YOUR INVITATION TO REFINER'S PLAYGROUND
April 20-21, 2023
Lake Lawn Resort
2400 E Geneva Street, Delavan, WI 53115
(Cut off for Refiners’ room rate — (Cut off for Refiners’ room rate — March 19, 2022)
FROM LETTING GO TO LETTING BE
The soul’s silent invitation
I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
--Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?
( Juan Ramon Jimenez)
Many spiritual traditions speak of the need to learn to let go. The overused adage, ‘Let go and let God’ captures the essence of these teachings. The understanding is that until we can stand back and take a perspective on our experience we are likely to become entangled in it. ‘It has us, we don’t have it’ is another, related, saying many of us in the Refiners Playground are familiar with. There is one aspect of letting go, however, that can make it especially challenging. We are familiar with this tendency: making judgements.
In the famous poem above the poet captures this kind of judgement. Something great has happened, yet the judgement is that nothing has happened! Many have had this kind of astounding experience where we judge what is happening and conclude our judgement is correct. Things are then deemed good or bad, right or wrong, safe or unsafe, supportive or not supportive of us in our lives. We often find out later we had no idea what had actually happened. The new life, initially judged as nothing happening, ends up as everything has happened!
Ultimately, the part of us which is letting go is still rooted in judgements like this. Letting go becomes a negotiation: If I let go, things will improve, right? This is especially true when our own life or the lives of those we love are judged to be at stake. These are very difficult moments; the negotiations themselves must be acknowledged with compassion…and let go. There is still a great thing — beyond letting go — that lies down there in the depths. It invites us to open more, to expand more deeply and allow its presence a place in us. This ‘great thing we strike against’ offers no judgement about our lives or experience; instead it opens and allows for it all and holds us as well.
We do not need to give up or resign ourselves to our predicament. Life happens with or without our help. Paradoxically, as we open more, we become more available to ALL OF WHAT IS, without the chains of judgement. The range of responses expands, the possibilities grow, even when our pain feels unbearable.
The tendency at times is to describe this great place as something beyond us. The intuition came into me from beyond…I got a nudge from somewhere, etc. Even the word, Beyond, is a judgement. What if there is no beyond? What if this silent capacity to be at rest with all of what is is who we actually are? What if this great thing down there in the depths is what we truly are —The Infinite — temporarily living in the intersection where the Unmanifest meets the Manifest? For a moment or for a lifetime.
Increasingly, the challenge is to learn to source our life from this infinite presence of receptivity and ease. During this Spring season Refiners Playground we want to explore this aspect of ourselves, how to find it, how to connect with it and how to reset ourselves when we wander. We expect this to be a rich time of discovery for us all. Join us in the Lake House!
Jim & Dan
Mark your calendars —
The July 20-21, 2023 Refiners Playground will be held at the Sienna Retreat Center in Racine, WI ( https://www.sienaretreatcenter.org/ ). Details to follow.
April 20-21, 2023Register
July 20-21, 2023REGISTER
OCTOBER 19-20, 2023REGISTER
SIGN UP FOR All 2023 gatheringsRegister now
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