What are these soul care retreats? What happens?
The heart of a soul care retreat is to create a space to do the following:
Experience stillness and silence
Reconnect with yourself
Open up to God’s Presence
Be in a loving community
Connect with nature
And most importantly……..to re-align with the Presence of Love
Brother Roger of Taize is one of the inspirational people in my life. Brother Roger wrote of drawing from the well-springs of life and learning to live from the overflow of the joy found within. When I first read his words I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I knew I ‘should’ feel joy, especially as a person growing up with Christian faith. However, I realized I didn’t know what authentic joy really felt like and I sure wasn’t living a life rooted in joy or in overflow of life. I also really didn’t understand how to go ‘within’. I became deeply curious as I was in a place of much distress. Could I know joy? Could I live from a place of overflow rather than deep inner poverty?
The past 16 years have been a journey in growing and understanding how to live from this inner well-spring. What I have experienced has been so incredibly transformative and life-changing.
During Soul Care Retreats, I invite others into some of the prayer practices, meditation practices, songs, and stories that have led me to these inner well-springs. I am not a counselor, a guru or a psychologist. I am a friend along the path that can point the way and say, ‘Walk this path, and eat at this table. This path will guide you and this food will nourish you.’ I am a singer-songwriter and a poet who has sought to express through song and story what this journey has been and to create safe places for others.
What does one do on retreat?
During retreats there is a flow between group session and time for solitude and personal rest and reflection.
Stories, poems, songs become part of our group sessions and lead into possible pathways of individual contemplation. Nature, art, silence and meditative prayer are also common elements.
Having experienced many retreats over the past 16 years as a powerful ‘greenhouse’ for my own personal/spiritual growth, I have gathered elements that were significant and helpful to me and brought them together into the format of the ‘Soul Care Retreat’.
The retreats are rooted in the Ancient Christian Practice of faith but are open to all. Elements of Christianity are part of the retreat through the invitation of ancient prayer practices, use of icons and transformative stories from the gospels.
Some comments from recent retreats:
‘Cathy is a rare creature. The stories she shares and experiences she offers are personal, simple and yet profound. They have touched me on many levels and I feel a shift inside. Cathy’s example shows me courage’
‘Many retreats I have been to, I have come home burdened with tools to be a better woman – to perform. I also have come home exhausted from all the chater. This retreat empowered me to recognize who I am as a woman and showed me how to discover more of who I already am. The times of silence rejuvenated me.’
‘Keeping tools in good working order involves taking time to examine and restore them. We also benefit by not simply resting, but using focused reflection to restore and maintain sound connection to our holy source. Cathy’s guided retreat supports this soul maintenance in a safe and joyful refuge.’
‘ I appreciated all the thoughtful stations you had created in the meeting room, the simplicity and structure of how you had us share and the stretches of time with silence.’
‘the experience of transparency was life-giving’
‘Cathy, I so appreciate your guidance in our group sessions and the opportunity for silence and reflection’
For more information on hosting a retreat: HOSTING