VIRTUES are the basis of genuine happiness…the elements of the human spirit…the truest expression of our souls.
Vitalizing Our Virtues
is a community building virtue development support group developed by Baha’is in Yellow Springs. These support groups provide a unique opportunity to initiate positive change in our lives. This may be just what your soul is seeking for nourishment, inspiration and healing. If you are interested in forming a group in your neighborhood or among friends and acquaintances we will give you the support you need in order to get started. Email us at VitalizingOurVirtues@gmail.com .
Why Develop Our Virtues?
The benefits of improved spiritual and emotional health, greater happiness and overall well-being can be acquired from developing our virtues. In turn this will have a positive influence on our relationships and other social interactions.
Virtues are prerequisites for successful and sustainable change:
To lose weight, break a bad habit or practice a healthier lifestyle (detachment, perseverance and self-control are needed).
To control that temper (patience, tolerance, compassion or understanding may be lacking).
To recover from a loss or let go of an unhealthy relationship (acceptance, detachment, resilience, or independence can promote healing and initiative).
To endure an ongoing hardship or affliction (detachment, optimism, patience, perseverance would help us overcome). etc.
Virtues are a common golden thread through all religions and have served to uplift humanity. Virtues of trustworthiness and justice are the foundation for a peaceful society. Virtues such as kindness and love are like flowers that bring joy and beauty to the world.
Format and Structure
Tea and Fellowship:
Each participant will have the opportunity to host the group if desired. (15 minutes)
We begin with focused attention on our concerns and hopes for ourselves and the world. This is done in an inclusive way that allows people from different traditions or ways of thinking, to participate together. Some may do this through prayer, an affirmation, a musical selection, or poetry. Together we will also read passages on virtues from different traditions. We can thus increase our cultural literacy as we learn to understand each other better. This process helps to strengthen the virtues of acceptance, appreciation, open-mindedness, tolerance, understanding, and unity. Participants may contribute inspirational or spiritual writings, poetry, or a musical selection if they wish. The facilitator will also offer a selection of prayers and writings on each topic (virtue) that participants can choose from and a musical selection as time allows. (15 minutes)
Virtues Reflection Cards:
Each virtue is described in detail. Practical action statements on how to practice the virtue and an affirmation are part of each card. One person reads the card and shares with others how it speaks to them. The card is passed around for each to reflect and share. (See Virtues Reflection Cards) (30 – 40 Minutes) Download Virtue List
The Virtue Incident Report:
Participants can share a meaningful “Virtue Incident” they experienced or observed first hand in a family member, friend, stranger, co-worker, employee, etc… during the previous weeks that touched or impressed them. (5-10 minutes)
Personal Virtues Work:
Each participant declares to the group 1-3 virtues they would like to work on and practice. Sharing why you choose that particular virtue is entirely optional, as your reasons may be too personal. At a subsequent meeting each person can share their progress or challenge with practicing their chosen virtues in their daily life. Other group members can then briefly offer constructive feedback or encouragement, if and when appropriate. Different virtues to be practiced can be declared at each meeting, or the same virtues can be worked on for as long as the participant wishes. (5-10 minutes per person, also includes possible feedback)
Journaling: Journaling is encouraged between sessions.
Please Note: This group is not intended to become a therapy group to help members solve difficult personal problems. However, as we learn to discern the virtues we need to call forth, we will be empowered to peacefully resolve many of life’s challenges.
This format was designed by Brook Oberst, a Yellow Springs resident and retired social worker. She has been hosting a group of seven women for more than three years. Meeting duration is 2-2.5 hours and has a maximum of eight members due to the time needed for interpersonal sharing. Consistent participation is preferable to foster a supportive and trusting atmosphere. Occasionally this group may have an opening. If you are interested in forming a group you are welcome to come as a guest.
Comments from Participants:
For years I have been working on improving my patience and tact. This support group helps put these virtues in the forefront of my mind and aids my accountability in working on them. Luan H.
I look forward to each gathering as a chance to bring my focus back to my behavior and how I can work on improving my relationships with others. The virtues I’ve been working on have changed over the years and the supportive environment of the group has allowed me to gain insights into what I can do to effect positive changes within myself. Kim K.
A neighbor women’s group has been formed in the Thistle Creek neighborhood. They follow a modified version of this format. We will assist you in getting your own neighborhood group started.
If interested please email us at VitalizingOurVirtues@gmail.com .