Creative Courses

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    A Pre-Christmas Retreat: Woodbrooke and the Community of Interbeing

    As Christmas draws very near, this joint retreat provides a wonderful opportunity to open the senses and purify the heart and mind. For many years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the Zen teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. On this weekend we bring Zen and Quaker traditions together. Come and enjoy mindfulness practice and Quaker silent worship, vegetarian food from Woodbrooke’s kitchen and Buddhist and Quaker teaching on joy and peace.

    Dances of Universal Peace: Dancing Into the New Year with Hope and Joy

    “Come into your heart”, holding hands, honouring various religions / spiritual traditions, moving and chanting in a circle. Simple words and simple movements are taught, attuning to love, harmony and beauty: dancing inter-faith. A joyful and powerful experience of oneness, freeing the voice. We move, breathe and sing together, holding hands - like one organism, like a cell in the body, remembering being part of something much bigger than the small self. No singing or dancing experience is required.

    Clearing the Way

    The New Year is a good time to reflect on who we are, what we feel called to do, and what gets in the way. We will explore the nature of the clutter that distracts from our life’s purpose and consider how to create space in our minds and hearts as well as in our living rooms.

    Time set aside: an individually guided retreat

    For this retreat, twelve people will join Timothy Ashworth and Frances Henley Lock in a silent retreat which will utilise spaces set apart from the busyness of the main Woodbrooke building. Meals will be shared in silence in our own quiet space. Participants will be able to use the Art Room and join Meeting for Worship and Epilogue. Each day will include one short talk and one-to-one time with Tim or Frances.

    Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

    For many years Woodbrooke has hosted retreats and weekends which have focused on the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Whether a beginner or experienced, on this weekend retreat you will taste something of the deep peace that can be discovered through simple practices of being present. The practice is very accessible and will involve sitting and walking meditation, deep relaxation and silence as well as the invitation to take our meals in silence. The food will be vegetarian.

    Icon Painting as a spiritual practice

    Practicing icon painting helps us to look into ourselves, make time to be in the silence of our hearts and learn who we are. How can we then after knowing more about what we are develop a connection and relationship with the Divine. Learning technique will be a very important part of the course. Feeling confident in creating an image helps to forget about all distractions, things we can’t achieve, things that we don’t understand and simply let our hand be an extension of our souls. Participants will learn all stages of icon painting and principles of the technique but will focus on meditative aspect of the process. Each session will start with short guided meditation to help us reconnect with our bodies.

    The Dance of Compassionate Communication: an introduction to Nonviolent Communication

    At home or at work, the way we think about ourselves and communicate with others affects a fundamental aspect of our lives - human connection. Develop ways of expressing the heart of your messages with power, and learn to hear the essence of other’s communication, instead of hearing blame and criticism. This workshop introduces you to the concepts and tools of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) developed by Marshall Rosenberg. It will improve your best relationships and ease the conflicts and misunderstandings of your worst.

    The search the Deep Self

    The course will help people discover their deeper selves and what gives them meaning and purpose. It is based on stories of people finding insight into who they are and what their life is about. Stories are drawn from the well known and the not so well known eureka moments and slow dawnings. All, however, are liberating and life-giving. By exploring these often intimate and moving stories, participants reflect on themselves – and are empowered to take further steps in their own lives.

    Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

    Beethoven’s final symphony expresses complex and intimate states of mind while embracing the universal aspirations of the Age of Revolution, in unprecedentedly dramatic and beautiful music.  In this course we shall look both at the historical context and the way that Beethoven has shaped the work. We shall hear Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in an eagerly awaited performance. This course is intended for all music lovers, and specialist knowledge is not needed.