I would like to invite all of you, you who have taken my class on writing a spiritual autobiography or who joined me at Shadowcliff last year, and you who have not, to consider coming away for a few days this summer to the mountain retreat of Shadowcliff, near Grand Lake, Colorado, to muse on and to write part of your spiritual autobiography. I am looking forward to hearing what is meaningful to you as we share the adventure of putting words to our deepest understanding.
For those of you who participated in one of my classes or in the Shadowcliff retreat of last summer, I would like to welcome you to the opportunity to dig deeper – or maybe more widely – through the exquisite personal experiences that have defined you. Spiritual autobiographies change as we do. More is remembered, meaning is found in events that seemed insignificant, and things that held our attention in painful intensity relax their grip and let us go. Through all of this we find an indelible sense of the purpose of our lives.
For those of you who are coming to this experience for the first time, I would like to invite you into a time of personal mirroring that can open doors and windows at the same time that it might create a legacy for those who are dear to you. At the edge of the fierce wilderness of the Rockies we will have left our lives behind. Looking at them from the outside will reveal hidden treasures, show us what our highs and lows have been, and give us a sense of what and how we would like to share our stories with those dear to us.
This year we will take more time for reflection, for wandering the spruce-fir forest near Shadowcliff and the nature garden on the grounds, and for exploring nearby bits of Rocky Mountain National Park. Lecture and discussion time will be interlaced with time for writing, for watching and listening, and for musing. Right at our door will be a community with thousands of members: many species of trees and songbirds, waterfowl and amphibians, wildflowers and raptors, ground squirrels and field mice and shy mega-mammals like deer and moose.
We’ll have delicious and nourishing food and drink and the opportunity to step outside the usual flow of our lives and lay aside our cares. This is what “retreat” is all about, and it is nourishing to body and spirit alike.
But beyond that, we will create a community ourselves when we gather, learn and share with one another. I have been noticing of late how our U.S. culture pushes us toward individualism. Yet we are beings who operate best in groups. When the groups in which we enfold ourselves can honor us at our most authentic – mind, body and spirit – we are more whole than we can ever be alone. It is in this context that we truly express our values and learn our purpose.
So come away and join with us to make and share meaning. For a retreat description, schedule, and a way to sign up for the retreat, go here.
I’m looking forward to meeting you at Shadowcliff!