Do the people in your action group really know each other? Do they easily laugh together and cry together? Do they share their inner thoughts and feelings in an atmosphere of reciprocal transparency? Has your group gelled?
Intimacy doesn’t come easy these days. People hide behind flawless exteriors, vocational accomplishments, and popular plaudits. We become expert in the art of wearing purposefully placed masks that disguise our real self.
Sometimes in our action group meetings, we can get so focused on the lesson, on the 7-steps gospel sharing that is the foundation for Spirit-inspired enlightening insights, that we forget to give people a chance to share more intimately about their life’s journey. Maybe someone is afraid of sounding out-of-place or stupid so he or she keeps quiet. Maybe someone believes that his/her sharing should be as structured or as inspiring as the breakfast testimony last week. Maybe someone talks on and on about his or her accomplishments, in the process building a wall to hide his or her problems, disappointments or hurts. Maybe someone is intimidated by the others in the group and is afraid of speaking out.
Nothing will enhance deep friendship, group bonding, and, in turn, spiritual growth more than sharing about the happenings in our lives, and little by little breaking down the barriers we have erected. If we are the action group leader, we should consciously provide each person an opportunity to talk about himself or herself in a non-threatening way.
Topics for life-sharing should be such that members are encouraged to open up about themselves. They should be excited to participate and to enable others to join in the discussions. Here are some questions to get you started.
What was the best gift you ever gave? Received? Why?
In terms of a TV program, how would you describe your present family life? “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Touched by an Angel,” “ER”, etc. Explain your answer.
What has brought you the most joy in the last year (or 5 years)?
If you could invite anyone to your house for dinner, whom would it be? Why?
If you auditioned for a dramatic presentation, what kind of part would you prefer – the bida?, the contrabida? The talkative neighbor? The innocent victim?, etc. Explain your answer.
Reprinted from KAPATIRAN Magazine, May-June 1997