Experience of the Spirit

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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.

    An Introduction to 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.

    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.

    A Timely Retreat

    Is time a scarce resource for you? Or an endurance test? A tyrant? A gift? We live in both clock-time and kairos – the unbound moment of opportunity. Which gets our attention? Which sets our pace? On this unhurried, interactive retreat we will feel into, explore and perhaps revitalise our relationship with time. Come to reflect, try different perspectives and share your experience, insights and questions. We will ‘attend to what love requires of [us], which may not be great busyness.’

    Read Katie’s blog post about time and spirituality to get a feel for this retreat. 

    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.

    Introduction to Life Writing for Transformation™

    “There is no agony like bearing the untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou

    Whether you are an aspiring or an experienced writer, this mini-writing retreat introduces you to a range of ideas that will help kick-start your writing and bypass your inner critic. The course also offers tools that can facilitate profound personal change or transformation.

    Whereever you are in your life writing journey, this course provides a safe, inspiring and supportive space. Writers completing this course join the wider community of Transformative Life Writers™. This includes regular newsletters. Facilitated by Farrukh Akhtar and Alison Lock, both trained by Joanne Klassen, the founder of Transformative Writing™.

    The Ground at Our Feet: a mindful retreat

    A gentle programme of mindful practices to enable us to arrive at the ground at our feet and learn to be at home. Includes sitting meditation, walking meditation, Qi Gong exercises, deep relaxation, walks in nature, some silence, some spaciousness and some spiritual companionship. There is the invitation to take our meals in silence and to experience the deep practice of mindful eating. We will come home to be fully present in heart, in mind and in body.

    Practicing Presence

    During this retreat we will come together to explore and experience spiritual practices and ways of being present from a variety of faith traditions; particularly those that encourage us to connect more deeply with ‘that of God within’. We will be invited to try some things that are perhaps different from our usual practices, all in the beautiful historic spaces at Swarthmoor Hall. There will be opportunities for individual work, group sharing and the freedom to go where each one of us is led.

    This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

    You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

    Freeing the Imagination: creative and devotional writing

    This weekend will offer chance to immerse ourselves in the creative process of writing. The focus is on creative and devotional writing so we will be led by the heart rather than head, as we explore how to use the imagination to help people feel and see the world in new ways. We will offer short guided exercises to inspire creative flow, plenty of writing time and the opportunity to share together if you choose.

    This course takes place at Swarthmoor Hall near Ulveston in the Lake District. Originally the home of Judge Thomas Fell and Margaret Fell, today its historic building and beautiful gardens are a wonderful back drop for courses and retreats.

    You can book this course online or email info@swarthmoorhall.co.uk or ring 01229 583204.

    Voices of the Earth

    This popular course uses the rich resources of Woodbrooke’s art room and extensive gardens to explore creatively our relationships with the world we inhabit. With new directions offered by the tutors each year, we will engage hands-on with poetry and a range of media and art forms, familiar and unfamiliar. Working both individually and collaboratively to recharge our ways of seeing and sensing, we will discover fresh perspectives on the world in its variety and of our place within it.

    Drawing a Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are creative resources for spiritual practice, and offer space for prayer, play and discovery. Starting with paper and pencil, we’ll create labyrinth patterns from around the world, from simple to more complex designs. We’ll make labyrinths small enough for postcards – and big enough to walk, using natural and temporary materials. By the end of the course, everyone will know how to create a temporary labyrinth indoors or outdoors.