Digging into Our Hopes and Growing Our Work, Aug. 2002 retreat

August 6, 2002

From: Lynn Englund and John Wallace

Regarding: Upcoming retreat, “Hopework: Digging into Our Hopes and Growing Our Work” at Shalom Hill Farm near Windom, MN.

Dates/Time/Cost: 6 pm Friday, Aug. 30 to 12 noon on Sunday, Sept. 1 ($55 per person) with optional stay ’til 12 noon on Labor Day (additional $27). Please RSVP by 8/28. Sliding fee available.

We invite you to join us for a weekend Hopework Folk School retreat. Myles Horton’s grandfather, Mordecai Pinkney Horton (1858-1934) said, “You can hitch your wagon to the stars, but you can’t haul corn or hay in it if its wheels aren’t on the ground.” As the guiding quote for this retreat, we like to shorten it to: Hitch your wagon to the stars, but keep its wheels on the ground.

The intent of this retreat is to provide participants with a rich environment for digging into our hopes and growing our work. We will be revisiting and renewing our hopes, providing room for them to grow bigger and bolder, rethinking how our hopes align with our day-to-day choices and work, and clarifying the next steps we want to take in our work.

We’ve learned that SOME preplanned common activities interwoven with A LOT of activities grown spontaneously from the interests and needs of the group can generate powerful experiences. Experiences from which people come away with a sense of belonging and getting to know the whole group, AND a sense of having gotten real work done, bricks made to add to the lives they are building back home.

The preplanned common activities at this retreat will be
* evening meals on Friday and Saturday,
* a learning circle Saturday morning, and
* a concluding learning circle Sunday morning.
Participants will co-create activities for the rest of their time on the spot.

We encourage you to bring along with you a project that calls to you, something you are working on. Perhaps a writing project. A planning project. A learning project. Something you would like to share and get feedback on from fresh perspectives. A book you want to lose yourself in, or discuss with someone else. An artist’s book you want to make. The possibilities are endless.

Bring along with you the materials and resources that you need. Consider that an important resource might be other people–a friend, a colleague, a collaborator. If so, invite them! Of course bring books, musical instruments, and other materials–whatever you need to dig into your work and play.

Some of you will come to the retreat already clustered in small groups of people who know they want to work together. Others will come unattached: some of you will stay unattached because that is the nature of your project, but others will have opportunities to cluster into spontaneous interest groups.

A special note. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of stronger communities and are working to build them. We hope this invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. Please share this invitation with anyone whom you wish to invite.

Second special note. Because of the Labor Day weekend, anyone who would like to has the option to stay for another day. The additional cost is $20 for the sleeping room (single occupancy) plus $7 for meals.

Third special note. Information about previous retreats including photographs can be found at https://www.hopework.org

SIGNING UP FOR THE RETREAT

RESERVING YOUR ROOM. We can accommodate up to 25 persons at this retreat. A room is held for you when you inform John Wallace (walla003[at]umn.edu) or Lynn Englund (engl881[at]umn.edu) that you wish to attend. Please register by August 28 so that food quantities can be purchased in advance.

COST. Shalom Hill Farm charges $20 per person per night for lodging, single occupancy. Double occupancy rooms are charged at $15 per person per night. Our group will be buying our own food and preparing our own meals. Based on the experience of previous workshops, it will cost $15 per person for food for the whole Friday-Sunday retreat. So, the total cost is $55 per person single occupancy or $45 per person double occupancy.

SLIDING FEE. To recognize the fact that different people have different abilities to pay, we offer a self-selected sliding fee ranging from $35 to $75. What you pay is up to you–there is no application or review process. If you choose to pay less than cost ($55), you are accepting a scholarship. If you choose to pay more than cost, you are providing a scholarship for someone else.

BANKER. John Wallace will serve as the banker for this retreat. Please make your checks out to him (me). You may pay in advance or at the retreat. If you want to send me a check, please send it to 4536 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409.

PERSONAL GEAR AND BEDDING. Shalom Hill Farm provides sheets, towels, and blankets. You won’t need to bring your sleeping bag, but do bring personal toiletries including soap and shampoo.

TRANSPORTATION. We encourage car pooling and will help to coordinate rides. Please let John or Lynn know if you need a ride or if you can provide rides. John will put out a summary of who is driving and who needs a ride so that good travel matches can be made. Also, please let John know if you would like to caravan with other cars. Allow at least 2.5 hours of travel time from Minneapolis, more if traveling during rush hour.

MEALS. Simple foods are prepared on site by retreat participants. Meals are often entirely vegetarian, but if not, a vegetarian option is available. Please note any special dietary needs when you register.

REGISTRATION. Please register by August 28 so that food can be purchased in advance. Simply e-mail John Wallace (walla003[at]umn.edu) or Lynn Englund (engl8813[at]umn.edu) saying that you intend to participate. We will expect you by 6 p.m. on Friday and through 12 noon on Sunday unless you discuss other arrangements with us. Please include in your registration message the following information:

1. Name
2. Food requirements: vegetarian, vegan, other food desires?
3. Whether you are able to drive a car which can hold ____ passengers,
or that you need a ride from ______ location.
4. Alternative arrival or departure times if needed.

 

Images from May 2002 retreat

May 2002 Hopework Folkschool Retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, Windom, MN.

Five-day Writing Retreat, July 2002

Writing Retreat, July 26-31, Shalom Hill Farm, and Writing Times, Blue Moon Café, July 8 and July 22

We are writing to invite you to a writing retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, starting Friday, July 26, at dinner time and concluding Wednesday, July 31, around lunch time.

And to invite you also to the July writing times at the Blue Moon Coffee Café, 5:30-7:00 PM, on Mondays July 8 and 22. The Blue Moon is on East Lake Street at 39th Avenue.

What will be writing retreat be like? The motto of the retreat could be Rousseau’s saying about education, that “the point is not to save time, but to lose time.” A group of facilitators (Ilene Alexander, Julie Plaut, Peter Shea, Mary Ellen Shaw, Kim Lindell, Joanne Englund, Lynn Englund, and John Wallace) met on June 19 and came up with the following ideas:

The retreat will be very lightly facilitated, with a simple and open structure to time, and to meals, and will give participants a lot of time to write according to their individual rhythms.

We will use the space at Shalom Hill Farm to create a few different writing and socializing environments. For examples, a quiet space with tables where you can write quietly in the presence of others writing-that is, a space to write in company and not be talked to; a talking space where you can have conversations about whatever (for those of you who have been at Shalom Hill Farm, we think we will use the dining room in the Commons for this, next to the kitchen where there is likely to be coming and going and snacking and talking most of the time anyway); the space in your sleeping room can be a quiet private writing space; and then there is the great outdoors.

On using your sleeping room as a writing space-it will probably be a good idea to bring card table to write on. Only a few of the sleeping rooms at Shalom Hill Farm are equipped with desks.

Shalom Hill Farm now has superfast internet connections. We will bring a Mac, a PC, and a printer or two so these modern conveniences and access to email will be available those who want them.

Breakfast and lunch will be simple do-it-yourself meals. Cereal, toast, bagels, fruit for breakfast. Sandwich fixings for lunch. Dinner will be a little bigger deal, a real meal so to speak where all participants will sit down together.

Besides dinner, the only times that will be “programmed” for everyone to participate are an introductory meeting on that first Friday evening, and a concluding meeting on Wednesday morning.

We will encourage and provide opportunity for small-self initiated groups to form where participants might read their writing to each other, give and receive feedback, do writing exercises of the Natalie Goldberg type (or any other type) and so forth. There will be a big sheet for suggestions and sign-up for these groups prominently displayed. These will be self-initiated spaces for risk-taking and surprise.

It is OK for people to come for only part of this retreat. The loose structure makes this possible. The fee for the retreat will be pro-rated for a shorter stay.

A word about the fee for this retreat. As you know, the fees we charge for these retreats exactly cover costs. For this retreat, the costs for the full six days will be about $140. As for the shorter weekend retreats, we offer the option where without any application or review or questions you can give yourself a scholarship-and pay, say, $90–or give a scholarship, by paying some amount more than $140, say $190.

John Wallace will serve as banker for this retreat. Payment may be made to him either at the retreat or by sending a check to 4536 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409.

Further information about the folk school, about costs, logistics, travel, and registering for the retreat can be found on the web at www.hopework.org

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them.

Let me remind you again of, and urge you to feel welcome to participate in, the July writing times at the Blue Moon Coffee Café, 5:30-7:00 PM, on Mondays July 8 and 22. The Blue Moon is on East Lake Street at 39th Avenue. These times can be an opportunity to ask questions about, and warm up for, the end of July 5-day retreat.

A word about future retreats. We have the following retreats scheduled:

August 30-September 1, 2002, just before the start of Fall Semester at the U of MN. The topic will for this retreat has not been chosen yet. Choosing the topic will happen at a potluck sometime in July. Stay tuned for an invitation.

And finally, please don’t hesitate to call or email Lynn Englund or John Wallace if you have questions or suggestions (engl8813@umn.edu 612-625-1944 walla003@umn.edu 612-624-5210).

Lives Worth Living, May 2002 retreat

May 4, 2002

To: Folk school folks

From: John Wallace

Regarding: Invitation to a retreat on “Lives Worth Living: Questions of Self, Vocation, and Community,” Shalom Hill Farm, May 17-19, 2002

The title of this retreat is the same as that of the May term residential immersion course that will be held at Shalom Hill Farm from May 28 through June 14.

The retreat will be a kind of preview of or dress rehearsal for the course. We will be trying out metaphors of life as a walk or a wander or a journey, We will take a real live walk on the prairie and do some writing and reflection about that.

Those of you who have participated in previous retreats know what we sometimes use an Arnold Lobel frog and toad story to help us raise issues and questions. I don’t know whether we will decide to use this story, but there is a lovely one, “The Corner,” in which frog goes in search of the corner that, as his father has told him, spring is just around.

And hey, isn’t Spring what we are all searching for? We may find it, at Shalom Hill Farm, May 17-19.

Facilitators for the retreat are Peter Shea, Nance Longley, Lynn Englund, and John Wallace.

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them. A second special note. We need volunteer “leadership pairs” for the meals. Heather Cardinale has held out lasagna hope for one of the evening meals, Friday or Saturday. If you would like to pair up with Heather, or would like to team up with someone for the other evening meal, or Saturday lunch, or Sunday breakfast, please email me, and I will facilitate setting up the teams.

For logistical information about the retreat, including costs, basics to bring, and directions and travel time, see the web site https://www.hopework.org

A word about future retreats. We have the following retreats scheduled:

July 26-31, 2002
This will be a writing retreat at which people bring their own writing project, have a lot of private time to work on it, and also a lot of time to share writing and ideas with the community of writers that will form. WE ARE FINDING A GREAT DEAL OF INTEREST IN THIS RETREAT. DUE TO THE LEVEL OF INTEREST, WE ARE CREATING A LIST OF THOSE INTERESTED IN COMING. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE LIST.

August 30-September 1, 2002
Just before the start of Fall Semester at the U of MN.

Please let me know if you have questions. And also, let me know that you are coming to the May 17-19 retreat.

Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of the World, Feb. 2002 retreat

February 8, 2002

To: Folk school folks

From: Lynn Englund and John Wallace

Regarding: Retreat on “Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of the World,” Shalom Hill Farm, February 22-24, 2002

Participants in this retreat will create a useable book, “The Mindful Activist’s Morning and Evening Book,” in which we share and combine our practices, insights, and skills. This will be a thoroughly cooperative enterprise. Each participant will have an opportunity to contribute his or her gifts to creating a page or parts of several pages. Everyone will take home a custom-made copy of the book.

This retreat builds on the January 20-22 retreat. This retreat began with conversations about September 11 and evolved into exploration of our successes and challenges in combining care for ourselves and care for the world. At the end of the retreat, participants made suggestions for the February retreat. Here are some of the ideas that came out:

  • Create together an artist’s book that will be an expression of the creative process over the weekend (analogous of the quilt created at one earlier retreat, and the poem created at another). Shared wisdom of all of our voices speaking our own truth.
  • Creating a world we love. How do we take care of ourselves and the world at the same time? Sharing the practices that help us do this. Leaving the retreat with real tools.
  • Conversation on what nourishes us. Conversation on the points at which nourishing ourselves and nourishing the world become one and the same thing.

Information about the folk school, about costs, logistics, travel, and registering for the retreat can be found on the web at www.hopework.org

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them.

A word about future retreats. We have the following retreats scheduled:

May 17-19, 2002 The last day of U of MN exam period is May 18.

July 26-31, 2002 This will be a writing retreat at which people bring their own writing project, have a lot of private time to work on it, and also a lot of time to share writing and ideas with the community of writers that will form. WE ARE FINDING A GREAT DEAL OF INTEREST IN THIS RETREAT. DUE TO THE LEVEL OF INTEREST, WE ARE CREATING A LIST OF THOSE INTERESTED IN COMING. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE LIST.

August 30-September 1, 2002 Just before the start of Fall Semester at the U of MN.

The Shalom Poem and images from the 2001 Hopework poetry retreat

The Shalom Poem

Now is the time to say what
we have to say,
The room is quiet.

Words in our soup, wordless stories on
cloth, and the poetry of good
talk!

There was a new voice which you slowly
recognized as your own.

For the ocean, nothing is beneath
consideration.

Room to spread wide our view
our thoughts, our words and our trust.

I am meant to have found here this
serious play of shaking out ideas
in the earth and history I
learn with you.

Do you love this life?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?

Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Remember the beauty of the
prairie morning and that the
meanings come after
the making.

Each holy site contains its
own revelation.

The force that through the green fuse
drives the flower drives my green age.

Ask me whether what I have
done is my life.

Dear dream of utter aliveness
What is the light that you see
Where is the wind that you touch

How poignant and amplified
the world seemed

The prairie is not soft, but it
listens and it holds our secrets.

When you read these lines,
think of me
and of what I have
not written here.

A collective construction by participants of the Oct. 19, 2001 Hopework Folkschool Retreat.

Images from Hopework Folkschool’s Poetry retreat

October 19-21, 2001 at Shalom Hill Farm, Windom, MN.

Responding to September 11 and its aftermath – Jan. 2002 retreat

December 28, 2001

To: Folk School Group

From: John Wallace

Re: Retreat on responding to September 11 and its aftermath, at Shalom Hill Farm, January 18-20, 2002

September 11 and its aftermath seem like a call: Wake up! Get serious! Change your life! I am writing to invite you to a retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, January 18-20. We will share the meanings we are making of September 11 and its aftermath, and explore actions and changes in our lives that we might make to respond.

Information about logistics and about registering for the retreat can be found on the web at  www.hopework.org.

At the folk school evening on November 18 several Somali students from Roosevelt High School shared what September 11 has meant to them and their families. We hope that some of these students will participate in the January retreat.The facilitators of the retreat are Piyali Nath Dalal, Nick Longo, Ilene Alexander, Monica Janzen, and Peter Shea (and possibly also Aleida Benitez, Gunnar Liden, Emily Farell). To give an idea of what the retreat will be like, let me share some of the themes the facilitators have identified-all of these came up in the November 18 meeting–are working to shape into a weekend of conversations and activities. What fears, and also what hopes for the future, have been called forth by what has happened? How can we ally ourselves with local communities, Muslim and other, which now have reason to doubt they will receive welcome and equal respect in this country? How can we create a space to hear a range of responses to September, from profound grief to determination to take particular actions? To what extent do we need new information to respond intelligently and well (e.g., information about United States actions and policies, or about the Muslim world and its history), and to what extent is what we need NOT information, but something else? And what might that something else be? What new conflicts and tensions are we finding in our own lives and relationships? And what new pressures to be silent, to not express our real views, to hide our truth and not to hear others when they express their truth? How can we create spaces to counteract these pressures and heal these conflicts? What does patriotism mean? What things about this country are we proud of? What things about this country are we ashamed of?

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them.

To register send John Wallace an email (walla003@umn.ed) with your name, whether you have any special food requirements, whether you need a ride or can drive and if you have room to take others, who we should contact in case of an emergency, when you expect to arrive and depart, and the amount you will pay.

Poetry, a Retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, October 19-21, 2001

Poetry is a cultural resource that opens up new spaces for seeing the world and feeling our place in it in fresh ways. I am writing to invite you to a retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, October 19-21, in which we will share poetry we love and explore its potential for shaping our worlds anew. Information about the topic, about logistics and about registering for the retreat appears below

A special note. This invitation will reach some people who have not previously taken part in a gathering sponsored by the folk school group. That is great. The folk school gatherings are intended to bring new people together and to be open to people who share the values of wanting stronger communities and working to build them.

The facilitators of the retreat are Nancy Sather, Ilene Alexander, Amy Muse, and Peter Shea

Topic. We are asking each person who participates in this retreat to bring three things

One. Bring a poem you love to share with the group. We also hope that you will bring the book in which you found the poem. In effect, you may bring a whole poet. But we are asking that you survey all the poetry you love, and choose one poem which is especially alive and meaningful for you now

Two. Bring something in words, it may be a poem or it may be prose or a mixture of both, that keeps you going or that enlivens you

Three. Bring something that is not just words or not words at all–music, painting, sculpture, textile, pottery–that keeps you going or that enlivens you.

Here are some of the thoughts that emerged in the planning meeting on September 9 in which poetry rose was chosen as the topic for the October retreat. Space for us to reflect on and share with others our experience of poetry, our enjoyment/non-enjoyment of poetry (at different points in our lives, in different moods, and so on). Bring some favorite poems to spend time with and to share

Spend some time writing poetry of our own-with good exercises to dissolve our blocks and free up our creativity for this–and sharing it. Collaborative poetry (something like the quilt made of individual’s squares that we did at the last retreat?).