Workshop Number: 105
Leaders: Barbara Birch
Who May Register?: Women Only (for all who identify as women)
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 25%
Lecture: 25%
Discussion: 25%
Experiential Activities: 25%

Who May Attend?
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

“I will come in and eat with you, and you with me (Rev 3:20).” For Friends and Attenders who want to follow Spirit when they make choices about food, drink, and physical activity in daily life.

Workshop Description

Inspiration:  In Revelations 3:20, Christ says “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.”

Intended Audience: Friends and Attenders who want to eat and drink in a more Spirit-led healthy way one day at a time.

Purpose: This workshop offers an embodied spiritual pathway to seek divine will for us, believing that every activity of life, including eating and drinking, is subject to divine guidance. This brings eating and drinking into alignment with our Quaker testimony.The basis for the workshop is spiritual embodiment. Instead of ‘body image’ (a mental picture of our bodies we have in our heads based on our projected ideas of how others see us), a healthier idea is that we think of ourselves as an inseparable mind/spirit/heart/body unit. Some people call this unit the body temple to emphasize that our bodies are sacred spaces for Spirit to be present, to act, and to transform us. Our body temples are grounded on the earth (hence earthcare), united to others by relationship (hence love) and buffeted by genetic, social, cultural, political forces (hence peace, social justice, equality….)

Objectives: To live the culture described in Isaac Penington’s Letter To Friends in Amersham (1667)
FRIENDS, Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been any slip or fall; and waiting till the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting.

1.  Participants will co-create a safe, brave, accepting, and tender space to share (and laugh about) our experiences with weight and health.
2.  Participants will become aware that weight can be addresssed openly without shame, embarrassment, or fragility, and with love and humor.
3.  Participants will learn how our spiritual lives can be more coherent by aligning our personal daily choices with our testimony (i.e. sense and repentance/transformation).
4.  Participants will discuss how we (and our Friends) can love, help, and support one another to lead longer healthier spirit-led lives.

Embodiment means our body temples (the spirit/mind/heart/body) are always wholesome and lovable as the beloved earthly home to the Divine Indwelling. Our embodied histories are unique and uniquely influenced by genetic, cultural, and societal pressures, including discrimination, violence, and food inequalities. Our embodied experiences are personal and individual but also social and political.

Activities: Each daily meeting will include a brief check-in, a brief guided meditation, a short interactive lecture, and worship-sharing or friendly discussion on relevant Quaker quotes and testimonies, always allowing for humor and camaraderie. There will be short reading assignments in preparation for each day’s session. There will be assigned experiential activities (doing, writing, drawing) for outside the workshop.

Specific Topics: The Divine Indwelling; food/drink struggles and dilemmas; body image, spiritual embodiment, body temple; divine will with regard to food, drink, and health; attunement to Spirit throughout the day; Quaker testimonies; spirit-led body-intentional eating and movement; personal intentions for a preferred future; support from Friends through a faithfulness groups

Mission Statement: There are already a number of Quaker women who believe that:

–Spirit can free us from internal conflict around food and body image.
–Spirit can restore our perfectly imperfect bodies to wholesomeness.
–Love’s healing embodiment is abundant and available to us all.
–We can love ourselves as we are with self-compassion and self-forgiveness.
–Loving our existing bodies is compatible with choosing to live a healthier life.
–Spirit-led body-intentional eating and movement are attainable with divine assistance.
–Faithfulness Groups can hold us and support us with love and tenderness.
Please join us.

Leader Experience

I have a 50 year history as both a leader and a participant in learning situations. Since 2009, many of those experiences have been virtual. Having both the leader and the participant perspectives makes me humbly aware of the strengths and weaknesses of short on-line workshops. Each daily meeting will be interactive, active, and collaborative. Overweight, body image, and health are delicate topics with a lot of shame, fragility, and embarrassment involved, so they are not easy to bring up and explore. I hope to bring them out in the open in an accepting and nonjudgmental way, with humor and sensitivity.

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