To help participants to become more fully human by:
- Appreciating beauty
- Building effective relationships
- Clarifying a life purpose
- Deepening self-awareness and self-control
- Embracing new life skills
The Spiritual Inventory
The course begins with a 54 question spiritual inventory, conducted 1-1 by a coach who will normally continue to work with the same person throughout the year. This inventory often forms part of the decision-making process for those considering signing up for a course. The coach will then feed back a summary of the inventory through a two page report, offering pointers and suggestions the individual may wish to follow as the course progresses, based on their inventory scores. Each participant will repeat this inventory in the middle and at the end of the course, measuring progress against their own ideals and goals.
The Course Structure
The course then proceeds in four phases. Each phase is 6-8 weeks long, consisting of spiritual exercises aimed at forming and retaining good life habits, a 1-1 coaching session in the middle, and a two hour group session at either end. Each group session rounds off the previous phase and introduces the next. Each phase invites participants to consider both external behaviour and deeper heart issues.
Phase 1: Appreciating Beauty
Recognizing and appreciating beauty is a prerequisite to creating it. But it’s easy to rush through life not noticing or dwelling on beauty in its many-splendoured forms. We work on this area first, exploring our connections with culture and nature, because it offers the fastest progress in the shortest time. Most people instinctively know how to energize themselves better through their eyes and ears - they simply need to get on and do it. But we also ask participants to carry out an exercise in which they reflect on what would constitute a “beautiful” and “successful” life for them.
Phase 2: Relationships
Some of the most awesome beauty in the world can be seen in the remarkable creatures we call human beings. Sadly they can be some of the most ugly too. So at the start of this second phase we provide some training in communication skills at a level determined by the inventory scores of the group, and we invite participants to practice these skills during the weeks following. This time we invite participants to go deep by starting work on a life map. An optional enhancement to the course is available for individuals or companies which have previously identified relational skills as an individual or corporate weakness. This enhancement seeks to build Emotional Intelligence in more depth, setting it in the context of integrity, moral courage and an others-centred paradigm. It involves an extra five hours of contact time.
Phase 3: Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is largely about connecting well what we see with what we do. On the one hand, there is the principle of delayed gratification. One of the things that distinguishes us human beings from the animals is our ability to reject what comes naturally in favour of a higher goal. Our boundless creativity is such that we have produced all kinds of possibilities that are bad for us. On the other hand, we see an opportunity to help and miss it, we see a chance for adventure and draw back, we see a vision of humanity and fail to enter into it. Avoiding the bad and pursuing the good takes focus and practice. It may also require patience and forgiveness. As self-discipline is also about wise use of resources, there is a group exercise during this phase aimed at building a culture of generosity.
Phase 4: Mission
Who am I and what do I really want? Many of the earlier threads of the course come together now in this final phase. In “The Adventure of Living”, Paul Tournier describes the three phases of life as “naissance, connaissance and reconnaissance” - birth, knowledge and thankfulness. What will it take to look back on life and be thankful, when life is dominated by being more than doing, by memories more than action? What is my place on planet earth? How do I relate to humanity? How do I see ultimate reality? Each participant is invited to give a short talk in the closing session on one such heart issue that touches on their own sense of identity and mission, fostering a culture of appropriate self-disclosure, storytelling and ongoing accountability.
Over the three years we have run the course, 80% felt that it helped them draw more energy from culture and nature, 80% felt it had helped them build more effective relationships, 80% felt it had helped them grow in self-control, 97% felt it had helped them grow in self-awareness, 66% felt they had become clearer on their life purpose and 69% felt they had developed new life skills.
Our next course starts in April 2012 in Birmingham city Centre. Group sessions are Thursdays: 26th April; 7th June; 19th July; 6th September; 25th October 10am-12noon Coaching dates interleave with these but with some flexibility on timing and location.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free confidential spiritual inventory. Not only is this a valuable exercise in itself, it is also the best way to decide whether or not to sign up for the course.