Thursday, June 4, 2009

What Kind of Retreat Appeals to You? and What Moves you to Blog?

This week my retreat planning team met with Father Rusty to go over a little plan we concocted. See, we lead retreats for young adults (defined as ages 18-40). It's a pretty wide range for a single gathering of people, especially seeing as a high school senior and a new parent (for instance) are both at different places in their lives.

We presented an idea to split the group, and proposed mentoring new people on how to lead retreats. I'm excited about this prospect. I feel like our team has done a great job and it would be cool to pass the torch to a new group. So, I think we are going to have an open house and introduce the idea to some promising young adults. If you happen to live in the SF Bay Area and are between 20-35 and are interested, well drop me a note at welcomingspirit [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll send you an invite to our event.

Father Rusty also asked us what we thought about themes for the August young adult retreat. It's a full weekend retreat, and I helped lead it last year. He asked what was going on in our lives and what kind of retreat we'd like to go to. We had a great conversation about possible topics.

One of the ideas that came up was around the fact that we so often feel compelled to constantly check email, text, post a Facebook status, tweet or blog, and the impact this has on real life relationships. Is it possible that in these myriad of ways, we've actually cheapened the connection with many of our social circles? What's gained by reading page after page of updates like "making dinner, then watching TV," "went to the movies and doing my laundry now," or "just checked out the latest Joss Whedon flick"? Are we really connecting, or are we just trying to avoid our true selves, trying to avoid a silence in our home, trying to appear to social and happy?

We went around for a long time about this idea, that with the new "social media," people are actually just having "voyeurships" (a term I made up) by watching the lives of others from a distance, instead of really interacting with those people. I know for me, I'd get more from a 20 minute conversation with my best friend than I would perusing her Facebook page (if she had one). I know I'd get more out of writing, reading a spiritual book, or investing in studying something that interests me than feeding the monster inside me that wants to read just one more tweet, send another IM, or look at another stranger's Flickr set.

For sure, there are many good things about the internet and new ways of connecting. My parents live in a different state than I do. I cherish catching up with them in whatever way I can. In those exchanges, we are aware that time is precious, that we are sharing pictures to share of ourselves because we can not be there in person. And, I've met so many amazing friends here in blogland, and in World of Warcraft, on message boards. Those are also people who share deeply, who live large, who encourage others. They are the ones who are looking to make a real connection, and then work hard to find common ground with other people.

This brings me back to something I really love about the blog "Becoming Me." Angela has a "no guilt" comment policy. She doesn't check stats. She doesn't feel the success of a post relies on the amount of comments. I really applaud her because it's hard to do this. But when you take away those external expectations, I think it allows you share more, without worry. It forces you to get to the heart of the matter and focus on what your passion is.

I know I've rambled a bit, but I really wanted to share the idea that keeps rattling around in the back of my head. I'm making a promise to myself that I'll only tweet if it's something I have a passion for, I'll only blog if the spirit moves me, and I'll only post a Facebook status because I feel moved to do so. Ok, so let's get sharing, friends! Let's use this great medium for good!

2 comments:

Liz said...

You've made some good points. Facebook for me is one of the ONLY avenues that I have to keep up with friends and family. Working third shift;it's not like I can call my day shift friends at 3am. They wouldn't appreciate it. When I get home from work I hardly feel like talking to anyone. Plus, it's once again a time issue. I think we have gotten away from true communication with each other. Makes you wonder what the future will be like.

Paula said...

I agree, Liz. For me, email and Flickr are a great way to keep up with my Mom and Dad. Since we have a 2 hour time difference, its some times hard to catch them on the phone - they're in bed by about 8pm my time.

I also really love that the internet allows people who might have a hard time getting out of the house a way to connect with others.

I guess my "beef" is more about the endless and often pointless chatter that seems to show up on Facebook or Twitter. Nonstop posting that seems to be just for the sake of posting. Often, people don't even know or care who their audience is when they make the posts, because the posts are about them.

I hope the future will force us to make the most of our time. Either virtually or face to face.