So often, we focus on the gaps, emptiness, wounds and unfulfilled aspects of our lives, but forget or take for granted the simple and familiar gifts that are always with us. Retreat with us as our Elder and Weaver Jared Adams leads us in exploring and practicing gratitude. Small group sharing and time in nature will offer unique opportunities to reveal gifts and insights in ourselves and our group.
Facilitated by: Jared Adams & Mark Neilson
An incredible group gathered at the Carmelite Center to engage in ritual and dialogue around the “subtle and profound nature of gratitude” as one attendee described it. Through ritual, teaching, time in nature and group gatherings we approached the concept of gratitude as not just “thank you” but as a ‘deep and wide’ way of being. As we assembled that morning we discussed the ‘wide’ aspect of gratitude for all the toys and joys we may have in our lives on the surface. As the day continued, our minds quieted and we looked more inward. The centerpiece eventually dwindled to a single, small statute of the naked David sculpture, paradoxically simple, yet reflecting our ‘deep’ gratitude for our shared manhood as brothers and to the larger life around us.
Jared Adams opened the retreat with a session on how to maintain a sense of gratitude yet not be in denial of life’s difficulties and how to approach them with an open heart. From examining the ‘in-betweens’ and our inner ‘Gratitude Ratios,’ we explored examples and angles that tried to encourage us to live fully anchored with a deep appreciation and awareness to the present. We walked through scenarios using video, stories and song that challenged us to think of and consider the significance of all the processes of life’s events and how to separate ‘gratitude’ from merely being gratified.
Mark then opened the afternoon session with a intimate time of small group sharing. He shared stories and poems from his own journey and led us through a sense of gratitude from a child’s perspective. Then, using magazines and other periodicals, we created our own ‘collage’ of gratitude that could represent our own personal collection of what we can be grateful for.
Father Bob then closed the day with a wonderful time of communion in the Iona tradition. It was a wonderful close to thoughtful and reflective time together.