January has been a time of stillness and spaciousness. Although I have been working steadily in the studio, attending to design projects, and preparing for the upcoming Living with HeART retreat, the month has unfolded slowly. After our annual New Year’s Day sweat lodge ceremony at People of the Heart, I emerged out of the womb of the earth and felt that initial impulse, as so many of us do at the start of a new year, to make haste and manifest all sorts of intentions. Instead, I stopped, took a breath, and eased into my days. I have also been reflecting on our ancestors who lived close to the rhythms of the earth. January was a time of restoration, to store energy in preparation for the start of a new harvest cycle. How far we have come from that reality in our fast-paced, 24/7 wired world. So, for me there has also been lots of sleeping this month, ‘resting in the grace of the world’ to quote the poet Wendell Berry. Energy is now mounting and shifting outward once again, just as we reach the ancient celebration of Imbolc on February 2nd (Read more here.) This is the midpoint between Winter solstice and Spring equinox when our ancestors would begin to prepare the seeds for planting. This is an ideal time to plant the seeds of intention for your new year. What is your soul longing for? What is the heart of your longing? Playfulness, passion, purpose, or perhaps deeper wisdom?
Discover this in a sacred space with a wonderful group of women. I’m excited about offering you the third annual Living with HeART retreat. With my co-leader, Judy Todd, we will be guiding you through the medicine wheel and the four seasons of a woman’s life. Drawing on our innate creativity, we will rest, remember, and return renewed, ready to plant the seeds and manifest our soul purpose.
So, why does this matter given the demands of our lives in feeding ourselves and our families? I think most of us would agree that we are experiencing environmental degradation during this time on earth. For me, and many other theologians, the ecological crisis is a spiritual crisis. Scholar Karen Armstrong writes: “Perhaps every generation believes that it has reached a turning point of history but our problems seem particularly intractable and our future increasingly uncertain. . . .Unless there is some kind of spiritual revolution that can keep abreast of our technological genius, it is unlikely that we will save our planet.”
This may sound dire, but I do have hope in human creativity. I believe that this spiritual (r)evolution will begin with each of us slowing down, being more present to life, reclaiming the Earth as holy, and drawing on all our creativity to serve our ailing, albeit beautiful world. That’s my vision. Care to join me?
To register for the retreat, visit Judy’s website. We look forward to sharing this sacred time with you.
For love of the EARTH!
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
– Wendell Berry
For the Artist at the Start of Day
May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.
May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,
A morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,
May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light
To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.
Saturday–Sunday, February 18-19
Location: Hidden Lake Retreat, Eagle Creek, Oregon www.hiddenlakeretreat.org
Cost: $220 includes retreat, organic food, restful and cozy lodging, and artmaking supplies. Program facilitation is by donation at the end of the retreat.
Click here to email me for more information or to register.
Winter draws us inward to remember our deepest sources of creativity and renewal. Remembering takes time, stillness, and preparation—gifts we seldom give to ourselves in the midst of busy lives.
We have designed this retreat to help you slow down while diving deeply into your place of intuitive insights and original perceptions. Together we’ll draw inspiration from the natural world, the four sacred elements of earth/air/fire/water, and the ancient wisdom of earth-honoring traditions.
Earth, or Gaia, will be our muse as we journey around the medicine wheel, open new pathways to our place within the web of life, deepen our connection to the cycles of seasons, explore and co-create in sacred circles.
“The Living with HeART retreat reignited the creative flame in my soul! Since the retreat I have been enjoying making personal art that makes me smile and brings more joy into my life. I recommend this retreat and its leaders, Amy Livingstone and Judy Todd, who inspire love for the beauty in ourselves and our world.” —Rev. Jayna Gieber, 2011 retreat