Writing into the Sacred: Speaking to Light
Writing into the Sacred: Speaking to Light invites us to tell our stories in holistic ways that support truth and beauty, solitude and community, action, and contemplation. We begin by asking, what happens when we unearth what’s been forgotten, or when light falls on what is lost? What shows itself when we then speak freely, in our own true voice? How can we welcome a plurality of voices in ways that leave the speakers feeling heard, affirmed? Using gentle exercises in fostering silence, writing, speaking, and collective listening, we will reacquaint ourselves with the luminous link between silence, stories, and the sacred. Together, we will explore the transformative power of writing that brings us deeper into relation with wisdom, truth, and one another.
Listening for the Soul
Through Listening for the Soul sessions Shannon follows the work of Jean Stairs to build small group connections where spiritual direction can take place. Spiritual direction is traditionally a one-to-one experience and is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. By practicing this ancient tradition in small groups, we gain wisdom as equals in our spiritual journeys, and gain skills that assist us in being better listeners in our everyday lives.
Recommended reading for the retreat:
You can purchase Body & Soul directly from the publisher, Caitlin Press (one of Canada's independent publishers, located in BC). You can order the book from your local library or your favorite independent bookstore. New and used copies are also available for purchase on Amazon.
Meet Our Team
Susan Scott is a Great Lakes writer and editor attuned to story, spirit, self, and culture. She has taught widely, including at St. Jerome’s University, Wilfrid Laurier University, and in guest lectures at the Yale Institute for Sacred Music (ISM). Popular webinars on spiritual life writing, hosted by Awakening Spirituality, were launched in 2020. The chapbook, Temple in a Teapot, is an autobiographical essay on the sublime and the suppressed in American religious history. Books include a memoir-in-progress, unearthing shame and the sacred in the lives of women and girls; Stories in My Neighbour’s Faith: Narratives from World Religions in Canada; and her latest, Body & Soul, celebrating women’s voices, marginalized perspectives, and unorthodox approaches to the sacred.
Shannon McAdam is passionate about helping everyone cultivate spiritual practices that can sustain us through the struggles of our lives. She believes in the innate wisdom of each person (yes, even you!) and how deep listening can draw out that wisdom. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Vancouver School of Theology, and can occasionally be found sharing her writings at her blog “Erosophy” https://erosophy.wordpress.com Shannon has over a decade and a half of experience facilitating learning experiences in theology, creativity, spiritual practice, and technology literacy, and is currently Co-President of the Canada West Mission Centre of Community of Christ.
Lana Cullis identifies as “Northern” and is grateful to acknowledge her location on unceded Coast Salish traditional territory, also known as Vancouver, British Columbia. She has long served as a change advocate and works as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Whether consulting with individuals, or agencies, in her practice Lana utilizes the power of wonder to activate change in work, life, and play. Her writing draws on waking dreams, voices, and visions that reveal the tender places where human truth, individuality, and courage intersect. Lana is committed to empowering people, and she values spiritual life writing as a creative way to access hidden desires, promote healing and encourage self determination.
Debra Donohue is the Creating Connection Director for Western Canada and has directed many retreats, conferences, and events over the past 12 years - all of which were in-person until 2020. Since Debra moved her events online the international response has been exciting. She has worked with all age groups, from 3-years old to 98 and is passionate about getting people together to play, sing, meditate, walk, talk, learn, share meals and full belly laughs. Debra’s background in acting and performance has been an asset in helping her create these experiences. You can join Debra weekly online where she is the producer and host of ‘An Afternoon of Nurturing Spirit’ and ‘Coffee and Conversation’.
Vickie MacArthur fell in love with the practice of yoga almost twenty-five years ago and feels that her own daily practice has sustained her through all the inevitable ups and downs of life. Both her practice and teachings has evolved from the vibrancy of an active flow style practice to the restful peaceful presence of a deeply restorative practice. Vickie has a passion and gift for teaching the “Art of Slowing Down” in a world that is constantly speeding up. She teaches smaller personalized yoga and meditation classes to help people deal with many different health challenges whether cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and other conditions. She has finished a two-year training program with Pacific Jubilee to accompany and support people on their spiritual path. She teaches through her studio “Spirit in Motion Yoga” and is a sought-after teacher for workshops and retreats both in Lethbridge and on the west coast.
Watch for Vickie's upcoming book "A Lotus On Fire: How A Buddhist Monk Ignited the Love In My Heart.".
Spirit in Motion Yoga https://spiritinmotionyoga.com/
Patti Beer has been blessed with experiences and a childlike wonder that have formed a solid connection with nature and animals. From a young age she developed a relationship with the large willow tree that tapped on her window at night and cradled her by day.
In water with aquatic creatures, feeding and releasing burrowing owls, on bike rides through the woods; her soul and mind is well fed.
As a passionate advocate for nature and working as a senior aquarium biologist, Patti loves science. When starting to attend meditation retreats, she always sought the research behind the mental wellbeing. Her contribution is that insight with this dynamic team dedicated to helping you find stillness and connection.
Nurturing Spirit Retreat
Final Schedule for Writing into the Sacred: Speaking to Light
Friday, March 4th
5:30 PM Community Dinner and Gathering Activities - Debra Donohue
6:30 PM Welcome and Invitation to “Writing into the Sacred: Speaking to Light”- Susan Scott
7:00 PM Listening for the Soul break out groups - Shannon McAdam
8:00 PM Sunset Readings - Susan Scott, Shannon McAdam, Vickie MacArthur, and Lana Cullis
Saturday March 5th
7:30 AM Sunrise Morning Meditation and Gentle Yoga Stretch – Barbara Rose
8:30 AM Optional Breakfast together (cameras on) or personal break time (cameras off)
9:00 AM Session 1: “Welcoming the Light, Awakening Your Writing Self”- Susan Scott and Lana Cullis
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Listening for the Soul - Shannon McAdam
Noon - Lunch Break- Cameras off
1:00 PM Session 2: “Full Sun Reflection: Claiming Your Sacred Story”- Susan Scott
2:15 PM “Natural Light Break” Self-guided activities or Personal Writing Time (remember to get outside)
4:00 PM Session 3: “The Dark Side: Honoring the Profane, Doubt, Fear & Reason” – Susan Scott
5:00 PM Break- Dinner prep time
5: 30 PM Family-style Dinner with Your Listening for the Soul group – Shannon McAdam
6:00 PM Break
7:30 PM Community Candlelight Readings and Music – Lana Cullis
8:30 PM Break
9:00 PM Dark Walk – Patti Beer
Sunday March 6th
9:00 AM Soul Whispers -Yoga Nidra - Guided Meditation – Vickie MacArthur
10:00 AM Break or Breakfast
10:30 AM Listening for the Soul - Shannon McAdam
11:00 AM Sparks & Kindling – informal chatting about all things writerly - Susan Scott
12:15 PM “Leave One Candle Burning” - Debra Donohue
12:30 PM Goodbye, See you at our next retreat!
- Debra Donohue