Reflections on the 2015 Carmel Retreat

By Associate Kai Marks

As one might well imagine, creating a wondrous and grace-filled retreat begins long before the first gathering on Friday evening at Villa Angelica in Carmel.

A few months ago, members of the Associate Board read Dan Ebener’s book, Blessings for Leaders. This book provoked discussions both about the many manifestations of leadership and the many ways in which a person can lead—as well as the need for leaders to cultivate emotional intelligence.

These discussions led us to select the theme: “God’s Gift to You: Leadership.”

We were fortunate to have facilitator Eileen Healy with us, who is an expert in the field of emotional intelligence. Ms. Healy is a marriage and family therapist, life coach, speaker, author, mother, grandmother, and she is also the co-founder and CEO of the Emotional Intelligence Training Institute.

Ms. Healy defines emotional intelligence as, “The ability to recognize one’s own emotions and the emotions of others and to respond to those emotions in a healthy way.”

Many of those who attended the retreat appreciated the way Ms. Healy customized the presentation to the particular interests of SND Associates, acknowledging that our leadership as Associates can take a variety of forms—from providing hospitality at a meeting to organizing a soup kitchen. Having a high degree of emotional intelligence is an essential part of our ministry and helps us ensure that our hearts are indeed as wide as the world. Like the size of our hearts, emotional intelligence can be increased over the course of a lifetime. As we continue to live out the truth that God is good, cultivating our emotional intelligence will only enhance our work.

In addition to a fine retreat program, we were blessed to be able to enjoy each other’s company and the incredible food that was lovingly and expertly prepared by Associate Aulani Cler and Loretta Gilder.

As we reflect on our 2015 Memorial Day Weekend Retreat, we know we have much to be grateful for. The blessings of friendship and the tools for deepening our ministry will serve us for a lifetime.

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