Thursday, February 12, 2009

Moalboal vacation (2009-Jan)

Retreats keep me grounded and will prevent me from burning out. I regularly took them when I was in Afghanistan for two years, in Timor-Leste for three, and after my short stint in Bangladesh.  This year I scheduled Moalboal to be a reflection-cum-diving vacation. I prepared an eight-day schedule that included events and aspects that I needed to reflect on, and the scuba dives that I would take in between.

One of the things I reflected on was My Life Timeline. Using a spreadsheet program (I use Open a firm believer in open architecture), I noted dates of significant events in my work and personal life. For example, the entry on 2006-Feb-23 when I first arrived in Dili (Timor-Leste): Assume post of resident country director for NDI. The entry on 2006-August-12: PADI Advance Open Water Diver course with Bernardo. I found the exercise to help capture meaning in my life. Thanks to the practice of timelines and work plans at work.  It gave me the idea of using it for my own life timeline. I suggest you find time to try doing your own life timeline.

Here's a sample of my schedule in Moalboal:

Day 2/8: Sunday, 11 January
Review of the last three years in Timor-Leste
Dive afternoon 1 - Sampaguita
Continue:  Review of the last three years in Timor-Leste
Output: Simple life timeline
Review of life and professional growth: Challenges and my responses, and opportunities missed
Prayer time: Thanksgiving of God's constant manifestation and guidance

My past retreats have been of the religious nature. Jojo, whom you already know from the launching blog, and I have gone on yearly retreats around the time of our wedding anniversary on the 28th of December. We had our initial retreats in Cebu City at the Jesuit Retreat House in Banawa.  The one prior to Moalboal was at the St Scholastica's Convent in Tagaytay. These retreats offered a different commune-ing with God and in viewing my experiences. Simply because it is done in the environment of relative silence, in prayer and meditation, it provided for more introspection and depth. This kind was hard to do, but not impossible, in Moalboal.

In Gratitude: I thank God for the blessings from trying but enriching experiences. Through them I have become a better person. On each scuba dive, I whisper "thank you, Lord" for the wonderful experience of discovering another part of  Your creation.

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