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seasons

Words of EnCOURAGEment #29 December 2013

  The blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold and it has overturned the order of the soul. —Leonard Cohen Not everyone experiences blizzards of snow in December. Perhaps you’ve survived sand storms or torrential rains. In the Prelude from A Hidden Wholeness, Parker J. Palmer offers a “rope to the barn” to keep  Continue Reading »

Words of EnCOURAGEment #25 July-August 2013

Water Stories: Universal and Unique For a city with a rainy reputation, our Seattle summer has been especially hot and dry. I’ve had to pay particular attention to watering my garden. Thinking about how to get moisture to sun-baked plants has provided me with quiet opportunities for reflection as I water the thirsty garden on  Continue Reading »

The Truth Told Slant

Every winter I plunge into darkness. As Seattle days shorten to eight hours with clouds covering most of them and the city readies for ten months of showers, my inner world becomes as bleak as the world outside. I burrow through three seasons like a shrew mole through the mud, tunneling deeper to cry, surfacing  Continue Reading »

Cultivating blossoms of soul growth

Much of the Center’s work revolves around seasonal metaphors, and we have chosen retreat centers to reflect the best that a season has to offer. For the longer, lighter summer days, we have space available at at our signature retreats: July in Minnesota and August near Seattle. If crisper days and changing leaves are more  Continue Reading »

Geography of Grace: Landscapes of the Soul

We’ve been working with clergy and congregational leaders over the last seven years in Courage to Lead® retreat series, where we often hear, “This is the kind of community I wish I could experience in my church home.” This expression of longing is usually followed by stories of disappointing or superficial relationships in congregations, power struggles,  Continue Reading »

The Notes Not Heard

For those of us who live in northern New England, summer has been nothing but a tease. One June morning, a fire in the wood stove; by the next morning the weeds of my garden have grown eight inches in height. 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 88 in a 24-hour span. Mostly, though, the summer has  Continue Reading »

Summer Fulfillment

by Circle of Trust Facilitator Paul Michalec When planning a Circle of Trust ® retreat for teachers, leaders, clergy, or healthcare professionals, I rely on two organizing principles: a theme or paradox that is common to the work life of professionals, and connections to the natural world.  For instance, a productive summer theme is honoring  Continue Reading »

The Wild Winds of Winter

Here in Colorado we are experiencing the fullness of winter conditions and the importance of slowing down and turning inward for warmth and self preservation.  On cold and gray days, with the sun low in the horizon, a person’s identity is obscured under layers of clothing and blurred by passing snow squalls. Wrapped in a  Continue Reading »