This workshop is dedicated to providing practices to help Quakers find their deepest spiritual experiences both individually and within meeting. After an orientation to the meaning, purpose, obstacles and benefits of "practice," we will provide a variety of techniques for “going deep," with the understanding that different people find different practices effective. We will employ worship, teaching, sharing and the arts in our instruction.
The practices include
- Daily Examen: Reflective self-query and prayerful mindfulness, often undertaken at the end of a day, that explores one’s connection to Spirit during the previous 24 hours. It can be solo or shared with another, can be verbal or journaled, can be short or leisurely
- Listening in Tongues: A deliberate suspension of one’s language preferences when hearing about hard-to-express encounters with Mystery/Spirit in order to offer each other the freedom to speak in the language of each person’s heart. It opens us to affirm each other in new ways and broadens our sense of the Divine’s repertoire
- Twilight Meeting: A continuation of formal (Expectant Waiting) worship into a worship-sharing session in which participants exchange descriptions about the specifics of what they experienced during the worship period. It can expand how we understand the workings of the Divine to include “the mystery of the nonverbal communication”
- Spiritual Storytelling: An ongoing, active commitment to voluntarily voice to each other what is going on for us spiritually and internally so that we can share each others’ growths, struggles, questions and delights. A community of such committed storytellers could go “way down deep” more easily and matter-of-factly
- Spiritual Care Committees: An invitation to a few Friends to commit to sit down regularly with attention to one person’s spiritual journey and growth. Surprisingly, it turns out not to be as self-indulgent as it sounds – and helps encourage faithfulness and consistency as well as feeling seen and heard – and sometimes to find answers to questions
- Life as Prayer: An expansive understanding of prayer that can be shifted into at any moment in a day (including, but not limited to, Meeting for Worship), by inviting Spirit to inhabit one’s life. Sometimes this involves stepping back to reflect, but at other times, prayer becomes a filter to carry with us as we work, play and live.
- Symphonic Listening: The orchestra and the worship setting both offer opportunity for (often) wordless collaboration and a "collective crescendo" towards something greater than ourselves. This experiential session/rehearsal will offer exercises to "tune up" and practice "whole body listening", so that we can resonate more with each other, and beyond! Helpful (but not mandatory) reading can be found here: https://www.friendsjournal.org/listening-silence-in-music-life/
- Centering Prayer: This practice teaches us to "let go" of thoughts and "put the mind in the heart," guiding us towards a more loving and non-dual approach to our life experiences.
Throughout all the activities, we will be seeking to build intimacy within small groups and community within the whole, establishing or strenghtening relationships among those who attend in positive ways that enhance understanding and help them to find commonality in the Spirit.
Gretchen Morse: Gretchen Morse has a Doctorate in Applied Music, and an active musical life as a Symphony oboist and teacher. She has taught at the private, public school and collegiate levels, and has participated in and developed numerous outreach programs. She applies her discipline for musical practices to her Spiritual practices, as well, and finds many parallels between the two. She became Quaker in 2009 and is a recorded member of Red Cedar Friends Meeting in Lansing, MI. She assisted Friend Richard Lee in a weekend-long Spiritual Formation retreat for Lake Erie Yearly Meeting in September of 2011, and a follow-up retreat in May of 2012. The retreat was based on Meeting for Healing, with an emphasis on sound, and sound Kenning. Gretchen has since participated with Richard on further educational and experiential collaborations at Red Cedar Friends Meeting, and has also developed and led arts-themed Inter-Generational activities at Red Cedar Friends Meeting, serving on Religious Education and Adult Religious Education Committees. Gretchen co-led a daily afternoon Gamelan experience with Will Peebles at the 2015 FGC in Cullowhee, NC. She is author of the Friends Journal Articles, “Listening for the Silence: In Music and in Life” (June, 2012), and “Teaching as Vessel to Spirit” (April, 2015). Gretchen is also a Board Certified Neurofeedback Specialist, and owns a Neurofeedback Clinic. She and her Quaker-born Collie, Pilot, take dance lessons and visit patients and their families in Hospice.
Pat Grauer: Though a fresh Quaker, Pat has 45 years experience conducting seminars and training for adults within the United Methodist Church, the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Leadership Academy for Integrative Compassionate Care, peace and justice workshops and other venues. Spiritual deepening for individuals and meetings, a Silence so resonant that it vibrates soul, mind and body; the power of humility, community building, the use of art in human development, personal empowerment in faith, effective applications emerging from spiritual development -- all of these are important to her and part of her vision for this workshop. She is active in the Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts locally, and part of the advocacy team for the Friends Committe on National Legislation.