Nurturing Spiritual Insight @ Staff Reflection Mornings

This year, I have had the privilege of leading staff reflection mornings at some of our Anglican schools. These mornings have provided staff with an opportunity to spiritually prepare for the term by having some quiet time to think about their personal and professional lives.

The following reflections were offered as a resource for staff to centre themselves and engage in creative and reflective thinking.

Six-Minute Journaling

By Michael Paterson & Liz Crumlish from their book Pastoral Supervision: Creativity in Action

Six-minute journaling, or free writing, is a simple yet powerful exercise. It begins with providing a few carefully chosen words or prompts to spark reflection. For example:

  • This term I hope to…
  • The change I would love to implement is…
  • My focus for this term is…
  • I am grateful for…

Participants are invited to write or type continuously for six minutes without editing their thoughts.

The Outline:

  1. Start with the chosen prompts and write continuously for six minutes.
  2. At the end of six minutes, read over what you’ve written and circle three to five keywords that stand out.
  3. Give your written piece a title, as if it were a book, film, or meme.
  4. Participants share their titles with a small group, and others engage with these titles through wondering questions. These questions are not about the six-minute reflection itself, but about the chosen title, encouraging deeper insights.

Reflecting/Journaling in Colour

By Sybil Macbeth from her book Praying in Colour

Journaling in colour is an active, meditative, and playful practice that results in a visual reminder of the time spent reflecting on our goals, loved ones, fears, or future. This practice requires no artistic skill; the focus is on the process rather than the product.

The Process:

  1. Start by drawing a shape on the page—a triangle, square, squiggly line, or imperfect circle.
  2. Write your name or the name of a person you are thinking about in or near the shape.
  3. Add details like dots, lines, circles, zigzag words, or whatever your hand wants to do. This step is about creating visual images for the mind and heart to remember, not about creating a work of art.
  4. Enhance the drawing with colour, thinking of each stroke and moment as time spent with the person.
  5. Move to another space on the page and draw a new shape for a different person. Repeat the process until you have created an image or icon for all the people who come to mind.

Other Uses of Journaling in Colour:

  • Discerning the Future: Reflect on hopes, dreams, and steps needed to make these dreams come to fruition. Fill the page with ideas, thoughts, potential helpers, and possible ways forward.
  • Thanksgiving: Fill the page with things you are thankful for, enhancing the drawing with colours and designs.
  • Compost Reflection: Write down negative thoughts on your drawing. Keep it for a while, and when ready to let go, bury it in the compost.
  • Amends: Think of people you need to make amends with, writing their names and the wrongs committed. Use the drawing to rehearse making apologies.

Our Deepest Fear

by Marianne Williamson

This reading and questions enable staff to name and reflect on their internal critics while embracing and claiming their gifts and talents. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

our presence automatically liberates others.”

Reflective Questions:

  • How can your understanding of this reading enable you to reach your full potential in your new role?
  • How can these words assist you in quieting your critical voice?

Feedback from staff has been positive with many staff expressing how these mornings have helped them start the term with a renewed sense of purpose and clarity. These mornings have highlighted the value of providing staff with some meaningful way to prepare for the term and the importance of creating space in the busyness of school life so that staff can spiritually reflect on their daily lives.

Tracey Gracey Written by:

Tracey is the School Chaplain for St Peter’s Woodlands and Associate Priest at St Peter’s, Glenelg. She is also the Senior Chaplain for Anglican Schools (SA). Tracey has enjoyed being in school ministry for the past 13 years, where she has been a part-time chaplain at Walford Anglican School for Girls and a full-time chaplain at Pulteney Grammar. Tracey is now enjoying working in team ministry with her colleague and Rector of St Peter’s, Glenelg, Andrew Mintern, where both priests are using their gifts to enhance the school's spiritual life and build relationships with the school community and parish.

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