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Check In Thursday October 18th

Adapted from an Article written by Tim Moloney cfc

We, as a Congregation of Brothers, are in the borderlands, a landscape that challenges those present to
communicate without our usual supports or defences when we are in our familiar ‘home’ places. In the
borderlands we have to be who we are, not who we think we are. I am often amused when looking at
images, of Edmund Rice, that Brothers will express their disdain for the computer-generated image that
was forensically created from the skull structure of Edmund. As a result, many choose images of
Edmund they like, most of which do not look like him at all but suggest some admirable characteristic(s).
It is similar with us, we struggle to express our true self and often show the false self because it is more
expeditious to so. To show our vulnerability requires courage and that is hard to do all day every day.

However, when the opportunity arises, and it is safe to do so, can I allow myself the chance to show
others what I really feel or think? Yes, it may be dangerous and risky but we will not know until we do.
Recently we have been reminded by that our Brothers culture is or has the potential to be toxic because
it doesn’t encourage gentleness, love, compassion and intimacy, values which the 2014 Nairobi Chapter
call the Brothers to promote in their daily living and being in right relationship with each other. These
are values which are the foundation for healthy, human living. Matthieu Daum, the facilitator for
Congregational Leadership Group, who has developed 7 principles for Generative Listening.
In brief, they are:
1. Slowing down and noticing more of what is present in the other
2. Listening with all my senses as I contemplate the other
3. Listening to the words / images chosen by the one speaking
4. Listening to the emotions conveyed by the person who is talking
5. Suspending judgement of the other
6. Noticing what I don’t understand or what trigger questions for me, rather than what I don’t
like about what I hear.
7. What do I feel as I listen to what is being said – and why?

Critical in all of this is being aware that emotions, expressed and unexpressed, are the bedrock of a
person’s presence in the world, the roots of someone’s mental models, thoughts and actions. For solid
relationships to grow and be nurtured, the sharing of one’s experience and affective responses is the
place where community develops and is desired. I would add that we are as sick as our secrets and if we
are secretive we run the risk of shutting others out.

Fr Gerry McGlone, SJ a psychologist, speaking to a group of Brother formators in Lusaka, September

2016, said “if you want your Brothers to die, just neglect them”. Gerry added that he saw neglect is as
bad as any form of abuse. If we think back to places we have lived and worked and where we felt most
alive, I suspect we were connected and involved with others. We were probably affirmed and confirmed
in out ministry and vocation. Neglect is not the ideal seed bed for this to happen, in fact, it would soul
destroying. If I don’t talk from my feeling space I keep inside my true self, my inner self and do not let
others who I really am. This requires setting the context that is respectful and safe. In the borderlands of
community living, we all need to speak from the heart where our true self is seen as “emotions are the
bedrock of a person’s presence in the world, the roots of someone’s mental models, thoughts and
actions”, courageous enough to leave the space open for conversation, signs of life have emerged.
Adapted from an Article written by Tim Moloney cfc
When you reflect over your past week/fortnight when:

1. Have you experienced being in ‘borderlands?

2. When have you shown your false self?

3. What is your experience of using Generative Listening?

4. When have you been aware of your emotions?

5. Have you experienced ‘neglect’?