get in touch

Spirit Journal – September 2018

Preview

This issue points you toward opportunities to register for two upcoming contemplative events: a silent retreat in Wisconsin next month and our seventh annual Fall Workshop on November 3 in Lisle.  Cynthia Bourgeault provides an invitation and welcome to the conversation she plans to lead at the Fall Workshop.  (Now is the time to reserve your place – the workshop is less than two months away and 350 people have already signed up to attend.  Please register soon so you won’t be left out.)

We share information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and across the midwest. This month’s Insights come from Richard Rohr, Marco Semarini, Ram Dass and Rabbi Rami Shapiro.  This issue also includes the sixth chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing journal of Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  In this chapter, things are getting more than a bit dramatic as unexpected snow and cold weather put Phil into a precarious situation.

Please let us know what you think about Spirit Journal – and start your side of the conversation – by emailing the editor at the address provided at the end of the newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you!

Register Now for a Silent Weekend Retreat in Benet Lake Wisconsin, October 5-7

Retreat leaders Spencer Foon and Becky Serpe invite you to leave the distractions and noise of your daily life behind for just a weekend and live into the silence of this retreat offering. You will have time for that much-needed rest and rejuvenation as well as an opportunity to listen more deeply for that “still, small voice of God” that may be nudging you.

For more information and registration, download this retreat brochure or contact Becky Serpe, 847.533.1285, RebeccaSerpe17@gmail.com.

About the Retreat Leaders:

Spencer Foon is a graduate of the Shalem Institute’s Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats program, facilitates a contemplative prayer group, and participates in Contemplative Outreach Chicago’s Wisdom Practice Group.

Becky Serpe is a graduate of the Shalem Institute’s program on Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats, a Spiritual Director, and is the Lead Coordinator for the Christos’, Tending the Holy training program for spiritual directors. On request, Becky will be available for a limited number of spiritual direction sessions through the weekend.

Advance Registration Continues for Our Seventh Annual One-Day Fall Workshop November 3 in Lisle

Contemplative Outreach Chicago, 7th annual fall workshop. Christian Wisdom as Prophecy: an ongoing conversation between Centering Prayer and the Wisdom Tradition. With Cynthia Bourgeault.

This year’s Fall Workshop features Cynthia Bourgeault.  Her focus: How Wisdom work can help extend and deepen our transformation in Centering Prayer.

Don’t miss out – 350 people have already registered, so why not sign up today while you can still take advantage of Advance Registration pricing?   You may register online or download and print this mail-in form.

An Invitation and Welcome from Cynthia Bourgeault: “Contemplative Prayer to Contemplative Wisdom”

In our workshop November 3, we will begin grounded in the practice of centering prayer, and from that perspective, we will explore the view as “the eye of the heart” opens and traverses the path leading directly from a daily practice of contemplative prayer into the mystical wisdom lineage flowing like an underground river through the heart of the Christian mystical and contemplative heritage.

Rooted in the Christian mystical and visionary tradition, we will look at contemplation in its original sense, as “luminous seeing” and listen to the language of silence with its creative connections to the subtle realms, without which spiritual inquiry tends to become overly cognitive and contentious.

I look forward to joining you all for a day that will include a blend of teaching and narrative. Our day together will flow from describing the journey to re-open access to an ancient, but badly neglected, lineage of Christian mystical wisdom to, more importantly, creating opportunities to pray, practice, and dialogue together, building our own practical foundation for the wisdom journey.

Visit Cynthia’s website

Upcoming Events, Retreats, and Conferences

Here are some upcoming contemplative activities that may be of interest:

Ongoing Centering Prayer “11th Step” Programs in Northfield and Chicago

In AA 12-step programs, the 11th step is making a personal effort to get in touch with a Higher Power, however one understands it.  Increasingly, people in 12-Step programs are deepening their relationships with their Higher Power using the method of Centering Prayer.

Here in the Chicago area, two new Centering Prayer-based 11th step groups have formed.  One meets on Sundays, 4:30-5:15, at 319 Waukegan Road in Northfield.  For more information, please contact Leonette Kaluzny – leonettekaluzny@aol.com.

Another Centering Prayer 11th step program meets on Fridays at 6:45pm in conference room “C” on the 7th floor of the Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison Street, Chicago. For further information on this program, please contact Philip Lo Dolce — stuffer1@ameritech.net.)

Healing Gardens’ Upcoming Programs Include Yoga, Tai Chi, Silent Saturdays, and an “Awakening in Nature Retreat”

Healing Gardens at Stonehill Farm invites you to enjoy two acres of perennial gardens in a quiet wooded setting in St. Charles.  The many contemplative activities taking place at Healing Gardens, include the following: 

Yoga and/or Tai Chi in the Gardens, Sundays September 9, October 14

Silent Saturday Mornings, August 18, September 20

Awakening in Nature Retreat, September 16

For more information and registration, please visit the Healing Gardens website.

Merton Society Announces Three Upcoming Talks, September – November

The Chicago Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society has announced three talks this fall, Sunday afternoons at the Rectory Assembly of Immaculate Conception Parish, 7211 W. Talcott, Chicago.

September 16: Dr. Pauline Viviano, Professor of Theology Emerita, Loyola University, on the topic: “An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living’ (Socrates): Contemplative Living à la Merton.”

October 21: Gregory F. Augustine Pierce, Publisher, ACTA Publications, will speak on “What Brian Doyle Knew: The Spirituality of Reading and Writing in the Age of Cable TV, YouTube, and Instagram.”

November 18: Pat O’Connell, founding member of the ITMS, former president and current Board Member will discuss the newly published, “Cistercian Fathers and Forefathers—Essays and Conferences” by Thomas Merton, edited by Pat. Also commenting will be Tom Masters, Editorial Director of New City Press, publisher of the book.

Talks are open to the public; park in the church lot. Freewill donation at the door, suggested $5, (free to dues-paying members) and refreshments will be served. “MERTON LECTURE” signs with arrows point to the entrance of the Rectory Assembly. For more information, contact Mike at 773-685-4736.

One-Day Retreat with Father Carl Arico, September 18 in Kansas City

The theme of Father Arico’s retreat will be “I s Y o u r Y e s a Y e s o r a M a y b e? T h e P o w e r o f C o n s e n t i n g” He will share the power of consent and the challenge of staying faithful. This is a unique opportunity to work with Fr. Carl, endearing, captivating and legendary in his wise, humorous and humble sharing. The retreat includes two periods of Centering Prayer and a Praying of the Scriptures.

Fr. Carl Arico is a founding member of Contemplative Outreach and a long-time friend of Father Thomas Keating. He is the author of A Taste of Silence and has traveled extensively in the United States and internationally to present workshops and retreats. For further information and registration, please visit https://www.contemporaryspirituality.eventbrite.com/

Seven-Day Intensive/Post-Intensive Retreat, October 7-13 in Dittmer, Missouri

Both tracks of this retreat at the IL Ritiro Retreat Center provide an opportunity to deepen the practice of Centering Prayer in an atmosphere of profound silence and community support. The Intensive Retreat has up to six thirty-minute Centering Prayer periods daily, along with the viewing of a selection of the Spiritual Journey Video Series by Fr. Thomas Keating.  The Post Intensive Retreat will have up to eight thirty-minute periods of Centering Prayer daily, without any additional activity or input.

The retreat is sponsored by Contemplative Outreach of Central Missouri. Click here for further information.

Midwest Wisdom Schools in Dubuque Iowa

If you are longing to go deeper in your Centering Prayer practice, and perhaps yearning for a community of like-hearted seekers, you are invited to participate in one or more Wisdom Schools being offered at the Shalom Spirituality Center in Dubuque.  The next session is:

Oct 15-18, 2018               Placing Our Mind in Our Heart (Introductory Level, Part A)

The Wisdom schools are led by Beth O’Brien, Benedictine oblate and Founder of Contemplative Presence.  A long-time Centering Prayer practitioner, Beth has been a direct student of Cynthia Bourgeault.  In 2014, she received Cynthia’s blessing to teach and carry forth the Wisdom lineage.  Beth led a one-day workshop on Mary Magdalene that was part of Contemplative Outreach – Chicago’s Living Wisdom Series in 2017.  For more information & registration, please visit the Contemplative Presence website.  (www.ContemplativePresence.org)

“Disappear from View?” Thomas Merton Fifty Years Later, December 7-8 at the Catholic Theological Union

The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union joins the Chicago Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society and Loyola University’s Joan & Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage to host a two-day conference dedicated to the legacy and future of Merton’s work.

The schedule of addresses, panel discussions, concurrent presentations, and liturgy will bring together in Chicago internationally-known speakers including Richard Rohr, Paul Quenon, Judith Valente, Paul Pearson, C. Vanessa White, Robert Ellsberg, Christopher Pramuk, and many others.

Registration is required.  For further information and registration, visit the CTU website.

Spirit in the Wild Chapter 6 – The Deep Freeze

by Phil Jackson

Last year, Phil Jackson (until 2016 the coordinator of Contemplative Outreach – Chicago) went on a two-week solo backpacking trip in the High Sierras of California.  It was a spiritual journey as well as a physical challenge, and it became a surprisingly intense experience.  Phil has now documented his journey in writing.  If you want to start at the beginning, go to the March issue of Spirit Journal.  Here is Chapter 6:

“You are not that important.” Adam’s Return, the Five Promises of Male Initiation, Richard Rohr.

Utterly alone, deep dark, so cold that even lying in my sleeping quilt with dry socks, the cold is hardly bearable — wet stream crossings and the exhausting drudgery of moving through deep, damp snow is taking its toll, as well as the actual temperature.

I’m miles from any automobile road, and likely miles from any human, in this nondescript spot abandoned by a trail clearing team. If I were in a local town I might be aware that this night is not only well below normal temperatures, but well below the record low ever recorded here. As it is, all I am aware of is that I am cold, I need to cover a good distance tomorrow, and my tired body needs sleep so I can call on it for the ascent tomorrow. I eat the highest calorie food I have to build up my body heat and burrow into my quilt. Wrapped tightly, wearing every piece of clothing I have (except my wet pants and socks), I am bone-tired and bone-cold. Tiredness wins out and I’m knocked out.

I wake suddenly. My right arm is being grabbed and shaken. This is not a dream. With my senses of sight and hearing desperately returning from deep slumber, I become more aware.  Nothing could have walked through the tarp opening above me and not stepped on me. Silence.  No footsteps or movements. Total, complete silence, undeniable shaking. Something is reaching through and shaking my bicep. Another moment to orient myself and I know that what’s shaking me is the cold fingers of the night itself, just as solidly gripping my arm as if a bear held me. My right arm convulses. I am shaken full awake by the cold. This is hypothermia – the beginning of being frozen. My arm, sheathed only in a light jacket and thin shirt, is outside the quilt and off the pad. It rests on thin clear plastic. The freezing ground, without moving, is an earthquake.

Insights

 An old abba [desert father] was asked what was necessary to do to be saved. He was sitting making rope. Without glancing up, he said, “You’re looking at it.” Just as so many of the mystics have taught us, doing what you’re doing with presence and intention is prayer.

– Richard Rohr

We have to go forward in confidence that the little things we do might, in time, grow into mighty works.  It’s all up to God.  All we can do is our very best to serve him.

– Marco Sermarini

Compassionate action is a path on which we grow in awareness and insight.  As we grow, we become purer instruments for change. We become hollow reeds for the healing music of life.

– Ram Dass

Divine knowledge is always rooted in the details of ordinary life. The aim of all knowledge or visionary ecstasy is to increase the power of hesed [steadfast love] and compassionate action. . . It is alive with the awareness of the holiness of Creation and the boundlessness of God’s mercy, and is utterly honest about the necessity of living such awareness in loving service to all beings. . . With great knowledge and love [come] great responsibility to try to represent the Divine in all things and activities, and to stand up for justice and the dispossessed in a brutal society.

– Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Your Turn

Please write in to comment on or add to any of the items in this month’s newsletter.  Let us know if you are aware of an upcoming event you think others should know about, or send us an inspirational quote you’d like to share, or information about a book, website, podcast, or video you recommend.  You are always invited to contribute by emailing the newsletter editor at news@centeringprayerchicago.org.

Spirit Journal – August 2018

Preview

This August issue reminds you that it’s time to register for this year’s Annual Fall Workshop, coming up on November 3, and provides a look at the themes Cynthia Bourgeault will be exploring that day. It’s not too early to register – the workshop is now less than three months away and more than 200 people have already signed up to attend.  Please register soon so you won’t be left out.

We also include a personal reflection from Al Krema on maintaining contemplative consciousness and balance amid the distractions and disturbances of the current era.  We share information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and further afield. This month’s Insights come from Marianne Williamson, Krista Tippett, Lama Tsultrim Allione, and Wayne Dyer.

This issue also offers the fifth chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing journal of Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – July 2018

Preview

In this issue, we announce the start of registration for this year’s Annual Fall Workshop, coming up on November 3, and provide a look at the themes Cynthia Bourgeault will be exploring that day.

We also provide information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and around the region, including two that are scheduled for mid-July: a “level two” Enneagram worshop in St. Charles and Advanced/Post-Intensive Retreats in Benet Lake, Wisconsin.  This month’s Insights come from Wendell Berry, Henry David Thoreau, Sharon Salzberg and the Rig Veda.

Alan Krema offers a reflection on the topic of Opening Race Into a Question of Belonging, based on an “On Being” podcast that discussed the ideas of John Powell.  This issue also includes the fourth chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing reflection on Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – May 2018

Preview

In this issue, Alan Krema provides a first look at the important themes Cynthia Bourgeault will be exploring during our seventh annual One-Day Fall Workshop in November.

We also provide information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the region and renew our “call for new volunteers” to help build on the Contemplative Outreach – Chicago mission, which is to support the teaching and practice of Centering Prayer.  This month’s Insights come from C.G. Jung, Lao Tzu, Martin Laird, and Thomas Keating.

This issue also includes Chapter 3 of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing personal reflection in which Phil describes his solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  In addition, there’s a poem Pat Benson was inspired to write during a recent retreat day at Healing Gardens and a thank you note from Fr. Keating to those who recently reached out to thank him and wish him well.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – April 2018

Preview

This April issue continues Spirit in the Wild — a story that began in last month’s Spirit Journal in which Phil Jackson describes and reflects on his solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  We also remind you to save the date this fall – November 3 – when you’ll have an opportunity to encounter the transformative wisdom teachings of Cynthia Bourgeault at our seventh annual One-Day Fall Workshop.

This issue also includes a “call for new volunteers” to help Contemplative Outreach – Chicago continue and expand its mission in support of the practice of Centering Prayer, along with information about a number of upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally.  This month’s Insights come from Chief Seattle, Rachel Carson, John Muir, and Pema Chödrön.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – March 2018

Preview

This issue provides updates about the ongoing 2018 Living Wisdom Program and the rescheduled “Winter” Weekend Retreat and releases the initial chapter of a story we think you may find interesting and inspiring: an in-depth personal reflection written by Phil Jackson about his solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.

Importantly, this issue also includes a “call for new volunteers” to help Contemplative Outreach Chicago continue and expand its mission in support of the practice of Centering Prayer, along with information about several upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally.  This month’s Insights come from Mahatma Ghandi, Albert Camus, Thomas Keating, and Richard Rohr.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – February 2018

Preview

This issue provides new information about the ongoing 2018 Living Wisdom Program and our rescheduled “Winter” Weekend Retreat.

We also inform you about several other upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally.  February Insights come from Ram Dass, Martin Luther King Jr., Victoria Rosales, and Howard Thurman.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – January 2018

Preview

This first 2018 issue of Spirit Journal features new information and reflections on our two upcoming events: the Winter Weekend Retreat and the Living Wisdom Program.

We also inform you about several other interesting contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally, and include a reflection on the midwinter gifts of nature and Centering Prayer, written by our friend Deb Marqui of Healing Gardens.  January Insights focus on miracles; they come from Wayne Dyer, Paulo Coelho, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Albert Einstein.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – December 2017

Preview

Merry Christmas!

Our December issue of Spirit Journal announces the continuation of our Living Wisdom Program in 2018 – with all-day Saturday workshops exploring three facets of the Wisdom tradition.  It also features an in-depth reflection on the 2018 Winter Weekend Retreat, written by Alan Krema, who will serve as the retreat guide.

In addition, we inform you about several other upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and further afield.  Christmas Insights come from Calvin Coolidge, G.K. Chesterton, Dale Evans, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Continue Reading →

Spirit Journal – November 2017

Preview

This issue announces our 2018 Winter Weekend Retreat, looks back on the recent 2017 Fall Workshop, provides several worthwhile video links, alerts you to other events of interest, and wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!  November Insights come from Meister Eckhart, Kahlil Gibran, Thomas Merton and A.A. Milne.

Continue Reading →

Web design by cpe design