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The Warm Renewal of Retreat

The Warm Renewal of Retreat

What do the words “spiritual retreat” conjure for you?

For me, they bring up all kinds of experience. The phrase reminds me of silent retreat where I only spoke when I met with a spiritual guide once per day and spent the rest of the time reading, making art, swimming, and walking the grounds of the Motherhouse.

It reminds me of art retreats, where groups split up to make watercolor, Sculpie clay figures, collage, and figure drawings as a way to express what was being processed within us.

It reminds me of beautiful spaces. Of church basements. Of meditation gardens with little benches. Of people’s living rooms. Of a big, rambling novitiate house. Of comfy couches.

It reminds me of the woods of Four Quarters and a gathering of more women than I counted.

It reminds me of worship, or guided meditation, of chanting and singing, of writing, of ritual, and the opportunity for us to sink into deep knowing and a powerfully felt sense of Spirit. A sense of a Gathered community, brought together seemingly by coincidence, and yet gelling into something more than our numbers.

I want to bring these experiences to others. It is time for the Way of the River to branch out, both in what I am able to offer and in how many people come together to do the Work.


In my experience, retreats are an unparalleled way to reach deeply to our hearts and souls, to renew our spirits, to engage our bodies in spiritual rest. Even while we are “doing work,” we are doing it gently. We are doing it in a way that allows us to listen, feel, and express, more than to be in the cerebral part of our minds. We can listen to poetry, and allow it to wash over us as we meditate. We can do simple, abstract watercolor while listening to meditative music.

And all in the context of a frame. A text. A myth. A season or a holiday. There are so many possibilities.

So consider what might be helpful for you, if you will. What do you need? How may I serve you?

Some of the retreats I will offer will be over a communal phone line, with several calls in a day, allowing for those of us all over the world to come together at different times of the day.

And some of the retreats will be here in the Pacific Northwest. Do you know a venue that might benefit from our presence and where you might be able to attend? Please do tell me. Is there something your heart is yearning for that I haven’t mentioned, name it to me. Just name it. Use the Contact page, and we’ll start talking.

Much love and many warm thoughts, this season of the Ancestors.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Catharine,

    I loved your description of retreat: “In my experience, retreats are an unparalleled way to reach deeply to our hearts and souls, to renew our spirits, to engage our bodies in spiritual rest.”

    I’ve been on a number of meditation retreats and that resonates with my experience, too. There are so many forms a retreat can take, but the elements you describe are the things that make any retreat a nourishing and healing experience.

  2. Thank you so much for your warm comment. Retreats are among my favorite ways to engage Spirit. I am going to be co-facilitating a retreat in February in the Portland, OR area, and I just can’t wait! Be well on your journey! — Catharine

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