Listening Actively to Cultivate My Individuality – Personal Reflection from the IPTP Leadership Retreat in Seattle

December 11, 2018

Contributed by Kevin Shi, Northwest Shinnyo-en Youth Association, Seattle

Kevin Shi was one of the Youth Association (YA) members in Seattle who attended the Infinite Paths to Peace (IPTP) Leadership Retreat that Shinnyo-en Foundation (SEF) sponsored at Talaris Conference Center, Seattle WA from November 9th to 11th of this year. This retreat was the fifth of the IPTP Leadership Retreat Series 1 after New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Retreat Series 1 will be continued and concluded in Oahu, HI in March and Retreat Series 2 in New York will be rolled out in April 2019. Every step of the way to design, develop and deliver the series of the IPTP Leadership Retreats, SEF is working closely with YA leaders and Search Institute in Minneapolis, MN to support Shinnyo-en youth’s leadership and spiritual development.

Please read along Kevin’s personal reflection on the Seattle retreat below after his Home Group photo.

“The first installation to the Infinite Paths to Peace Leadership Training series was, simply put, an amazing experience where I was able to stretch and develop my innate leadership skills. Among the skills and lessons I learned, I was surprised that active listening was the most important. Here’s how I came about that realization. First, I was given the opportunity to facilitate one of the several Home Groups. The expectation to be responsive and accommodating as a Home Group facilitator was daunting at first, but ultimately, the brief exercise in active listening done on the first day helped me tune into the needs of each individual as well as the overall atmosphere of the group. My innate leadership instincts naturally followed my perception of the group’s needs and the whole process of being a Home Group facilitator came easier than expected.

One of the most helpful training activities further stressed the importance of our own innate leadership potential. Rather than holding myself to the exact image of Buddha, the Shinnyo Parents, or Ryodoji, I learned to cultivate my individuality – my unique strengths and weaknesses as a person and leader are important and valuable, and only by cultivating my individuality can I reach my full potential. Acceptance of myself, it turns out, is the key to being my best self. Who would have thought! And so, I will continue to actively listen not only to others but to myself, and perhaps through this process of self-acceptance will I be able to rid of my own ego and wholeheartedly focus my attention on the needs of others in a way only I can as a unique individual.”

More photos from the retreat in Seattle can be found by following the link here.

You may also read the article about the three other Infinite Paths to Peace Leadership (IPTP) Retreats that took place in other Shinnyo-en temple communities in 2018 here and the inaugural IPTP Leadership Retreat in New York in 2017 here. All of the photos from the IPTP Leadership Retreats and other SEF sponsored programs can be found at PHOTO GALLERY under MEDIA & RESOURCES menu on our website.