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

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

For the ocean, nothing is beneath

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.