Experience of the Spirit

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    Spiritual surrender: the ego strikes back


    Isaac Penington wisely counsels us to 'give over thine own willing.' But old hurts and false beliefs - about ourselves or ‘how things are’ - may stop us experiencing spiritual surrender and connection. ‘Notions’ about God/Spirit, strong emotions (what Thích Nhất Hạnh calls 'afflictions') and personal attachments (which George Fox termed 'addictions') may block our spiritual growth. Creating safe containment for our explorations together, this is an opportunity to question old habits and set ways as we open ourselves to mystery.

    Dances of Universal Peace: Dancing Into the New Year with Hope and Joy: 2019


    “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.

    Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – October


    A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others online to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

    Participants have the option to join the remaining three retreats running throughout 2019 at a total discounted cost of £35.  Click here to book all three retreats.

    Seeking Sanctuary and Stillness – November


    A time set aside to enjoy spaciousness and quiet in your own home and join with others online to share a sense of connection. Different spiritual practices will be offered on each of the days, to help you to focus, and to settle into a place of deep peace and openness to all that is; the flowing vastness of presence. We will join together for silent worship and reflection during the day.

    Participants have the option to join the remaining three retreats running throughout 2019 at a total discounted cost of £35.  Click here to book all three retreats.

    Resting in Presence – Individually Guided Retreats


    Woodbrooke's individually guided retreats 'Resting in Presence' offer you an opportunity for a few days of individual reflection and stillness.

    This will be a chance to pay attention to your inner wisdom, to become more aware of your true self, and perhaps to explore more deeply the role of Spirit in your life.  You will have space to ‘just be’ and to reflect; perhaps considering decisions you want to make or changes you want to work towards.

    Remaining dates for 2019

    We are holding space for Resting in the Presence on the following dates in the remainder of 2019:

    Sunday 27 October - Friday 1 November 2019

    You can choose to come for between two and five nights. Please indicate how long you would like to stay on your booking form.

    Format

    You will meet each day with your own spiritual guide who will help you to focus, reflect and discern. The beautiful space that is Woodbrooke’s house and gardens provide a place of nurture and an open Quaker welcome.  The retreats are open to those of all faiths and none.

    We encourage you to hold your own personal silence during your time here and a quiet space is set aside for retreatants’ exclusive use.  At Woodbrooke days begin with a Quaker Meeting for Worship, which is based in silence, from 8:30 am – 9:00am and end with ‘epilogue’ which is a short time of reflection at 9:30pm  both are open to everyone staying at Woodbrooke.

    The retreat begins at 6.15pm, with dinner on the first evening followed by a short introduction to your time here (bedrooms are available from 4.00pm). Please try to arrive between 4.00pm and 5.00pm to have time to settle in and set aside the busyness of life.  You may choose to come for between two and five nights. The retreat finishes with breakfast on your final day.  You are asked to clear your bedrooms by 9.30am.

    Please be aware that other guests will also be staying at Woodbrooke while you are on retreat so whilst we aim to offer a place of stillness, nurture and calm, we cannot guarantee that the whole building will be silent.

    Cost

    Two nights: £245.00
    Three nights: £345.00
    Four nights: £445.00
    Five nights: £545.00

    These prices are inclusive of ensuite accommodation and all meals.

    New Horizons

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    Spiritual Practices for Every Day


    How do you make space in your day to be spiritually present? What spiritual practices resonate with you? This course is an opportunity to explore what we mean by ‘spiritual practice’ and why it is important. You will be offered a variety of spiritual practices to work with, in your own time. We will all share our experiences together as an online community using forums. The course will include a live Quiet Day on Saturday 13 June 2020 (10:00 – 16:00 GMT+1), that you can take part in wherever you are.

    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


    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.

    Mindful Self-Compassion


    This Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teaches the core principles and practices that will enable participants to respond to difficulties in their lives with kindness, care and understanding. The course is based on the eight week training programme that was designed by Drs Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer and is designed to cultivate the skill of Self-Compassion.

    Introduction to Experiment with Light


    William Penn said Quaker spiritual practice was an ‘experiment on the soul’. This course is an opportunity to experience a meditation practice drawn from the writings of early Friends. It can be searching, powerful and challenging but may lead to new growth and clarity. We will reflect on the significance of the Light for our lives today, and how we might be helped to access it, including in supportive Light groups. This course aims to deepen the spiritual lives of participants.

    Challenge and Consolation: Brahms’ German Requiem


    Brahms' German Requiem is not a requiem mass or a statement of conventional religious dogma; it is a meditation on our mortality—truthful, challenging and deeply consoling. The course will explore the music and its background, and hear a performance in Symphony Hall by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

    Circle Dance


    If you enjoy moving to music, then this is the weekend for you. We will dance to a wide variety of music and in different styles, some lively, some more meditative. Circle dance enhances our sense of community, of spiritual wholeness and of harmony, drawing as it does on the diverse heritage of traditional cultures from around the world. You don’t need to be an experienced dancer to enjoy this course – all are welcome.

    Signs of Life: an Appleseed course


    Spring and Easter both bring messages of new life. Can the greening we see taking place in the outer world be mirrored with signs of potential growth in our inner lives? The Appleseed process balances thinking and feeling and provides a safe place for a personal exploration of our theme. Short talks and meditation will be followed by simple art-based activities (no skills required) and worship sharing. The course is suitable for those with and without Appleseed experience.

    Singing as Prayer


    They who sing pray twice! Please join us for a retreat of prayer expressed through song. Our sessions will be restful, contemplative, invigorating and renewing as we sing and share songs from different traditions. No experience necessary - if you can talk, you can sing! All songs will be taught by ear.

    Drinking Deep at the Well: the writings of early Quaker women


    The writings of early Quaker women are filled with imagery that engages our senses as well as our spirits. Their letters and journals reveal and embody how God was working in and through them. Grounded in worship and using a variety of methods, we will explore these lesser known gems of Friends' history and use them to reflect on and enhance our own spiritual experience. This retreat will speak to those who enjoy contemplative, reflective practices. We will engage in worship, individual and group reflection, writing and sharing. “Lecture” will be at a minimum – instead we will be deeply experiencing these texts.