Center For Life Transitions Logo San Damiano Retreat

LifeSHIFT: Work & the Christian Journey
San Damiano Retreat Center

Danville, California
March 28-30, 2014

“Start by doing something necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

These words of St. Francis of Assisi from over 800 years ago inspired twelve weekend retreatants as they sought clarity in their work/career direction while exploring their faith for guidance and strength.

The San Damiano Retreat Center was named after the dilapidated church where Francis first listened to God’s call to “build My church.” Francis gathered stones and mortar to literally do just that and then began his astounding ministry of living the Gospel while building a following of thousands of “fraters minors” or poor friars.

This retreat was the initial LifeSHIFT in California and people in a variety of work-related transitions participated. Tom Bachhuber, (President of the Board for the Center for Life Transitions) and Jim Briggs, (Executive Director at The School for Applied Theology in Oakland, CA) built community through a balance of presentations, small group work, prayer, solitude and individual, free time. Career planning, job seeking, vocational call and spiritual formation were integrated throughout the weekend.

“The leadership demonstrated high skills in bringing disparate individuals together into a community of “fellow travelers on the way.”

The work of William Bridges, Parker Palmer, Richard Bolles, Edgar Schein and Herminia Ibarra were used while St. Ignatius Loyola, Theresa of Avila, Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen were four sources for spirituality. Jim presented Ignatian Spirituality, offering participants the opportunity to work on aspects of the Spiritual Exercises. Tom’s Booklet Career Planning & Ignatian Spirituality was used as a resource.

“I have never attended a retreat with the combined concentration of career planning and spiritual formation–and it made all the difference. Loved it! I’ve always kept them separate; however now see that must be integrated so that I can remain whole and authentic.”

Participants organized a variety of handouts, articles and exercises into a binder using Career Planning & Job Hunting, Transition, Vocation, Spirituality, and Poems & Prayers categories.

“The materials warrant many hours of reflection and “unpacking.” They are a very valuable “take-away” that will extend the impact of the retreat over weeks, maybe months.”

Karl Barth, perhaps this century’s greatest theologian, comments on how most of us don’t have opportunities for meaningful discussion on faith, spirituality and the challenges of work transition.

“It saddens us that we are cut off from each other, that there is always such different worlds—you in your house and me in my house, you with your thoughts and me with mine. And then we experience the fact that we are mute. Our talk is always such an imperfect, wooden, dead talk. Fire will not break out in it, but can only smolder in our words.”

The LifeSHIFT 2014 participants at the San Damiano Retreat Center opened their hearts and allowed “fire” to break out in them. Hopefully, they also found new meaning and direction for their lives.

“I appreciated the inclusion of poetry and music in the program, in addition to the prayer and meditation. I leave with an up-lifted spirit and many new ideas to ponder and try to integrate into my ongoing discernment process.”

“The most beneficial aspects of the retreat was having time away in a sacred place with facilitators who clearly have deep commitment to their calling and a profound respect for those in their care. My work there validated that I am on the right path and there was great value in our community– meeting people with similar goals and thinking. I wish we had more time together.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that you are utilizing your God given talents and knowledge to assist others at critical and often very stressful times in their lives. Your style is so friendly, inspiring and inclusive. I could see the Holy Spirit working and flowing right thru you. Thank you for all you did to help me and the others in our group!”

LifeShift: Work & the Christian Journey Agenda

Day 1 – March 28, 2014 – Friday Evening

Welcome and Overview
Introductions and Ice Breaker
Introduction to LifeSHIFT
Spiritual Disciplines and Journaling

Day 2 – March 29, 201 – Saturday

Eucharist (Optional)
Transitions—Reflections on Career, Work, Vocation & Faith
Facing your Fears
“Be Not Afraid”
Introduction to Discernment & Ignatian Spirtuality

Life RoadMap Discussion
Strong Interest Inventory
Values Card Sort Small Groups
Individual Work or Rest
Group Process
Supper Silence

Career Flying (Psalm 34) Guided Imagery Activity
Chalice Prayer
Individual Time

Day 3 – March 30, 2014 – Sunday

It’s the Time of Your Life Presentation/Discussion
Closing Eucharist

Putting Pieces Together and Next Steps Worksheet
Departure Activity Balm for the Wilderness
Written Feedback
Closing Prayer I Am With You on the Journey