The sound of crashing waves are a constant backdrop to our day-to-day activities. This retreat, a Writer’s Circle of Trust, is based on the teachings and practices of the Center for Courage & Renewal co-founded by beloved teacher, writer, and Quaker, Parker Palmer.
Emerging, awakening, softening…So many beautiful souls came through our hand crafted journals, (gifted from one of the participants) as we journaled, shared openly, and listened to one another reveal our innermost truths and vulnerabilities. It’s such a special thing to be seen in ways that are often kept hidden in regular life.
I had an especially potent experience as the Focus Person for what is called a Clearness Committee. As Parker Palmer explains, if the name sounds like it’s something from the ’60s, it is! The 1660s. The Clearness Committee is a common Quaker practice and was developed to help individuals find clarity around any issue that cannot be solved by their own inner inquiry. The process is simple. 3-6 people sit together with the Focus Person and simply ask open and honest question.. for TWO-THREE HOURS. I sat amongst a small tribe of five others from my group, a variety of ages, races, and backgrounds and after I gave a short explanation of my query, they began offering questions with poise and great care. There was no “fixing” or advice giving. Truly it was a powerful experience to be witnessed in my confusion and held with such safety and love.
The days were punctuated with the ringing of the meal bell, which lured us to the dining room. There we were served overflowing plates of southern goodies. Cake or pie for dessert always ended the meal on a sweet note. A couple of times Miss Francis, a bold character of great charm and charisma who runs the kitchen, shared her gratitude for our presence by launching into gospel song. It was quite the scene.
And tomorrow the fun doesn’t end! I’m off to California where I am always held with the same love and protection as I was here this week. Ah! I can’t wait to squeeze my family and show them this belly!
PS Sign of a true seeker.