Wednesday, May 8, 2013

stopping by woods on a rainy evening

I enjoyed another wonderful retreat at Tallgrass Spiritual Retreat Center in the Flint Hills last weekend.  If you haven't yet visited this place, I highly recommend you do so before Billie leaves this summer!  The countryside is gorgeous:

Whoops, hang on...

Okay, you have to like lots of sky and cows and fields.  And yes, this is the Flint Hills.  I just can't take pictures and drive at the same time on the windy, hilly parts, but they honestly are beautiful.

Technically, this isn't a hill; I was just holding my camera crooked.  Those are cows on the horizon, not ants.

Anyway, I learned a bit of SoulCollage.  I'll just let you explore their website.  It may seem voodooey or New Agey to some of my readers, and it can be used that way, but it doesn't have to be.  I appreciated reflecting on various aspects of my personality, or my inner selves, and learning from and about them.  For example:


This card represents my goofy side.  Obviously  I'm going to have to make more cards to adequately express this part of myself.

This represents what I call my shaman.  By "shaman" I don't mean one who uses magic, but simply one who hopes she is used by God to facilitate others' communion with him.   I broke a rule there with the sign's words - it's supposed to be pictures only - but "wine" made me think of "whine" which made me laugh and of the blood of Christ.  I realize in the top left that it looks like I think God is an ape.  What I mean to communicate with that photo is the connection humans have with animals and all of creation.

This one represents me as a member of a large family.  I saw the pic of the boy with the cow first, and it reminded me of Grandpa and Dad.  Then I saw the photo in the upper left and was reminded of my mom.  I grumbled to myself that I hadn't meant to bring my family with me on this retreat, but when I saw the rainbow-colored parrots, I gave up.  It reminded me of a cousin who loves rainbows, then all my cousins.  So here you have a portrayal of various and all family members.  (Dang it.  I just remembered there was a small picture of a turkey in the stack of pictures.  I could have used it for my brother.  Oh well, live and learn.)

This one started out as a portrayal of the dark, or, in Jungian terms, the shadow side of me.  I started with the picture of the forest and the words (oops) from his poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."  I added the snakes, then I found the picture of the Jewish boy with wording (oops oops) similar to Frost's, so I put that on there, then I put on the other pics and decided this represents a combination of my shadow self and the part of myself that is interested in learning about other religions.  The dark schizophrenic, if you will.

My stay was short and squeezed in between two sessions of working with kids.  I thought I was being an idiot; I usually can't handle a schedule that loaded, but of course I was instead refreshed and renewed by the time and by Billie's hospitality.  Thank you again, Billie, for the physical and spiritual space and the teaching that you give!

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