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DAY 1- SEEING DEEPER: ICONS OF THE EVERYDAY

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Bronwyn Greive

An icon is a person or thing, admired for having some kind of great significance. (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icon)

Today we’re going to look deeper at something we see everyday.Working with Thomas Merton’s idea that our imagination is where we discover things, as it helps us see new and unique connections and meanings. [In Esther De Waal, Lost in Wonder, (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2003), 23.]

We start with a couple of poems. You can’t write such poems without contemplation.

Find somewhere to sit, where you can see something you see every day. Look around your home, or out a window, form a balcony or backyard. I like to go outside but you don’t have to. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote a book titled: Ode to Common Things, with poems to onions, socks tomatoes.


“What is it that you bring

To my nose

So early

Every day

Bar of soap

Before I climb into my morning

Bath

And go into the streets

Among men weighted down

With goods?

From Ode to a Bar of Soap https://www.theexaminedlife.org/library/odes-to-common-things/



“I am by nature

an out-of-doors

sort of woman,

a walker, a gardener.

But today,

sitting by the window

in comfortable chair,

watching wind

make white dogwood dance

with blue spruce,

seeing petals

from an ornamental spruce tree

fall like pink confetti,

relishing every movement

of spring’s emerald symphony,

I realize I am content

to be inside looking out,

know I can only live

this interior life,

wonder how deep

the tap root

of my heart is.”


Bonnie Thurston (In Esther De Waal, Lost in Wonder,(Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2003), 20.


Practice:

Sit and silently contemplate the thing you have chosen, that you see every day.

Ask: “What does it teach me today?”

When your mind wanders from the cup, tree etc ask yourself again. Stay with it for at least 5 minutes, some of which is looking at it, or part of it, through your magnifying glass.

Some of my musings amongst the gazing, when I contemplateda dead Camphor Laurel tree in our backyard.

“It’s dead…..It’s still part of the ecosystem…..I’d love a Powerful Owl to make a nest in its hollow middle, but there is a beehive instead..… Shame we can’t use the honey- it smells good sometimes….. I don’t always get what I want, but it doesn’t mean what I get is bad…..Remember to focus on what I don’t have, could lose what I have. (from a saying by Greg McKeown, author of Effortless)


Response/activity:

Write a poem responding to the thing you contemplated. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be published, but you might surprise yourself. If you don’t know where to start, just begin with a list of words about your object. That’s what I did and ended up with:

Dead,

Gone,

Useless,

Buzzing,

Sweet smell,

Not dead,

Not gone,

Not useless,

Sweet, sweet, honey.

Bronwyn


If you’d like to share something from this time with us, please do. Email fostertonretreat@outlook.com OR write in the comment box below.



 

We are both practicing artists with decades of experience in creativity. Through our interests, passions and work we also have experience in developing creative and interactive practices which feed your soul, with the aims of facilitating spiritual and personal growth. We are parents and grandparents and have both been community workers, pastors, and counsellors. We like to help people in their quest to find a greater depth, meaning, peace and enjoyment in life. We also like to facilitate opportunities to deepen people's self-awareness and s

ense of being by nurturing their soul, strengthening their connections with nature and the divine.


Max has training in: Choice Theory, Spiritual Direction, Labyrinth Facilitation and years in Welfare, Bronwyn has training in Choice Theory, The Enneagram, a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration and is currently a PhD candidate & in Spiritual Direction formation.





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