Monday, August 1, 2011

Chicago ... & all that jazz.

With a new month flattering us with its arrival,
I find that I've been procrastinating writing a certain blog post.
Not necessarily for a slacker reason either, but because I want to be sure to do it justice 
[& I took too many pictures and narrowing it down to just a couple might take years]. 
Okay, maybe it is a slacker reason. 

As you may or may not know, 
I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a part of the delegation from Loyola Marymount University sent to the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) in Chicago. 
Regardless of one's own religion and spirituality, it's hard to deny the merit of Jesuit-based education, and we were lucky enough to be allowed to choose our own path of learning and leadership [i.e. don't let politics/religion get in the way of letting things touch you].

Conference theme? Clearly, "Go forth and set the world on fire!"; a personal favorite quote by St. Ignatius.
A couple of terms you might be curious about: 
Cura Personalis, treating people as individuals and honoring their unique worth, &
Magis, the spirit of generous excellence - striving for the greater good. 
Loyola University Chicago did a truly phenomenal job in welcoming all 25 Jesuit schools present at the conference.  
Our greeting committee!
A) Twitter hashtag: awesome
B) Genius idea of a display!
The second day, we met up in our randomly assigned "Small Groups" and talked about identity. 
That's always an interesting topic for me because I'm definitely the type of person to automatically ask "where are you from?" but the real question is "where do you come from that makes you who you are today?" The latter is just slightly creepier than the abridged version.
Our View from Small Group Discussion
What I really wanted to share with you was the reflective nature of the workshops. Some awesome stuff was discussed, so awesome I felt compelled to take notes...during summer. 
No, but really, seriously, I took real notes too.
Workshop One: Increasing Awareness and Engagement through Mindfulness
Weird, but it made me question my love for raisins. 
We practiced "mindfulness," defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as 
"moment to moment non-judgmental awareness cultivated by paying attention".
There are actual benefits to this other than the stereotyped "love of the world" hippie-esque peace of mind. Just look at #5 in this business article from CBS.
We even got a paper full of resources so that we can host our own mindfulness exercises to share with our student body. E-mail me if you are interested in these links!

Workshop Two: A Win-Win: How to Handle Sticky Work-Place Situations Professionally
The big aha! moment of this workshop was when Kathryn Jackson asked us to think about our "enemies" and what it was about them that was similar to us. 
A great quote  that stays with me is "If you can't get out of it, get into it" && another, "begin with end in mind". It's a lot easier to have a pet peeves peer bonding at the beginning of a project than be annoyed for a length of time and see only the bad in people. 

Workshop Three: The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Two main points: 
1. "You become more powerful the more you give it away"
2. "Listening is the most important communicative skill"

That afternoon was reserved for sightseeing.
This is me in front of the Chicago River :) 
Skip some stuff so this is not a book rather than a post.
Day Three included my personal favorite keynote speech from Art Munin
Workshop Six: Using YOUR Passions to Change the World!
Lauren Shwer did an amazing job at telling her story and encouraging us to embrace our stories, not that we hadn't prior to that. But sometimes it's easier to separate these types of sessions with our own personal backgrounds; sometimes out of necessity [if there is a big group, not everyone can speak in detail] or out of complexity [can you summarize your life in 10 minutes? not even close]. 
The question that we need to constantly ask ourselves is "What have my hands done?" 
That was really touching because, compared to what we wish that they would do, what they have done must not be much, you know?

NJSLC was a great experience, and I feel like I've truly gained through my participation. 
It even encouraged me to write my post about Fair Trade.
That's all about my summer trip to lovely Chicago, aka The Windy City aka Chi-Town.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate this, it's very reflective. I miss you!!


Thanks for the comment! :) xoxo Maya