evolution of God". See you in church! Somewhere, anyhow.

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