The past three weeks I’ve been thrilled (though initially, quite daunted) to be participating in the God’s Way Volunteer Selection Programme. Below is an outline of what those days have been like. The facilitators have assured me that it’s okay for me to be sharing the outline and tasks we’ve worked on publicly. 🙂
Today we were indoors watching Eloisa and Tristan do informative discussions on a variety of relevant topics. They reiterated the purpose of the programme, did a safety review quiz and spoke about emotional safety. They also talked through the running of the scrap run and Tris took us outside to give us a demonstration. The key principles for the God’s Way programme are:
- Persistence (bonus principal, spontaneously added on the day)
Eloisa said that these principles are also true of our desires – not just our difficult emotions. With a desire we need to be:
- Transparent – this is where we go, ‘Yep! I have this desire to work on X. I really want this!’
- Humble – let ourselves feel how we really feel about it. Let the feeling of desire be there without trying to shut it down.
- Take responsibility for it – this is where we experiment or take a step forward. Like Mary said, “If you take action the emotion will come up.” We feel what comes up as a result of our step forward, but we…
- …Persist! – Keep feeling and keep experimenting. We’ll cycle through numbers 1-3 over and over as we grow in our desire. As Eloisa said, “To develop your attitude, it’s about the choices that you make.” So keep making choices that develop the kind of character you aspire to have.
I found that this way of looking at desires was very inspiring – so thank you Elo!
It was an excellent environment to be in to learn and self-reflect and both Tris and Elo were really engaging and interesting presenters. All in all, it was a really inspiring start to the program. I thought a lot during the afternoon and evening about my direction, and assessed my desires to help the world and to work with God’s Way.
This morning I was pulled aside early by Elo and Tris and given some feedback about the way I treat Tris in our relationship. I was told that if I am to be a volunteer for God’s Way, if I treat my partner poorly publically or privately, I will be required to discontinue as a volunteer. Yesterday I had an expectation upon Tris to make me feel less uncomfortable, and if I don’t take responsibility for my expectations upon my partner, it’s an issue that compromises love.
Today we were at a property that may be used for accommodation for future God’s Way volunteers. There was an old house and a huge shed that required some serious cleaning. We started off with some public feedback and then discussed the task at hand – cleaning! We were walked through the site and given an overall workplace health and safety assessment of the area. We were told some principles of cleaning, showed where the cleaning product/materials were and tasks to complete. Our homework for the task (writing up a detailed procedure of cleaning a house or shed) was also given to us to complete by 5 days time.
Then we were told to split into two teams and start. Elo and Tris wanted to give us as little direction as possible and allow us to organise our own groups to see what we would learn from this. Our group sat down and had a team meeting where we started to break the task up to the minutia and do a risk assessment before… we were called back as a group. Elo pointed out that we had spent 15 minutes just talking. Why? Because, I at least, was worried about getting things wrong, making a mistake, not being thorough enough etc. We sprang into action this time, perhaps doing a little of the opposite (and not organising or working as a team much). It was a good couple of hours of work before a break and then another hour of work before we finished off. We were not very efficient though (as was pointed out by Tris and Elo), and considering we had a combined work-output of 60 hours, we were far from completion. We had some homework tasks to complete and some great questions to prompt our personal reflections. One question I reflected on was ‘What stopped us (as a group) and me (individually) from being able to work efficiently today?’ We would return to the property to continue what we’d started next week.
Being around Tris was different today after my feedback. Yesterday I had been going up to him and giving (wanting to be given) physical affection and conversation during the breaks. But today we had no physical touch and few interactions. It was better emotionally though, and I became more aware of this heavy expectation that I have upon him. I felt inspired by the idea that I might be able to work through something completely emotionally (rather than my usual way of making change through ‘heavying’, control and manipulation) and have a law of attraction change! An exciting prospect. 🙂
Today one of our key focuses was Teamwork and Leadership. Today, Eloisa and Tris were going to give us direction for the cleaning tasks so that we might experience working together as a team and try and get closer to being efficient, working seamlessly together, and having a tight workflow. Workflow involves placing equal value on time, energy and matter. And we needed to ask ourselves how being given direction in our tasks affected our teamwork (working with others), efficiency/economy, thoroughness and our ability to provide a service. What are all my attitudes to the above? How does my part in the task and responsibility of the task affects others (before and after me)? The attitudes and emotions that come up to do with workflow highlight some of the obstacles I have to God. Some of God’s Principles to be aware of today are Love, Economy, Function and Responsibility.
We were encouraged to speak up, even if we feel we’ll get in trouble. We might still receive feedback we perceive as negative. “It’s great you spoke up. Now there’s an issue of love we need to address.” I think this requires bravery and I really want to develop this ability to speak my mind and be unafraid of feedback.
Elo and Tris also designed a new role – support workers – who replenish everyone’s buckets of water and rags if needed. This was a fantastic idea and made such a big difference to the time cleaners could spend cleaning.
Eloisa and Tris circulated through the area and gave personal feedback when they saw an issue of love that was affecting someone. They also did general checks on how the cleaning was going. When we were finished a task, they were aware of what task needed to be done next and would provide us direction as to where to go now.
This was a very different experience to Day 2. While we still spent the first 15 minutes of the morning a bit frantic (for me, this is about wanting to be doing ‘the right thing’ so I don’t get in trouble and do get approval), the whole vibe of the day was much more calm. It was really efficient and we achieved a great deal more in the time we had versus Day 2. Interestingly, myself and a few others became much more tired than Day 2 as well and I personally took several days to recover, where I felt tired physically and less motivated to work on my homework and other tasks. I did feel emotionally open the whole day and felt stuff while I was cleaning, so I’m not really sure yet why I became so tired. I might need to explore some of my feelings about working with others, following direction/leadership and control.
We were given some more homework to add to our homework from Day 2 and told about the coming week.
We started the day with a reminder as to why we’re here; God’s Way is looking for volunteers who are passionate and desirous, who want to give gifts to the world and you want to serve. The programme is an opportunity to learn about what our issues are and how we respond to situations and challenges – this is what the facilitators are examining in us also. Who is suitable to be a volunteer? The attitude will need to be suited to working with God’s Way and Divine Truth.
We were given some group feedback about some anger that had come up for some of us on Day 2, and reminded that anger highlights that we have an addiction.
- Our collective change of attitude on Day 3 also indicated that we want to be managed and directed, and often we want to be validated when giving a gift. I need to identify what emotions I want out of ‘giving’. For me, I can see that I want to feel like I’m a good person.
- Elo and Tris also talked about some participants projecting anger at the facilitators and fellow participants. This is not okay. If I project anger at my team-mates then I am undermining their self-esteem, trying to shut them down and attacking them. The same applies to projecting anger at the facilitators.
- A group of us felt very tired on Day 2, and others on Day 3. Feeling very tired shows there is resistance to emotion or pushing myself beyond my capabilities (which also comes from an emotion inside of us).
I was given some feedback about when I was asked to work with a fellow participant on Day 2, but we soon decided to work separately, which was due to both of us not getting our addictions met by the other person.
We were also encouraged again to be transparent – to share our selves, share information we thought would help the process and to be honest about our feelings.
We were also reminded that God’s Way Ltd is trying to do things God’s Way. This is going to highlight our own issues when we are not in harmony with doing things God’s Way. These issues are going to come up.
A suggestion was given for homework to look at ‘What is service?’ and reflect about this in ourselves. God’s Way is looking for volunteers who are humble, responsible, open and transparent, willing to own their issues – not blame them on others, have an attitude of service, want to challenge our addictions, work together and want to serve a higher purpose.
We were given tasks to complete the house cleaning. A few different emotions came up for me at this time and I received some feedback from Tris about arguing with Eloisa due to feeling that I needed my emotion validated.
For the first two hours, we each had a job, but when it came down to mopping, less people were needed. Those that weren’t needed went back to the house to eat lunch. I wanted to help out with the mopping so stayed on. This ended up highlighting a big issue that I have as we weren’t able to have as long a lunch break before we needed to get started with the afternoon’s activities. I instantly blurted out, “But that’s not fair!” and any feelings I had of wanting to serve were completely clouded over by my upset and indignance that things didn’t seem ‘fair’ to me. After I’d blurted it out I realised how much feeling entitled to getting what I want and what I think is ‘fair’ stops me from developing a good attitude to serving others.
The afternoon we spent doing group work, as we needed to collate our individual documents (procedure for cleaning) into one detailed, thorough and logical (well, that’s the aim!) cleaning manual. I was in a group with three others. This was a rich experience and I came away with a lot to reflect upon. Intially afraid, I then felt more confident and was as direct and clear in my communication as I am with Tris (on a good day!) and few others. However, afterwards I was concerned that I’ll be told that I’d been bossy and domineering during the process and really began to question myself. While this is a concern I have to work through, my philosophy at the moment is to try my best to keep being loudly me, and try to embrace any feedback when it comes.
That’s it for the first section of reflections from the programme so far. Hopefully it’s given you a bit of a taster as to how the days flow and what is spoken about. For the next update it’s likely that I’ll structure things differently, and rather than taking you through day by day, I’ll chunk it into themes and major personal reflections.