Traveling from near and far around the globe, I and five co-presenters have descended onto Salt Lake City for the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions. It’s been an illuminating experience thus far, replete with large doses of piqued curiosity, inspiration, hopefulness, and, if I’m honest, a little trepidation.
I am a first-time attender and presenter of this conference and hope for the opportunity to attend again in the future. But, for now, I am content in the opportunity to connect with old and new friends, and to expose new audiences to the work of LOVEboldly through my part in our workshop, “When Sacred Convictions Collide: Making Dialogue Work Across our Deepest Divides” on Monday afternoon. For those who are following us from afar, please pray for our presentation. We are thrilled to be sharing how to have faithful, productive dialogue on faith and sexuality and across sacred divides.
For those of you here with me in Salt Lake City, I offer here some survival tips for this weekend in a spirit of collegiality (and humor).
- Take time to recharge. Both you and your cell phone need it. Between endless tweeting, friending people, and consulting the app over and over again to decide between the five presentations you just have to attend (all inevitably happening at the same time) you need some time to rest. Trust me – you’ll absorb things better if you do.
- Leave early. I know there’s a map of the convention center. And it’s supposed to be helpful. But let’s be honest – that convention center is more confusing than those “easy-peasy” Ikea-build-your-own-furniture diagrams! So leave early to find the session you want to attend. Otherwise, you’ll be that lady sneaking in the back because you got lost for thirty minutes while trying to find Ballroom B.
- Drink water. Lots of it. At all times. Chug. This elevation in Salt Lake City is no joke. Also, do not leave that hotel room without your chapstick. Just. Don’t. Do it.
- Prioritize getting to know people. This is more important than getting to the five workshops you want to attend (even *gasp* the one at which we are presenting tomorrow). Relationships will stick with you after we all have gone back home. Those friendships, across boundaries that don’t normally get transcended, have the power to transform your life. Workshops are great, but friendships are more important.
- Write it down. Blog, journal, take notes. When you get home, you’ll want to remember. It will help you immensely to have access to the wisdom and inspiration you’ve found here. Writing also helps you process what you’ve learned and experienced. So, stay present in the moment with notes and decompress afterwards in your journal. You’ll thank me later.
What about you, #2015Parliament attendees? What tips would you add to the list?