Exploring Our Creativity
Many of us assumed, or were told early on in life, that we weren’t creative. We may have believed creativity was the purview of the gifted or eccentric, but certainly not us ordinary folk. In reality, creating is our innate gift, though the way we express it will vary according to circumstance and cultivation.
Let’s sit together in circle to surface our common misconceptions and limiting beliefs about creating, and then take some time to dabble and see what emerges from our unique individual wellsprings.
NO experience is required. NO technique will be taught. NO critique or comments will be made on your unique expression. NO mistakes can happen!
Session is limited to 20 participants.
Katharine Weinmann, MSW, RSW
Katharine is a circle practitioner-teacher, intuitive process painting host, early morning muser, and ambivalent writer. With a reverence for the inner life as a valuable source of creative and wise response to life’s “wabi sabi” moments, she brings her attention to and appreciation for the beauty in imperfection.
As a lover of an evocative poem, a new impression gleaned from travel, or a “deep breakfast” conversation, she’s also a wicked cook who specializes in creating one-off “silk purses” from leftovers!
Renewing Our Relationship With Nature
Join educator Alison at Blackmud Creek Ravine (1 min carpool away) and engage with practices from the fields of eco arts expressive therapies, ecotherapy, ecopsychology and shinrin-yoku (forest bathing). Learn the wellness benefits of being in nature in this embodied way. You’ll be able to immediately incorporate these activities into your life and share them with others. Explore how time in nature make you feel more deeply human – or rather, more deeply animal, more deeply a part of nature.
Info: please dress more warmly than you typically would for the temperature since we will stop often. Foam pads will be provided to sit on (always the option to stand). Feel free to bring extra layers and a water bottle in a bag. We will be outside the whole time. There is a slow walk down and up one hill with a dirt path.
Alison Brooks-Starks is an educator, writer, and ecotherapy informed spiritual ally. Alison creates and leads rituals, including a monthly full moon gathering in the river valley. With a background in both spiritual care and improv comedy, she holds space in a way that is simultaneously deeply meaningful yet playful and relaxing. Passionate about the intersection of nature and spirituality, Alison works with the latest science in wellness through nature and with longstanding spiritual practices. Alison works with individuals and groups outside with the organization Emberwood. She lives with her partner Alexis near a creek and the river in Edmonton, AB.
Finding the Rhythms of Ritual
Ritual probably predates human language and has the power to create a moment of calm amidst chaos, affirmation amidst uncertainty, identity when we need to find ourselves again. Ritual is an image come alive. If a picture says more than a thousand words, how much more can be conveyed when an image is dynamically engaged – complete with movement and props – by a community of people? This workshop will explore the many layers of meaning which can be part of ritual, and its place in our lives as human beings on a journey.
Henriette Kelker is interested in the many ways in which non-verbal communication can bridge gaps of age, language and culture. She has from a young age enjoyed opportunities to experience such situations. Today Henriette chairs the Theology Department at St. Stephen’s College in Edmonton (when she is not playing outside somewhere).
Learning to Live More Deeply With Less
Environmental, psychological, social, ethical, spiritual: there are dozens of reasons you might want to live more simply, but where do you start? In this workshop we’ll look at these reasons and more, with practical advice on how to make lasting changes. Using insight pulled from modern psychology, direct experience, and the words of hermits, ascetics, and monks, our goal is not just to have less, but to replace the clutter and busyness with greater peace. By giving attention to the order of our external environment we expand our internal world, simplifying our lives to bring us more in touch with our innate wholeness.
Brett McKay is a writer, musician, and life-long student. Deeply influenced by the works of Gnostics, mystics, and hermeticists, he is concerned with finding ways to use the practices of simplicity and solitude without trading his downtown apartment for a cabin in the Rockies. He works, lives, and studies in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, AB).
Deepening Belonging in our Communities
There is a great deal of evidence to suggest belonging is a fundamental human need. We need to feel a sense of belonging and connection to others almost as much as we need food or water. And yet, we often do a poor job of nurturing belonging in our lives and the lives of others. Ever wonder how we might better cultivate spaces of belonging and connection in our communities? Exploring this line of curiosity together, we will engage in dialogue, story telling, and creative expression.
A community builder, leader, and change maker, Paige has an intense curiosity about the social world and desire to challenge the status quo. Paige is a senior leader at a local disability rights and service organization and is also completing her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Alberta. Her doctoral work, a participatory research project incorporating critical disability studies, uniquely explores belonging from the perspective of people with intellectual disability. Paige is also involved in a variety of community building initiatives including RootEd. and CommuniTEA Infusion, that aim to foster connection amongst people. Paige’s passion for social change and interest in community belonging stems from the many rich relationships she has built over the years as a sibling, friend, paid support, and ally to people who experience disability.
Ally is a Verb, What Action Are You Taking?
In this session participants will discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression from the perspective of an ally. What is the language of an ally, why is it important, and how can I apply allyship skills to other spaces?
Melinda McNie was a Sexual and Gender Minority Session Educator and fYrefly in Schools facilitator for the Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta for seven years. She supervised Gay/Straight Alliances (GSA’s) in schools beginning in 2003 and continues to teach and encourage allyship wherever possible. Melinda has taught and counseled in schools for over thirty years and presently is a part time consultant and Community Helpers Program Coordinator (for suicide and mental health awareness) with Edmonton Public Schools. She is also a certified Emotional Fitness Coach, yoga practitioner and ardent lover of travel and adventure, and strives to be more fully human by being an active participant in her own life.
We Are Music
Are you looking for an aerobic activity to improve your heart rate breathing and blood pressure? A reduction in stress and anxiety? An enhancement of your mental well being? A way to promote empathetic relationships, feelings of trust, and bonding with others? An increase in your confidence and self-esteem?
Singing will do all of this and much more. Singing is a communal spiritual practice; a relational experience that enriches connection. It quiets the mind so the heart can open. As a spiritual practice, singing connects our heart and mind and can be the means for encountering peace amid life struggles and busyness. When we sing together, we tap into something bigger than ourselves – the connection and love of the group around us. Join Nephesh Spirit in a time of singing and sharing as we seek to connect with our bodies, each other and our common humanity.
Nephesh Spirit is a women’s vocal group from Saskatoon. The word, ‘Nephesh’, originating from the Hebrew tradition, has multiple meanings – ‘spirit of life, breath of God, true self… The idea for this group was birthed over 20 years ago when a women’s canoe group lay under the stars late into a quiet night on the rocky shore of a northern Saskatchewan lake as the aurora borealis danced above us. What began as tentative singing of spirituals and barely remembered old hymns and songs from childhood, became a deeply spiritual time of harmonizing voices as we were moved into the awe and wonder of that communal experience. We reluctantly went into our tents with whispered promises of how we might take that experience home with us. A group of five of these women did so by gathering regularly to sing; this group has remained essentially unchanged with only one woman moving away and another joining in recent years. Our spiritual journeys have evolved over the years and our music with it. We occasionally delve into dramatic pieces and have had instrumentalists and a dancer share their gifts with us.
Appreciating Our Body's Breath and Movement
Presence is the key to fulfilling each of our greatest potential as human beings, yet so often we life in the turmoil of distraction. What is required in order to truly be “right here, right now” is awareness of our whole psycho-somatic being. Body, heart, and mind are all integral components of whole being, and breath is seated at the centre. Breath takes place at the nexus of internal and external experience. We will begin to explore presence in breath as we move with the body, feel with the heart, and refine the movements of the mind.
Coming from an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Victoria Stephen spent some thirteen years as an outreach worker with vulnerable communities in Edmontons inner city. He has taught martial arts for some six years after having achieved the level of black belt. Stephen has been practicing yoga for a dozen years and has been a registered instructor with the yoga alliance for the last eight. He is currently a Graduate student at St. Stephen’s college in Edmonton, researching the practice of presence at the intersection of Eastern and Western Spiritual tradition.