Monday 28 May 2018

Women's Weekend Away

Yesterday, I returned from a fantastic weekend away with 30 women from around Perth and beyond. The Women's Weekend Away is an annual event that has been happening for a number of years now. I was first asked to facilitate the weekend in 2007 and was invited back this year.

The weekend was held at the Swan Valley Adventure Centre and the theme I chose this time was Meeting the Mystics: Meeting Me. The weekend began on Friday evening with establishing our groups and introductions. We then began exploring mysticism and the characteristics of mystics. The hope was to debunk some myths about these words and prevent anyone running away in fear over night.

The women all returned on the Saturday morning to begin exploring four women mystics through history. Our first was Teresa of Avila and her interior castle. The women were able to reflect on their own spiritual journey in light of what we learned from Teresa's works. After morning tea, we spent some time with Julian of Norwich and her reflection on a hazelnut. After some personal quiet time, we shared in groups about our experience.

Following lunch, we met Hildegaard of Bingen. While
listening to some of her music, we created mandalas and walked in nature between the showers of rain. The evening was a little more lighthearted as we met Theres of Lisieux. As we explored her "Little Way" we practiced seeing the world as a child with much laughter and fun.

What would it mean for us to see ourselves as mystics, that is, those who have known a real and authentic experience of the Divine? It was such a privilege to hear the stories and experiences of some of the women throughout the weekend. Some of these were painful, sharing of times when their experiences had been dismissed or devalued. Others shared their stories of God's presence in their life for the first time. There were tears, laughter, blossoming and opening up. 

If you are interested in holding this retreat theme with your group, please get in contact and we can talk about the possibilities. It would be wonderful to share it with another group.

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