I am offering this course first because the struggle to take care of ourselves and open our hearts to others is a balancing act and a common struggle for many of us on the spiritual path. Also, like many of us, I am attracted to teaching what is my learning edge - what I too need to learn more of and to better integrate into my life.
At its core "caring" for others involves the experience of having our hearts outside our own bodies. This experience is essential to our development as spiritual beings. And as embodied human beings with finite energy and time we also need to be able to return to our own selves and take good care of ourselves. It is not a matter of either/or (either caring for others or caring for our selves) but both/and (we want to be able to both care for others and we want to take good care of ourselves).
In this course we begin and end with the practice of coming back to our sacred source and being replenished in the flow of divine love that is our origin and our destination.
We will also consider in simple practical ways what the demands on us are, how we discern what is for us to take on and what belongs to others, where we might find help mates and allies, and most importantly pay attention to ourselves and our own needs. We will explore simple and sometimes serious sometimes playful ways of looking after ourselves better - and letting others do some of that caring.
If you choose to sign up for this course I encourage you to prepare. Firstly choose a time of day and a place where you think you will have an uninterrupted half an hour or so. Get yourself a journal or at least blank sheets of paper in a folder, some pens, pencils and any other art materials that you enjoy. The course is designed around six days a week of reflecting, writing and drawing and then a day of Sabbath and rest. I encourage you to finish each session with the meditation for development is not simply about intellectual insight. Even more development requires integration and change and that takes time and practice. So I suggest that you do one session a day and take the four weeks the course is designed to last. However if you are on holiday or in a quiet time and want to do two sessions a day, or if you need to occasionally skip a day or do it again at a deeper level that is fine. It is for you to determine.
If you have a spiritual director, supervisor, mentor, counselor or particular friend it would be good to let them know what you are doing. While it is not my intention to pick apart your fragile coping mechanisms any deep work can stir and disturb. So just as I encourage you to choose a safe and sacred physical environment in which to work and replenish I also encourage you to choose some safe and sacred travelling companions.