Sexuality Workshop

Donal gave a very comprehensive four-day workshop on sexuality.  He explained how sexuality and spirituality are intimately linked, and how the dark energy (expanding) and dark matter (contracting) reflect the two-fold dynamic of sexuality that is expansive on the one hand and yet needs also to be grounded in reality.

He differentiated between women and men as to how they manage their sexuality.  Often for men the subject of sexuality is inclined to be a taboo subject, while women seem more at ease discussing many aspects of sexuality.

Donal then went on to journey through the sexual life-cycle of an individual, highlighting the areas of underdevelopment and how these areas need to be dealt with before moving on to the next stage.  He pointed out that some people never manage to reach the full maturity of a sexual person.

Finally, he explained how we are being invited to move through a series of stages to arrive at a mature level of celibacy.

Week-long Workshop on Transactional Analysis (TA)

 

This week-long workshop on TA was entitled, ‘Understanding Self and Others.’  The aims of the workshop were to assist Brothers to understand their individual intrapsychic dynamics that lie at the foundation of their belief in self, others and the future, as well as helping them to have a real understanding of how the dynamics of community can impact on the quality of community life.  TA has four main areas of exploration:  script analysis, ego state analysis, transactional analysis and game analysis.  Each day, David explained the main aspects of each of these four dimension of TA, providing the basic theory first, followed by both individual and group activities.  The Brothers engaged fully in the workshop and gain a good level of insight in themselves and into each other.

Theological Reflection

Following the experience of immersion in Kibera slum, the Brothers were invited to engage in some theological reflection. Theological reflection is an excellent tool to enable people systematically to explore life’s experiences, to reflect critically upon their meaning, and to theologize explicitly about the God event in their lives in light of the ourChristian tradition.

The process was quite lengthy and the Brothers found it very helpful in unpacking the experience of the previous day.

Immersion Experience

Part of the value of the Orientation Programme is that it affords the Brothers the opportunity to experience what life is like among the marginalised in society.  The Brothers went today to Kibera, a slum of over a million people who have to live in the most challenging of circumstances.  The first port of call was the Mary Rice Centre whose Director is Brother Gerald Mgalula.  There they saw how the teachers care so lovingly with children who have many forms of disability.

From there, the Brothers visited some of the homes of the Edmund Rice Volunteers and learned from them how living in Kibera poses significant challenges.

Then after lunch, the Brothers visited three schools, meeting with the Principals and planning to re-visit these schools during the next immersion day.

Overall, this was a very valuable experience for everyone.

Life in Nairobi

We were very fortunate to have had the wisdom and learning from Dr Aloys Otieno Ojore, lecturer in Tangaza University from the Arts and Social Sciences Department. Dr Aloys has a Doctorate in Practical Theology from Cambridge.  He lectures on religion, theology, social teaching of the Church, justice, and governance to name just some of his subjects.

Aloys gave a very extensive view on the political, economic and social reality of Kenya, and then went on to reflect on the role of leadership in the African context.  The concept of servant leadership seems to be almost alien to the current leadership styles in Kenya.

In the afternoon, Aloys discussed whether there is a culture or cultures in Africa and whether there are African religions or African religion.  This discussion was most interesting as it invited the Brothers to reflect on how Christianity and African religion often lie uneasily one with the other.

MBTI – day three

Sunil explained how the judging (J) and perceiving (P) people view tasks.  The Js prefer an organised lifestyle, make short-and long-term plans and then follow through.  They life to have things decided. The Ps on the other hand prefer a more flexible lifestyle and adjust flexibly to new information and changes, and prefer to explore options instead to being too rigid.

Each of the Brothers was presented with a detailed description of their personality type and in groups explored how others saw them.  Then they were able to see how people from the outside can indeed intuit some of the elements of their type, but not all.

Finally, Sunil warned of the danger of misusing the MBTI especially by labelling people and guessing others’ type from impression.

The workshop concluded on Wednesday and all the Brothers found it a most useful and stimulating workshop.

MBTI – Day Two

On day two, Sunil explained the Sensing (S) and Intuition (N) pairings.  The S tends to focus on present experience and enjoys using and refining the known and familiar, whereas the I tends to focus on future possibilities and enjoys experimenting with the new and the different.

He described the S as people who prefer the factual and the concrete, taking in information from the five senses and preferring clear and complete instructions.  The I people are those who are imaginative and creative, and who like to learn different things in different ways. They like making up and idea more than producing it.

Sunil then went on to the thinking (T) and feeling (F) types where the former solves problems with logic and are good at analysing plans.  The latter (F) considers what matters to others and are good at understanding people, and tends to help by appreciating the positive first.

Both T and F are ways we make decisions.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

The morning began with a welcome ceremony for Br Eric Anguolo, who has just joined the OP from Ghana.  During the ceremony, his biography was read and he was presented with a Maasai shawl and a welcome letter.

Sunil then began a three-day workshop on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  The entire workshop was run in a most creative and interactive manner.  He began by giving a brief historical background on the creation of the MBTI, stressing both the work of Carl Jung and of Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.

He stressed that the MBTI is not a test but rather an indication .  It does not measure intelligence, maturity or emotional health.  Sunil stressed that the questionnaire has no right or wrong answers, and that all the types have potential strengths and blind spots

Sunil then went on to explain the Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I) indicators, showing how the former is drawn towards the outer world, while the latter is more drawn towards the inner world.  He explained that the extravert gets energy by doing things and being active, while the introvert gets energy taking time alone. Again the E has broad interests in many things, while the I focuses more in depth on a fewer number of interests.

Eucharist

The sessions today centred on the question of Eucharist.  Donal invited the Brothers to share their experience of Eucharist.  He then went on to discuss the understanding that Brothers had of Eucharist and invited them to reflect both on their experience and understanding of what Eucharist means in contemporary spirituality.

Personal and Community Spirituality

 

Today was devoted to exploring Brothers’ personal and communal spirituality.  Using the spiral, Brothers traced their development in spiritual growth and practices.  This exercise, done individually first and then in the large group, led to very interesting sharing and opened up the idea of the journey in spiritual awareness.  Sister Alba facilitated the day which was both rich and challenging.