YOUR INVITATION TO REFINER'S PLAYGROUND
July 22-23, 2021
A VIRTUAL GATHERING
Meeting ID: 834 8312 9965
9-11 am and 1-3 pm each day
For One Who Is Exhausted — A Blessing
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have travelled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
(From Benedictus: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue.)
The safest place to be in a hurricane is in the center of it, the Eye. Strange, isn’t it? Granted, if you could avoid it altogether that would be better. We don’t always get that choice. Many of us are swallowed up in a different kind of storm. Work, family, health, financial pressures all can have a toll on us in quiet but relentless ways. There is much to be said about learning to rest in the middle of that which is unresolved. Is there an ‘Eye’ in the center of my current storm? Can we take a lesson from Nature?
O’Donohue, suggests there is a hidden joy…’far within slow time’. It can be hard to see especially when we’ve reached a level of exhaustion and feel we cannot think one more thought. Exhaustion can stalk us in very direct ways and in silent, obscure ways, too. Some of the more popular ways include:
• Endlessly busy and demanding days with no end in sight… ‘the hectic heart’.
• Vast amounts of uncertainty and fear that no cup can contain…’Marooned on unsure ground.’
• A long series of small events that have become the...unattended stress that has fallen in.’
• Working very hard on things that, to you, don’t matter at all…’Traveling too fast over false ground.’
• Deaths, injuries, and health crisis that have come and had their impact, leaving you with little or no time to grieve, or even say goodbye…’The uncried tears.’
• You’ve been running so fast for so long that even the thought of slowing down and resting carries another layer of fear in it…the entry way to ‘Slow time.’
• There may be a level of anger and despair that feels like it can consume us like,…’gravity falling down inside us.’
There is encouragement in O’Donahue’s blessing above. A profound joy and release dwells…’far within slow time.’ If we can hold true and trust what those who have gone ahead have said, there is a refuge in the center of the conditions that exhaust us. The eye of the storm.
For O’Donohue and many of us there is a sacred aspect to exhaustion and despair. It is beyond simply putting a happy face on tough times. ‘The soul has come to take us back.’ We may discover that, in fact, soul-crushing exhaustion may be a precursor to our conditioned mind’s complete and utter surrender to our True Nature. Perhaps we have not been marooned at all and can never be separated from that which we are.
In this virtual Summer gathering of the Refiners’ Playground, we want to explore what we are learning, struggling to learn or experiment with regarding exhaustion, despair and the secret refuge these experiences hold for us.
Please join us! We are eager to see and be with you again.
WHAT IS THE REFINER'S PLAYGROUND?
We are an open community of spiritual explorers who meet on a quarterly basis to share our current learning, questions about and experiments on the nature of reality. In particular, we seek to know the True Self directly while examining all of the hilarious ways we try to be something other than this! Our two day retreats are typically attended by 18-20 people from around the country. The dialogue is rich, at times profound, always compassionate and frequently hilarious. Come as frequently as you like and stay for as long as you like.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A TYPICAL GATHERING?
We meet in groups that range from 18-20 people. We share our stories of what we understand through direct experience and/or are currently learning through our own active experiments on the nature of being. There are no long-winded speeches or dazzling intellectual discourses. We tend not to agree or disagree with each other and seldom give others advice. We have no front of the room instructors or teachers as we all serve this role. We find that when we share our experiences with one another, as co-explorers- we each become more clear and confident about taking our next steps.
WHAT WE CURRENTLY KNOW
People who most benefit from the "Playground" are those who have:
A life long yearning to know what is true about themselves and the universe.
Grown tired of the typical self-help menu with its implied assumption there is some "defect" in us that requires improvement.
Believed more licenses, degrees or certifications will leave them finally and forever feeling "enough".
Many years' experience feeling alone, judged, misunderstood and have simply grown tired of this. And even more tired at having contributed to or led the charge themselves!
If you have experience with any of the above, welcome to the club! You will likely enjoy the solid food of the "Playground". The hard truth is that no amount of suffering or achievement can satisfy the deeper longing tugging at our soul. Our secret desire is wholeness and only our essential nature knows how to weave the fragments we present it into a coherent whole. Our hard work and effort to fix ourselves usually make matters worse, or at least continues the entertainment.
There is another way.
You are welcomed to come for as many sessions as you like and can leave whenever you like. Regardless of how much experience you have with deeper work, you will likely find in the Refiner's Playground a quality of dialogue and loving presence unlike anything you have ever experienced before.
$695 per session (includes breakfast and lunch). $2,495 when you sign up for the next four events. A savings of $285!
Bring a family member, partner, significant other at no additional cost!
Your Trusted Guides
Jim and Dan bring a half-century of experience wading around the inner landscape of human experience in ways that result in greater light, buoyancy, presence and power. We each have our unique spiritual path. We come in not as experts or even as facilitators who speak from the front of the room but as guides who walk alongside. We're aware of the terrain but cannot predict what will happen. Hence, the focus on playful experimentation.
The Refiner's Playground is:
“Time to lay down the armaments we use to fix ourselves and to come home. There is an un-changing center within us that isn’t concerned with anything other than NOW. I often see and recognize the Essential that lurks beneath those moments we naturally resist. I speak directly to it and am learning how to move with it and allow it more play in myself and in us. I am here to usher in an intimate, liberating partnership with the Essential in each all of us! We ARE this!” - Dan Holden
The Refiner's Playground offers us:
“A unique opportunity to embrace the perfection each life experience offers in burning away the dross of our deluded self perceptions, allowing the true, infinite, essential beings that we are to find fuller creative expression now. I am here to playfully master the art of finding, mining and refining the very best in us, allowing it to creatively express itself in response to the perfect challenge or opportunity that presents itself in each moment.” - Jim Anderson