Friday, January 21, 2011

A Knock on the Door...

Yesterday there was a knock at my 10 St. Mary st. office door and T. peeked in.

The office door.
 I love unexpected visitors and in my line of work I am happy to say they are not unusual.  It had been awhile for T. though.  "I just wanted to say Hi. I don't want you to think I've forgotten about D&P." T. helped give numerous presentations to various schools and communities on our mining campaign about two years ago, traveling from the east to the west of the Archdiocese.  I had set T. up with his friend D. to give those presentations (another young D&P superstar) after he came into my office off the street and told me with a pure heart that he needed to give something to the world to make it a better place.  I brought both of them with me for a presentation to give them a taste before sending them out on their own.  T. gave me advice, "You have to put the youth in the shoes of those who are suffering, make them feel what they feel." My method had been a bit too technical.  So, I created a meditation piece for the mining campaign that turned out to be on of my best tools for the campaign.

Last year T. had to pull back to focus more on his post-secondary studies. I missed him, so was happy to see that indeed he had not forgotten us. "You know, I look back and that was one of the best times of my life." he told me. It gave him such pleasure to be meet different youth and to help them to see how they too could show their care for others.  He thanked D&P for giving him that opportunity. We talked about the current D&P campaign, my family and his life plans.

After shaking hands he went on his way.  I sat down at the computer and made sure his e-mail "therevolutionone@..." got added to our list-serve as I promised him it would be.

My day was made.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paper Cranes and Church Hymns

Annual Toronto DC Speaker's Bureau Training

This morning seven Development and Peace members braved the snow to spend a morning with me honing their public speaking skills.  They are now prepared to join the D&P Speaker's Bureau. The bureau responds to requests from groups, schools, and churches who would like to hear about the mission of Development and Peace.  Many of these requests come from parishes during the Sharelife campaign. The Archdiocese of Toronto, through Sharelife, contributes more money to D&P than any other diocese (in part owing of course to its massive size).

We started off with an ice breaker that was also a trust builder.  Each participant was invited to stand up, share their favourite church hymn with the group and then sing a line from it for everyone.  Yes, most people's idea of a perfect nightmare.  I consider myself lucky to work a job where I can share in people courageously facing their fear to share something they believe in with others!  The exercise was beautiful (and, I might add, the group had good taste!)

No workshop is a workshop without sticky notes.  So, standing in a circle, each person wrote their biggest public speaking fear on the sticky note, using the back of the person to their right as a support.  There was a blue box in the middle of the circle as my initial idea was  to have everyone then throw away their fears.  However, I realized it wasn't really consistent with the butterfly metaphor I had just shared with them.

When I was young, I remember my father telling me to use the butterflies in my stomach instead of getting rid of them.  Butterfly energy, properly channeled, can become a powerful force that will help you give an amazing presentation.  So I told everyone, "instead of squashing the butterflies or trying to get rid of them, set them free.  If you can release them and set them free, you can watch them fly and they become something beautiful."

Turning fears into paper cranes....
SO, taking the fears and throwing them in the blue box seemed not to be consistent.  In the moment I had an inspiration - We all got down on our hands and knees and we made paper cranes out of the stickies, those who knew how helping those who did not.  I had to use  paper cranes because I don't know how to make an origami butterfly (anyone?)

Last night I spent time looking for a public speaking tips list or something I could lazily copy and give as a handout.  However, I couldn't find anything good and didn't have time to make my own list.  Instead, the group reflected today on the last amazing presentation they attended.  From that we were able generate our own rather impressive tips list - including 'the finger trick'!  Thanks to modern technology, each participant walked away with an electronic copy of that document.

We shared lunch and went back out into the snow.

And so, I can now say that the whole organization of Development and Peace is more prepared to spread the good news of its mission than it was 5 hours ago. Should you have the chance to hear someone from the Speaker's Bureau speak, see if you can catch a glimpse of those flying butterflies, soaring to the tune of sacred music.