"The Spirituality and Wholeness: Living Well Series" was held at The Brain Center in Mashpee, MA for three years. Below is the complete listing of the nineteen two-hour mini-retreats and the one all-day retreat that were held from 2003-2006. By request, these previous programs can be presented again.
Sounds of Silence
Living in a busy and noisy world, it’s possible that we neglect to pay attention to our inner life. We might even find ourselves asking such questions as: “Where is God? What do I really want?” When we take time out, slow down and truly listen, we just might discover the answers in the silence of our hearts.
Lessons from the Leaves
Autumn poignantly mirrors the human experience of change and letting go. Though turning leaves may be brilliant in color and beautiful to see, times of transition for us earthlings may not be quite as appealing. Navigating times of change can be a struggle, but these periods also provide wonderful opportunities for personal growth and new freedom. The cyclic nature of life can offer us hope and comfort.
Blessings in Abundance
Our happiness depends on the depth of our gratitude. Traditionally, November is a time to remember our gifts, but how can we maintain an attitude of gratitude throughout the entire year? It is not always easy to think positive, especially when the going gets rough. A “new way of seeing” can improve the view and enable us to celebrate life.
Finding the Gold
‘Tis the season of gift-giving, but how often do we think of ourselves as gifts? Acceptance of God’s love can help us love and appreciate ourselves, as well as those around us. Perhaps we might just be the best present under the tree this year!
A Japanese proverb states: “May I never find myself yawning at life.” How does one maintain a passion for life? Passionate people live meaningfully. We celebrate Valentine’s Day this month and images of red hearts, pink roses and luscious chocolates may come to mind. However, on a deeper level, this occasion can be an invitation to pause and ponder our ability to love and to live passionately.
A Journey to Hope
Sadness and sorrow can be as piercing as a cold March wind. As with this season, when we long for signs that spring is on the way, we yearn for assurance during the “winters” of our lives. Loss is a universal experience that comes in many forms. Unrecognized losses and unexpressed grief are often at the core of our unwellness. When we allow ourselves to journey through the grieving process, hope can be restored in our lives.
Quivering of the Heart
There are no strangers on this earth if we allow our hearts to be moved to compassion. Compassion is what unites us all as one. Good Friday is a good time to remember our connectedness with all of humanity. Our broken world needs much healing. Compassion enables us to respond to the cries of suffering brothers and sisters.
Bloom Where You Are Planted
Each of us is gifted with enormous potential. We can dream dreams and make them happen. However, fear and anxiety hinder our growth at times. Fortunately, the springtime earth knows no bounds, and new life pops up even in places where we least expect it. This season of rebirth can be a source of encouragement that we too can bloom where we are planted.
Summer Gifts for New Beginnings
September is often one of the most beautiful months on Cape Cod. Days are still warm; roads are less congested; memories of good times are fresh. As summer ends and a new season begins, September is an opportune time to reflect on the treasures these past months offered. Whether these blessings are obvious or yet unseen, these gifts can be a source of wisdom and strength for the coming year.
Be Not Afraid
The topic of death is one we may prefer to avoid. It can be uncomfortable to talk about our mortality and the anticipated passing of those we love. But what if we were unafraid to reflect on and share our thoughts on this inevitable part of life? Perhaps then, fear could give way to trust, and loneliness could be replaced by companionship. Autumn’s array of color, signaling the process of dying, is but a reflection of the beauty found in the acceptance of our own life cycle.
The Pilgrimage of Faith
We recall the arrival of the Pilgrims this month, but do we think of ourselves as pilgrims? These early settlers took a journey into the unknown to live out their understanding of God. Where do we find God? For the serious God-seeker, one’s life can truly be called a pilgrimage and November seems a good time to explore this journey of ours.
Embracing Humanity ~ Learning to Forgive
Why is forgiveness so difficult sometimes? What might happen if we let go of our anger and the pain of hurt? Who most needs our forgiveness? “God so loved the world to send His only Son”… to show us how to live. Jesus embraced humanity, can we? Christmas invites us to be both peace-makers and peace-finders.
In God’s Heart
In the midst of winter bleakness, we pause to celebrate the value and warmth of love. Valentine’s Day, an occasion to remember good friends and faithful companions, might also inspire us to recognize the Source of all love, the God who never leaves us. Learning to pray always and all ways can deepen the relationship with the One in whose heart we are forever held.
How Can I Keep From Singing?
“No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.” These lyrics from an old Quaker song suggest that nothing can take away our peace if we allow God to be our strength in tough times. Easier said than done – but not impossible. March winds and winter remnants can tempt us to despair, but with the promise of spring, we can also find solace and hope in a God who keeps promises.
Keep Holy the Sabbath
Busyness, stress and fatigue are hallmarks of our modern life. “The Sabbath”, however, says Abraham J. Heschel, “is an oasis in time”, a time-out from our ordinary routine to refresh our spirits. A Sabbath heart recognizes the need for One Greater than oneself. Just as April rains give growth to new life, our souls can be revitalized by living the Sabbath in new ways.
Lighten Up - A Yard Sale for the Soul
We need not travel far to find a yard sale in the spring! Many of us tend to collect and acquire, filling our homes to the brim. Living simply does not come easily in our American culture. On a spiritual level, a garage sale can remind us to lighten up and let go of what clutters both our inner and outer worlds. Re-focusing on what is truly essential might be a beneficial way to do some “spring cleaning”.
The Gift of Restlessness
St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” This universal yearning for something greater than ourselves is a blessing, as well as a call to be true to our very nature as children of the Divine. Perhaps September, a time of new beginnings, is an opportune time to renew our resolve to listen to that longing and sink more deeply into the Heart of God. It is there alone that we discover the gifts hidden in restlessness.
Life is Good. Choose Life!
“Life is good,” is more than a popular slogan for a clothing company. These three little words contain a profound truth. Life is truly a gift meant to be lived to the fullest. Although the unfolding of life with its joys and sorrows is unique for each one of us, all of us, without exception, can decide to make our lives a masterpiece. The magnificence of autumn is but a mere reflection of what our very own lives can be if we choose life.
All-Day Retreat: Seasons of the Heart
The four seasons provide wonderful imagery for our own lives. Each of us experiences life-giving and fruitful times, as well as the dark and dying moments. Like the seasons, our lives are cyclic in nature, ever-changing and calling us to transformation. Each season of the heart holds a special gift and an invitation to grow. This retreat hopes to enable participants to deepen their awareness and reverence for the seasons of their own hearts, as well as to discover the blessings and the beckoning in each season. The day will offer the opportunity to slow down and become more mindful of God’s abiding love and grace-filled presence in whatever season one finds her/himself.
Hope for the World
Our world is full of turmoil, injustice and pain; yet in the midst of it all, we pause to celebrate Christmas. Angelus Silesius said, “Christ could be born a thousand times in Galilee - but all in vain until he is born in me.” Let us prepare for Christmas by inviting the Divine to be born in us so that we, like Christ, can be a healing presence and a source of hope for the world.
Call: 508-548-9149 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write: Peggy Patenaude 47 Overlook Circle East Falmouth, MA 02536