Over the recent fall break, our lacrosse team went on our yearly retreat to the Loyola retreat center located in western Maryland. I took advantage of this time to practice the self-observation required to complete the second iExamen. Throughout the course of this past Saturday I said only what was kind, useful and true.
The retreat atmosphere can at times making communicating in this way incredibly easy at times, to the extent that it almost feels like cheating. Obviously a retreat, especially a Jesuit retreat involves a lot of reflection. While engaged in these retreat activities it was easy to only say things that are kind, useful and true. When ever I would say something to someone or about someone it was always very positive.
There is a flipside to the atmosphere being conducive to saying only things that are kind, useful and true. Spending so much time with forty of your closest friends usually leads to some or many comments that while not malicious are definitely not kind, useful or true. I had to take great care to not give any of my friends a hard time.
At the end of the day I took some time to reflect on how I had communicated with everyone throughout the day. Even though it is fun to give your friends a hard time and mess with them, but I would say it is more fulfilling to have conversations in a more positive manner.