Reflections that work
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.Excerpt, lockdown, Bro. R. Hendrick, OFM (Download Reflection)
A thoughtfully prepared reflective process creates an environment in which together we can find inspiration for the work at hand. The following suggestions include adaptations for the distributed workplace.
- A single slide helps a screensharing team focus their attention at the work at hand. Pose a simple question for reflection, such as
- What is inspiring you in big and small ways today?
- Where are you finding hope?
- Who is modeling great leadership for you right now?
- Where have you seen mercy (or compassion, or reverence, or favorite core value) today?
- Which story of our founders do we need to remember today?
- What must we remember about our name at this time?
- Put a simple image on a slide. Your own snapshots or an image gleaned from the internet can stir the imagination. The map of your organization, an image of a founder, a detail from a space in your community, a team picture of co-workers, your logo — any of these may prompt conversation on what is important.
- Pick a line, phrase or image from scripture. Draw from stories in the gospels. Often a brief passage holds greater power than you might imagine. Retell in your own words, or share your screen with the text for all to see. Unpack one of the well-known Pslams: e.g., psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd), 27 (light), 91(refuge), 121 (help), 139 (searching and knowing). If presented in an interactive document, you can ask others to highlight a word or phrase that is most important to them.
- Share a part of a poem or inspirational quotation that prompts reflection. Put it on a slide for all to reflect upon. Provide some context as you make a connection to the work at hand.
- Music may serve as a powerful source for reflection. Because tastes vary greatly, use music sparingly. If there are lyrics you wish to emphasize, choose a verse or two to share and take time to print out the words for reference. Consider the value of instrumental music to set a tone. Zoom and other platforms let you stream music from your computer in web based meetings.
- Make room for silence. Clarify, even roughly, how long a period of silence will be. If meeting on the phone, invite participants to give themselves the gift of this time, and to avoid the temptations of their screens. If one minute helps, try two – research and experience show that two minutes of shared silence promote focus and productivity in meetings.
- Reflect with a symbolic object: e.g., a shell, a loaf of bread, a bowl of water, a piece of granite, or something of meaning from your workspace, such as a gift from a mentor or memento from a professional gathering. Choose an item that draws you to a deeper appreciation of the sacred, and ideally something that grounds you in the purposefulness of your group’s shared work. Note that a reflection becomes theological not only when you connect it with a specific faith tradition, but also when it is linked with the notion of finding God, or the sacred, in all things.
- Allow the seasons and cycles of nature to inspire your shared work – the buds and robins of early spring, the transitions of fall, the fallow yet potent mystery of winter. Look to the observances and seasons of our various religious traditions and all they may offer, even to a secular ear: e.g., hopeful waiting and light in Advent; reflection, repentance and returning in Lent; hope and new life in Easter. Research a theme, scripture or prayer from a religious holiday, be it the feasting and fasting of Ramadan, the day of atonement of Yom Kippur, or the attention to ancestors celebrated on the Feast of All Souls (November 1).
- Pay attention to organizational seasons. Within a merger process, staffing transition, or budgeting season, or even in the face of pandemic and other disasters, honor what is causing stress and celebrate where hope may be found. Consider what is waiting to be born, or to what you are saying goodbye.
- Let the rich experiences of your daily life serve as sources for reflection – a text from a friend, an exchange at the train station, a conversation in the cafeteria, an interaction with a client. Unpack these stories in a journal or in conversation with a friend. Invite others to dig into their own experiences to find the same resources. A good reflection points us back to our lived experience as a source of inspiration.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that; this enables us to do something, and to do it very well.Excerpt, The Long View, Bishop K. Untener, (Read Post 0r Download Reflection)
Create your own
Creating Reflections for the Workplace: A Step by Step Guide: This helpful guide offers a process to help you get started in creating your own reflection. A downloadable version is attached.
Build Your Own Prayer: Read about a simple structure that can guide you or your team in the creation of a prayer.
Go-To Questions For Group Reflection: This resource contains a variety of questions for use within a group.
Adapt for your use
Beauty on the Path: This reflective activity explores the topic of vocation.
Rummaging Through the Day: The traditional prayerful reflective process known as the Awareness Examen is attributed to the founder of the Jesuit order, Ignatius of Loyola. Here you will find the process described.
Keeping A Journal: This resource offers ideas for ways to get the most out of your little green book.
The Voices We Hear: This formation activity utilizes the reflective process of Viseo Divina with sacred art that will help you explore the topic of vocation and the model of Jesus.
Power of Community: This reflective activity challenges us to think about the gifts we bring to the table.
Sacred Stuff and Holy Moments: This reflective resource offers an opportunity to explore the theology of sacrament in our tradition.
Seasonal Group Review: As we close out a cycle, complete a project, or review a process, a team leader facilitates this process to allow group insights to emerge.
Nuts and Bolts
- Keep a file, build a small library of go-to resources. Share with others.
- Ask those who lead good reflections to share their resources and best practices with you.
- Always credit sources of creative work. Seek permission from artists (or their publishers) to use their work.