This month I’ll be heading back to Oxfordshire for a Quaker retreat, the fourth of my 12 weekend retreats. It’s a themed weekend, looking at the practice of journaling to deepen spirituality.
This is the first themed retreat of the year, besides a themed quiet day on Lent at St Michael’s convent earlier in the year.
The retreat is in a beautiful looking manor dating back to the fourteenth century, so a great setting in which to learn the art of journaling.
I’m curious as to what a Quaker retreat will be like. I don’t know a great deal about the Quakers, expect that my 92-year-old aunt is one and that they seem to really value silence in their meetings, and are open to God and spirituality in a very general, inclusive sense. They also seem to adopt a really non-hierarchical approach to their meetings and general structure.
I also read a book by an American Quaker, Richard Foster, called the Celebration of Discipline, which I found to be really insightful. It goes through various disciplines that help deepen spirituality, such as silence, meditation, prayer, fasting, and charity.
As for the practice of journaling – I write in a journal when I have time, but lately this has been hardly ever. As to how it ties in with spirituality and deepening spiritual life, I’m not sure. Most of the journaling I’ve ever done has been pretty introspective and usually done if I’ve been feeling depressed / anxious about something – which makes interesting reading when I look back over them (and makes me feel like a manic depressive, which I’m not).
It’ll be interesting to see what the weekend throws up.