Retreats and Workshops presented on Creativity, Spirituality and Positive Psychology 

Visual Lectio Divina

Making Mandalas

Live in Harmony

Spiritual Journaling and Storytelling

Imagery of Psalms
Drawing from Yourself: Creativity and Resilience

Labyrinth: Praying the Spiral Path

Stones and Bones: Desert Times
Everyday Shrines and Sacred Spaces
River Stories: Images of Time and Journey
Masks:  Rituals of Passage and Transformation
Great Darkness, Great Light
The Authentic Life: The Psychology of Positive Emotions
Creative Spirit:  Play, Wonder and Art
Different Voices: Women and Men in Conversation
Celtic  Spirituality
Joy in the Wilderness
 Benedictine Spirituality in everyday life
Art from the Heart: Writing and Art-Making as Spiritual Practice
Fruits of the Spirit
Spiritual Gifts
Creativity in Prayer
Morning by Morning: Everyday Spirituality

Selected Program descriptions

 Everyday Shrines and 
Sacred Spaces

Making altars, shrines, and sacred spaces has been a spiritual activity since the earliest times of humankind.  We explore creating a sacred space at home for prayer and meditation, as well as shrine-making for memory, meditation, or for fun.  Participants  have a chance to create objects and/or sacred spaces.

"A material thing - a stone, a photograph, an old shoe - can become a shrine when it is displayed in a way that evokes inspiration, memory, respect, or reverence... To make a shrine...  is to make art - not for profit, but as a gift." - Jean McMann Altars and Icons

 Imagery of the Psalms

The psalms are filled with the full range of human emotions, from searing laments to soaring joys, expressed in rich visual images.  We will explore different types of psalms and make art in response - such as painting and collage. Participants will also have opportunity to write a psalm.

"...let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy..."  (Psalm 98, NIV)



  Stones and Bones: 
Desert Times

There is great beauty in wilderness and often we go there to seek renewal, peace, perspective.  Perhaps we go there without knowing why, hoping to be led, hoping to be found.  Sometimes there is a dryness like old bleached bones, a desolation of spirit that cries out.  Here the imagery is of ancient cliff walls, prehistoric rhythms, or empty landscapes that bloom with the rain of grace, that come to new life with the breath of spirit.

"When I started painting the pelvis bones, I was most interested in the holes in the bones - what I saw through them - particularly the blue from holding them in the sun up against the sky.  Stones, bones, clouds - experience gives me shapes - but sometimes the shapes I paint end up having no resemblance to the actual experience..."  - Georgia O'Keefe in Georgia O'Keefe at Ghost Ranch by John Loengard


  Great Darkness, 
Great Light

As we approach Advent, we especially take note of the images of light and dark, from Genesis to the Gospels.  What do we learn from darkness, from shadow?  What happens with the coming of light?  Light creates color, mood, memory, mystery.  The smallest light breaks the greatest darkness, and each dawn renews the promise of the greatest light.  Artmaking  focus is on personal images and meanings of light and dark.

"In the beginning, the earth was formless and empty, darkness was Over the face of the deep....and God said, "Let there be light." - Genesis 1:3, NIV


  Mask Making: Rituals of Passage and Transformation

From the ancient times that masked figures were represented in cave paintings, to today's ubiquitous sunglasses, masks have served to hide or reveal, to mark time, season, and rites of passage, to signal transformation, to create character /  persona, to communicate.  In this retreat we  focus specifically on designing masks to mark passages/changes in our lives.  Participants may choose to portray masks through painting, drawing, collage, or three-dimensional works of art.

"Masks empower us to divulge our hidden, true selves or secret thoughts, exposing inhibition or personality traits that we ordinarily contain or feel unable to express."
 - Cara McCarthy and John W. Nunly, Masks: Faces of Culture




 Spiritual Journaling and Storytelling

What are the most important stories of your life?  The stories we construct, the stories we tell, particularly about our faith journeys, are fundamental to our understanding of the meaning of our lives, and to developing a sense of harmony and acceptance of grace.  Writing or telling our stories offers remembering, sorting, centering, transcendence.  We explore techniques of spiritual journaling, including writing prayers, and using found or created images to enhance the process.  Participants  also have the opportunity to create a simple fold book or "stab" book.

"The shortest distance between a human being and the truth is a story."  
Anthony deMello


 River Stories: Images of Time and Journey

Flowing from source to sea, roaring swiftly or drifting slowly, carving out canyons and valleys --the unique characteristics of the river will be explored as a metaphor for time and journey.  Participants will be given the opportunity to create visual and written images of their own river stories.

"What from a pilgrimage is translatable back at home?
Who returns from a journey?  Recognizably different, altered, transformed?
Is who one is on a journey, who one is at home?
And how is home transformed in one's absence?  If we are always on a journey home, then what is arrival, what is leaving all about?" 
                        Carol Stalcup, from "Pilgrimage",


 Labyrinth: Praying the Spiritual Path

While labyrinths appear in myths and pre-Christian times, they became a strong symbol in medieval times of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, of seeking God at the center of all things.  Today, labyrinths enjoy a "revival" of interest in a variety of seekers.  In this retreat, participants will explore the tool of labyrinth in spiritual practice, and have opportunity to make a "finger" labyrinth to use in prayer and meditation.

"The labyrinth is a symbolic path which leads from Earth to God...  The way to walk the labyrinth is not only to go to the centre, but to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, and to come outof it transformed, for ourselves, and for others."  
- Handout from the Labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral



  original images and text (excluding template graphic) Copyright 1998-2008  Carol  A. Stalcup, Ph.D.

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