Thursday, January 12, 2006

Salindiwa Article

I found this article when tried to google my name before. I've been wanting to blog it so finally here it is. It is an article that appeared in partnership of Philippine Support Service Agency's (PHILSSA) SALINDIWA newsletter.

The complete text goes like this:

Nurturing the Spirit of Commitment and Passion for Social Transformation
By: Pete E. Rahon

Human being is said to be made of both the physical – "humanness" and the spiritual – "beingness.." Both of these dimensions of our lives need to be taken care of and nurtured. We need nutritious food, exercise and good rest to keep us physically fit but sometimes even with all these factors we seem to be peaceless, hyper-sensitive, emotional, pessimistic, depressed, and frustrated. These perhaps are signs that we forget to look into the other aspect of our lives – our "being." Physical tiredness can be addressed by rest, but the weariness of the mind and the spirit is another thing, so to re-energize we need to Care for the Soul.

So what is care for the soul? It is the more appropriate and updated version or word for Staff Development. It is a phrase coined from by the famous philosopher-monk Thomas Moore in his book of the same title (see related article). The focus is not only left brain or input and lectures but a more dynamic and wholistic approach for nurturing and re-energizing the staff —bringing back their vigor and enthusiasm for work, enhancing their commitment and sustaining their passion for social transformation.

The need to be re-energized, nurtured and sustained is borne out of the appreciation and recognition that people do get burned out. Silence, meditation, and reflection give the staff an opportunity to tune in and express themselves through dyads and group sharing. These activities are occasions for staff to know one another on a deeper level. Thus, understanding and compassion are fostered which in turn leads to smooth relations in the workplace.

How did we do it ? Care for the soul entails workshops and activities on creativity, spirituality, physical exercises as well as lectures and discussions, with lots of fun. Expert resource persons are tapped to facilitate them. Venue is an added feature for these activities. Most of the activities are conducted in various places that are conducive to staff participation, experience and benefit.

Workshops are highly creative and fun since they are a chance for people to play, express and be carefree. Role playing exercises are a big hit. Painting and art activities remind them of their happy kindergarten days ( life was so simple then). Physical activities such as shibashi, trekking, spelunking and swimming are also integrated.

Since the start of the organization from the early days of CO-TRAIN to the present CO Multiversity, staff development, now Care for the Soul is considered as one of the most important aspects of its operation. At least twice a year every summer or midyear and year-end these activities are being conducted. A module poetically and romantically dubbed as Wading in Heart’s Spring (Pagtatampisaw sa Batis ng Puso), was piloted among the staff. The module was a smorgasboard of healing and breathing exercises plus massage (the best part). However, some staff didn’t like the imposed vegetarian diet which later was appreciated (the cook was very good).

When CO Multiversity conducted several consultations with community organizers, it was validated that Care for the Soul is a need among them. To address this the NCR CO Forum has conducted several activities, one of which was the famous life threatening and redeeming river trek in Banahaw. CO Multiversity continues to encourage and lobby funders to look into this need among NGO workers since some funders do not consider such activity as their priority.

Care for the Soul is the need and call of the time. It should be top among organizations agenda. After all, human resource is the best assets of an organization.. It would be ironic if NGOs and POs who are known as advocates of a humane and just society do not address this concern. Care for the Soul should start in our own organizations. Isn’t it "Charity begins at home?"

List of Care for the Soul Activities of CO-TRAIN/CO Multiversity

Banahaw de Tayabas Trek

Eco-tour cum spiritual retreat, where we got a chance to bathe in the famous Tumloy Fall where Hermano Pule used to bathe. We proceeded to a three hour trek to Camp 1 and was told about the significance of low impact mountaineering.


A chance to appreciate the 8th wonder of the world, the Banahaw Rice Terraces, walked down and up the terraces, put on the native costume and had pictorial, then proceeded to Sagada where we had workshops and meditation and spelunking – going into the tunnels of caves and swimming in those cold wells (we have to process the fears of staff to undergo the experience which proves to be so positive after the staff doing it)


We had a values workshop in the beach, singing, playing, picnic and fun swimming. Beach fun for real. Groups were assigned to prepare their own dish and motif. Voila! a delicious meal with beautiful presentation. Then we had a dinner with our Malong costumes, people were turning their heads looking at us fascinated, wondering where we came from.

(note: Boracay was then a real paradise, sans the 'Mall ambience' it has today, ugh!)


Sr. Fina who is now based in Cebu City facilitated the retreat. It was a session for catharsis – well the module was a processing of oneself as to where the individual is at this stage in his life and there was a session on giving and asking forgiveness. A collective dance around the fire was a celebration of newness in relationship. The highlights of course is the underground river tour, swimming and dining at the famous Ka Louie’s Resto

Infanta, Quezon

Family outing, swimming, sleep and eat


Another family outing at Monte Mar Resort. It was a volleyball tournament and a time of horse-play in the pool


Again a family outing, swimming amidst big waves. The night was spent playing charades of old songs and movies.