• 03 Jun - 29 Jul 2023
  • online

Journey Toward Wholeness: A Circle of Trust® Retreat

In five sessions, guided by the Courage & Renewal® approach, we will together create a sacred, confidential space in which to do our own inner work in solitude and community. (Photo by Kevin Bergen on Unsplash)

Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.

– Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

The times are urgent; let’s slow down.

 —  Bayo Okomolafe at https://bayoakomolafe.net/

As spring blossoms into summer or autumn descends into winter, depending on the hemisphere in which you live, how are you faring both inwardly and outwardly? How do you embrace brokenness to move toward the reality of wholeness as challenges deepen in very 21st century ways? How are you staying connected to self, family, friends, community, and the larger earth community as we live in the aftershocks or present reality of a global pandemic; the relentless brutality of racism – head-on for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – and other forms of hatred and othering; uncertainty in many shapes and sizes; and global climate derangement, causing suffering for many on our yet resilient planet. How do we resist turning away from the suffering; with what frame of heart do we turn towards it? How can we allow our hearts to break open instead of break apart? What helps with that; what doesn’t? How do we find the courage to live with awe, joy, and delight at this transformational time?

More questions want to be spoken and considered. Who am I? What is the earth asking of me? What are my gifts to offer? How can what breaks our hearts steer us toward wholeheartedly serving the world as we also care for ourselves and our families? How can my identity and integrity align, so I can serve in the way I am meant to, now, in these times? How can I center rest? How do I stay hopeful and realistic, neither falling into fantasy or cynicism, both detours on the journey toward a new way of living within myself and together on this planet, toward the beloved community of all beings?

We can’t do this work alone; I know I can’t. I invite you to join me on Zoom for five sessions with screen-free breaks and movement. We will embark on a journey, guided by the Courage & Renewal® approach, and together create a sacred, confidential space in which to do our own inner work in solitude and community. In the first four sessions, we will have the opportunity to listen generously to our inner teacher (soul, spirit, still small voice, inner voice, identity and integrity) and to one another in small groups and the whole group, speaking from the heart. Since a Circle of Trust® is enriched by metaphors, we will reflect on “third things”: poetry, prose, images, video, and song. The quality of the space is shaped by the practices that everything we do is invitational, and there is no fixing, advising, saving, or correcting. Instead listening generously and learning to ask open, honest questions open new doors in our relationships with self and others as we journey toward wholeness.

In the culminating session, we will experience Clearness Committees, a powerful 1.5-hour discernment process from the Quaker tradition, adapted for Circle of Trust retreats. One person who wishes to think more deeply about an issue – transitional, vocational, relational, or spiritual – has an opportunity to be the “focus person” while a “committee” of three to six others listens and asks open, honest questions for an hour and a half. Both focus person and committee members alike have a profound experience in this unique way of supporting another human being together in community.

This retreat is based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal. The Courage & Renewal approach, described in Palmer’s book A Hidden Wholeness, focuses on cultivating our inner capacity to live a more authentic, meaningful, and engaged life. Informed by Courage & Renewal Principles, Practices, and Touchstones, we can create a trustworthy, brave space with our attention, imagination, and confidential conversations. Over the course of five sessions, we are able to create a Circle of Trust.

Detailed schedule, all EDT:
June 3, 2023 1:00 – 4:30
June 17 1:00 – 4:00
July 1 1:00 – 4:00
July 15 1:00 – 4:00
July 29 12:00 – 5:30 with Clearness Committee

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