Thoughts from California

In mid-January, we sent two of our staff and our two Student Leadership Interns to California for Rob Bell’s Finding Your Groove workshop. When they got back we asked them to reflect on the trip. Here’s what they had to say.

How was the experience of taking The Lift on the road?

Aaron: I got to know our interns, Moto and Christopher, a lot better. Living with them, hearing childhood stories, and listening to their daily reflections helped me understand who they are on a whole new level.

Christopher: Spending time in Los Angeles afforded me a fresh view of where I am in life. And while there were many new things that caught my interest in Los Angeles, much of the experience made me think of home.

Sandra: I learned that Moto snores! Aside from that, getting out of my usual context helped me see challenges differently, come up with new ideas, and return home with new energy.

What kind of new ideas did you learn at the conference?

Aaron: Rob Bell talked about Spiral Dynamics, a developmental model of worldviews. Rather than putting people in categories, it shows that we are all on a spectrum of phases. 

Christopher: And that there is a range of interconnected personality types.

Aaron: It’s a tool that will be helpful in the leadership programs as well as in personal relationships. 

Christopher: I also liked the idea of spiritual weight. Everything has an affect on how one feels. For example, a dirty room would be a disruptive part of someone’s ability to focus.

Sandra: I learned that we only have the capacity to do a few things. Everything new I take on borrows energy from something else, so it’s important to be clear on which few things I’m doing and get rid of the things that are taking up time.

What’s something you’ll do differently moving forward?

Sandra: I’m going to get clear on which things I’m doing, create structure for them, and set boundaries. I need a sustainable rhythm of life.

Aaron: I think the way I teach and relate to people will be different. Now that I have a better framework for understanding where people are at in their worldview, it will be easier to meet them there.

Christopher: Because I have a new and deeper understanding of the other staff members, my approach to interacting with them will change. Spending four days with them in tight quarters was valuable to our ability to work as a team.

If you had to pick one favorite moment from the trip, what would it be?

Aaron: I loved the last day at Santa Monica Beach. As we each reflected on the past three days, it became evident that the trip was really meaningful to each of us. However, it was the first three days that made the last one special.

Christopher: The best thing for me was returning to The Lift the following week. All of the positive energy and new information from Los Angeles had begun to settle in. I feel like I can more effectively contribute to The Lift’s efforts in the community.

Sandra: It was great to see how invested the interns were. At dinner each day we talked about our likes, dislikes, and what we learned that day. On the first night, Moto was sad that time was going by and we would have to go home in a couple of days. We prepared and ate a healthy meal together (along with tater tots). We chopped, mixed, seasoned, ate, laughed, spoke, and listened. There are few things as simple and profound as sharing a table.