Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Online retreats: (1) Thomas Merton in Lent (2) Lent through the lens of food & fasting

This year we are offering TWO online Lenten retreats, so you can take your pick. Our rates are also lower than last year's.

(1) We are once again offering Thomas Merton, Companion on the Way, an online retreat examining contemplation and struggle in the life, writings, and prayer of Thomas Merton, with guidance and opportunity for prayer and practice.

We will journey through the Christian season of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, with writings by Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis), Trappist monk, poet, spiritual teacher, hermit, and social critic.

For detailed information on Thomas Merton, Companion on the Way, click here.

(2) We are also offering Desert Journey and Daily Bread, an online retreat to help us deepen Lenten prayer, practice, and reflection in the areas of food and fasting.

Our purpose is not to make a fetish out of either food or fasting; they are part of a larger life of faith and practice, of the full life of the body, and of the Lenten journey. Fasting and food are a lens through which we can live the season of Lent, which itself is a path to attune us more closely to God, to God's world, to ourselves, and to our neighbors --and to prepare to celebrate the Resurrection.

For detailed information on Desert Journey and Daily Bread, click here.
Also note that Jane Redmont is offering a live-and-in-person day-long retreat just before the beginning of Lent in North Andover, MA (north of Boston), on "New Lenten Perspectives on Food and Fasting." See here.


Both retreats call us to simplicity, mindfulness, and holiness. Like the season of Lenten itself, they invite us to repentance and conversion, but also to joy. 

You can make your online retreat your own, adapting it to your daily and weekly life and rhythms and to your temperament. You will also have company as you go through the retreat. The retreat offers support and resources gently and steadily. This is not the spiritual Olympics! Lent is not a competition, but rather an invitation.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Desert Journey and Daily Bread: Food and Fasting in Lent

Lent and Holy Week, March 5 to April 20, 2014

DESERT JOURNEY AND DAILY BREAD:

Food and Fasting in Lent 

an online retreat


The retreat

Desert Journey and Daily Bread is an online retreat to deepen Lenten prayer and practice in the areas of food and fasting.
Note: We are also offering another online Lenten retreat this year: Thomas Merton, Companion on the Way. (We offered a similar retreat last year in Lent.)  Have a look here if this appeals to you more than a retreat on food and fasting.
In the Desert Journey and Daily Bread retreat, we will journey through the Christian season of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, with gentle guidance, wisdom from biblical, historical, and contemporary sources, and opportunities for prayer and practice.

Our purpose is not to make a fetish out of either food or fasting; they are part of a larger life of faith and practice, of the full life of the body, and of the Lenten journey. Fasting and food are  a lens through which we can live the season of Lent, which itself is a path to attune us more closely to God, to God's world, to ourselves, and to our neighbors --and to prepare to celebrate the Resurrection. 

The retreat is a call to simplicity, mindfulness, and holiness.


Like the season of Lenten itself, it invites us to repentance and conversion, but also to joy.

Each week of the retreat will have a theme related both to the topic of the retreat and to one or more of the biblical lectionary readings for Sunday.

Note: This is an ecumenical retreat in the Western Christian tradition, though there will be some references to Orthodox Lenten practices. Though your friendly retreat leader worships in a tradition using the Revised Common Lectionary, she will also take into account the Roman Catholic Sunday lectionary.
Each week will feature:
   * short readings for our reflection;
  * spiritual exercises
(which will involve the whole person, body, mind, heart, and spirit, as do all Lenten practices) especially those involving or related to eating, fasting, and food

  * prayers;  
  * images to contemplate; and  
  * reminders of the broader context of the Lenten journey in which we practice our praying, eating, fasting, simple living, almsgiving, and work toward the kin-dom of God. Participants can use all of these according to their own context and daily life.

* * * * * * *

There will be new material three times a week:

 1. Early Sunday:
(or late Saturday by request -- some of our retreat participants come from a tradition in which Sunday Eucharist can also be celebrated on Saturday evening)
Reflection on the theme for the week in conjunction with one or more of the Sunday lectionary readings.

2. Tuesday morning:


The spirituality of food in Lent: wisdom, queries, and spiritual practices related to food and water.

3. Thursday evening (in anticipation of Friday)

Friday is traditionally a penitential day and some Christian traditions focus their Lenten fasting in particular ways on Friday. 

Accordingly, our Thursday night reflection will prepare us for the greater simplicity of Fridays in Lent

It will also offer us wisdom and support in whatever fasting practices we have chosen, whether they involve fasting from food or fasting in other ways (from television, from Twitter, from harmful speech, from impulse buying, from online arguments).

*******

Like all our online retreats, this one will include, but not require, opportunities for conversation with other participants. Make this retreat your own. It is a communal journey, as is the whole season of Lent, but a great part of it is also your own journey with God in your particular context. The retreat is an invitation to a guided experience with resources, support, and some accountability if you wish, but it is not a competition in holiness or practice. It can be helpful whether or not you are also involved in a parish or congregation in any part of the Christian family.

As noted above, this retreat is in the Western Christian liturgical tradition(s), but it will offer a few insights from Eastern Christian, especially Orthodox, tradition, whose practices in Lent include some very specific ways of fasting and relating to food. We also have much to learn from sister religious traditions (Judaism, Islam) which have practices of fasting and an active spirituality of food in many cultural settings.


Registration and cost

To register, e-mail Jane at readwithredmont@earthlink.net.
Cost: $150

Early Bird Special: $120 for those who register by Monday, February 24.

A sliding scale and a couple of scholarships are available for those in financial difficulty. Please write me and we will find a way to make this retreat affordable for you!

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

You can pay by check.
For information on where to send your check, write Jane at readwithredmont@earthlink.net.
We also accept PayPal.
This means that we can take a payment by credit card as well as from a PayPal account. Either way, this is a secure payment and we never see your card number. Use the button below if you wish to pay by credit card or PayPal:


Retreat fee (choose one)


An online retreat? How does that work?   

We offer you the retreat resources (readings, meditations, images, guidelines for spiritual practice, prayers, insights on prayer, and sometimes music) online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.


What's a closed blog? It's a blog open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (in this case the retreat facilitator) allows in. In other words, it is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. Random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments. Once you register for the course, I will send instructions on the one-time sign-in mechanism. After that, the retreat blog will always recognize you.


Do I have to talk to other people on the retreat? I'm a very private person.   
AND/OR
Can I get some support here? I need to talk.


Jane's online retreats offer you a choice: it is up to you to find your preferred balance between the solitary and the communal, between privacy and solidarity.


Use the retreat according to your personality and your circumstances. The retreat is like a room in which you are welcome to sit in the company of others and to be either visible or invisible. 


You can and may make conversation part of the retreat experience. (Conversation on the retreat takes place via the comments on the blog posts at the retreat blog.) You can and may, however, remain private and just read the blog and use the practices and meditations on your own. Nobody will force you to speak.

Please be prepared to observe confidentiality as well as respect for other participants' diverse experiences and outlooks. 

Judaean Desert - photo by David Solodar - free stock photo

Facilitator and host

Jane Redmont is the author of When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life. She is a spiritual director, retreat leader, pastoral minister, writer, and theologian who has worked in  campus, urban, and parish ministries. An Episcopal Christian, she was also formed in the Catholic tradition and has Jewish and Unitarian Universalist family roots and several years of experience teaching at a Quaker-founded college. Jane has extensive experience in organizational leadership, including consulting, directing, and fund-raising for organizations addressing causes and consequences of urban poverty. She has been involved in work for social justice and ecumenical and interreligious relations all her life and has taught college, seminary, and graduate courses in Christian history, theology, spirituality, religious pluralism, African American studies, environmental studies, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies.  


Jane is committed to healthy living and eating, grew up in France with a vegetarian mother and a meat-eating father, and loves farmers' markets and good food. She has taught college courses on "Health, Spirituality, and Justice" and "Religion, Ecofeminism, and Environmental Justice" and offered workshops and retreats on Lenten spirituality around the United States.

Two days before the beginning of Lent, Jane will be offering a day long retreat in North Andover, Massachusetts on "New Lenten Perspectives on Food and Fasting." (See here.)




Friday, February 14, 2014

Registration is open for Lent and Holy Week MERTON retreat

Lent and Holy Week, March 5 to April 20, 2014

THOMAS MERTON, Companion on the Way

an online retreat

Thomas Merton in the 1960s 
photo by John Lyons

The retreat

An online  retreat examining contemplation and struggle in the life, writings, and prayer of Thomas Merton, with guidance and opportunity for prayer and practice. 

We will journey through the Christian season of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday,* with writings by Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis), Trappist monk, poet, spiritual teacher, hermit, and social critic.
* There will be an option to continue and conclude April 21-25, for those who have church ministry responsibilities through Easter Sunday (and need rest on  Easter Monday!) and who may prefer to engage in the final retreat meditations during Easter Week rather than Holy Week.
This is the second year we have offered the online Merton retreat for Lent.  We have lowered the price of registration significantly to make the retreat more accessible.
We are also offering another Lenten retreat this year: Desert Journey, Daily Bread, on the themes of fasting and food. Have a look here if this appeals to you more than the Merton retreat.
Each week of Thomas Merton, Companion on the Way will feature short passages from Merton's writings on themes of prayer, war and peace, solitude, nature, community, suffering, and new life. 

The readings (they will be brief: this is a retreat, not a course) will come twice a week, usually on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning.

Readings will be coordinated with Lenten observance. Along with the writings by Merton will be suggestions for reflection, meditation, journal-keeping (verbal or visual), and prayer which participants can use and adapt to their daily life and to their own spiritual practice.

Like all our online retreats, this one will include, but not require, opportunities for conversation with other participants.

Registration and cost  

To register, e-mail Jane at readwithredmont@earthlink.net.

Cost: $150


Early Bird Special: $120 for those who register by Monday, February 24.

A sliding scale and a couple of scholarships are available for those in financial difficulty. Please write me and we will find a way to make this retreat affordable for you!

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

You can pay by check.
For information on where to send your check, write Jane at readwithredmont@earthlink.net.
We also accept PayPal now.
This means that we can take a payment by credit card as well as from a PayPal account. Either way, this is a secure payment and we never see your card number. Use the button below if you wish to pay by credit card or PayPal:



Retreat fees (choose one)



An online retreat? How does that work?   

We offer you the retreat resources (meditations, images, guidelines for spiritual practice, insights on prayer) online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.


What's a closed blog? It's a blog open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (in this case the retreat facilitator) allows in. In other words, it is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. Random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments. Once you register for the course, I will send instructions on the one-time sign-in mechanism. After that, the retreat blog will always recognize you.


Do I have to talk to other people on the retreat? I'm a very private person.
AND/OR
Can I get some support here? I need to talk.


Jane's online retreats offer you a choice: it is up to you to find your preferred balance between the solitary and the communal, between privacy and solidarity.


Use the retreat according to your personality and your circumstances. The retreat is like a room in which you are welcome to sit in the company of others and to be either visible or invisible. 


You can and may make conversation part of the retreat experience. (Conversation on the retreat takes place via the comments on the blog posts at the retreat blog.) You can and may, however, remain private and just read the blog and use the practices and meditations on your own. Nobody will force you to speak.

Please be prepared to observe confidentiality and respect for other participants' diverse experiences and outlooks.
 
Retreat creator and host   

Jane Redmont is the author of When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life. She is a spiritual director, retreat leader, pastoral worker, writer, and theologian who has worked in  campus, urban, and parish ministries. An Episcopal Christian, she was also formed in the Catholic tradition and has Jewish and Unitarian Universalist family roots. She has been involved in work for social justice and ecumenical and interreligious relations all her life and has taught college, seminary, and graduate courses in Christian history, theology, spirituality, religious pluralism, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies.  

Jane has been reading Merton for forty years, taught his work, and used his writings as a help to prayer and meditation both for herself and for others.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"New Lenten Perspectives on Food and Fasting" March 3 at Rolling Ridge

Boston area and other New England folks:

"New Lenten Perspectives on Food and Fasting"

A pre-Lent retreat day with Jane Redmont (live and in person, not online!) on Monday, March 3, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

The Christian season of Lent (this year from March 5 to April 19) brings with it the traditional practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
This retreat day will include short presentations, prayer, silence, conversation, and practice –including a mindful, simple meal– and will offer a renewed vision of the traditional practice of fasting before the feast integrated with a spirituality of food

We will hear about traditional –and surprisingly vibrant– understandings of fasting and also reflect on consumption, consumerism, and fasting from other things than food. 

We will spend a good deal of the day reflecting, still in Christian perspective, on the spirituality and practice of food including mindful eating, health and sustainability, and food justice, and help each other move toward integrating some of this spirituality into our lives this Lent and in the longer term.

  
If you can free up a weekday for some reflective time at beautiful Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center in North Andover, Massachusetts, do sign up!

Everyone:

We also have an online Lenten retreat on a similar topic!
More information here.

If that does theme of fasting and food does not speak to you, we are offering our online Merton retreat again this Lent. See here. Take your pick!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New year, deep breath: "Hurry Up and Slow Down" online retreat begins January 12

A six week online retreat
offering
techniques and inspiration 
for slowing down 
in this busy world 
and for living more mindfully -- 
wherever you are,
whoever you are,
whatever your schedule.

 
Praise for "Hurry Up and Slow Down"
Last fall, when I felt as if I had NO TIME, and I mean NONE, to do anything, because I was so busy, I signed up for this retreat.
What a big gift I gave myself... I did not have much time, so having some focused time to replenish my spirit was great.
Highly recommended!
--Fran Rossi  Szpylczyn, New York

The "Hurry Up and Slow Down" retreat was one of the most valuable I have ever experienced, because it encourages the participants to take nuggets of time on a regular basis for guided reflection and renewal, rather than trying to devote a whole weekend or several evenings to the pursuit. It's well done and well worth the time commitment as well as the money.
--Joanne Fisher, Michigan
What, when, where

* A 6-week online retreat from January 12 to February 23, 2014

* At home, in your daily life, 15 minutes a day

* Simple, accessible, gently focused on practice, with spiritual exercises

* Each week of the retreat has an anchoring theme:

mindfulness
breath 
place 
time 
community
earth

* Suitable for those who are religiously affiliated as well as for those who consider themselves spiritual, but not religious.

* If you think you don't have time for "Hurry Up and Slow Down," you're exactly the person who will benefit from it.
You are, of course, most welcome if you do have time!
Cost

$100 if you register (and mail your check or pay online via PayPal) by Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

$130 if you register on or after Thursday, January 9, 2014.

A sliding scale is available for people in financial hardship. Talk to me.

Read below for a detailed description.

Once you have read this description,
write me at
readwithredmont@earthlink.net
to register
or if you have any questions or concerns.
                                                                   -- Jane Redmont



Details

Hurry Up and Slow Down is an online spiritual retreat accompanying your daily life. It offers guidance, but it is not an academic class with a lot of reading. It is simple, accessible, and gently focused on practice -- the "how" of living every day mindfully and reverently, in a way that suits our own circumstances and takes into account how busy we are. Each week has a theme or anchor. The weekly themes are rich and basic:

* mindfulness  breath *   place  *   time  *   community  earth *

These themes can be building blocks of spiritual practice whether we are religiously affiliated or not. 


Every week, with the theme of the week, includes four components, offered every Sunday evening and accompanying you throughout the week:

1. Awareness of the week's theme:
Taking stock, naming, asking and answering questions, doing a little writing (or drawing or doodling if you  are more visually inclined).

2. Inspiration:
A short reading, an image, an insight, a bit of wisdom about the week's theme for us to ponder during the week.

3. Practice:
An exercise related to the week's theme, a concrete how-to that we can incorporate into our daily life throughout the week.

4. Tradition(s):
Some insights into the week's theme from the experience and wisdom of religious traditions. We are not the first to grapple with the themes of our retreat and we are not alone.

Registration

The retreat begins Sunday evening, January 12. (Or Monday, January 13 if you prefer to begin weeks on Mondays.)

 
Registration is open now.

Registration will remain open till Wednesday of the first week of the retreat (January 15) but please note that you will save money if you register early!  Pricing details are immediately below, under "Payment."

To register, e-mail me at readwithredmont@earthlink.net.


Payment

 
As I noted above, the cost for this six-week retreat is $130 for the full six weeks but only $100 if you register (and pay via PayPal OR mail your check) by Wednesday, January 8

A sliding scale is available for the financially strained; you are on your honor to decide whether this applies to you. Please write me and ask about this if you are in a situation of financial hardship.

Reminder: write me at readwithredmont@earthlink.net to register. Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration, by check or money order or online via PayPal.
To pay online via PayPal, you don't have to have a PayPal account and you can pay via credit card on a secure PayPal link. I will not see your credit card number and you will receive a receipt for your records  immediately after you make your online payment.
If you wish to pay by check or money order, I will send you my postal mailing address when you e-mail me to register. If you wish to pay online via PayPal (see italicized note above), click  the "Buy Now" button below.
Retreat fees



How can you have an online retreat?
 
By offering the retreat resources (themes, quotes, images, videos, guidelines for spiritual exercises, and more) online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.

What's a closed blog? It's a blog like this, but open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (in this case the retreat facilitator) allows in. In other words, it is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. Random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments. Once you register for the course, I will e-mail you instructions on the one-time sign-in mechanism. After that, the retreat blog will always recognize you.

 
Privacy and community

Do I have to talk to other people on the retreat? I'm a very private person.
 
and/or
 
Can I get some support here? I'm not sure I can stick to this all by myself.

The retreat will offer you a choice in finding your preferred balance between the solitary and the communal, between privacy and solidarity.

1) You can be private and just read the blog and use the exercises, practices, and quotes on your own.  

or

2) If you are more extroverted and communal or in need of companions on your retreat, you can  share your thoughts, experiences, and questions via the comments function on the blog and engage in conversation with other retreatants and with the retreat facilitator.

Either way, in your participation on the blog, silent or speaking, you must respond respectfully to others and observe basic confidentiality about participants sharing of experiences and opinions: it's fine for you to say to people outside the retreat "someone in a group I'm in mentioned [issue, insight, dilemma]" but not the name or identifying characteristics of the person or the story.
This online retreat is meant to help you find time and opportunity to breathe and pause in your busy life, but not to make you feel guilty when you struggle to do so.  Begin where you are, not where you "ought to be."
Facilitator
 

Jane Redmont, author of two books, When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life and Generous Lives: American Catholic Women Today, and more than 100 articles, is a spiritual director, retreat leader, pastoral worker, and theologian. Jane has given workshops on "Prayer in Our Busy Lives" and on "Spiritual Practices for the Busy, the Harried, and the Overcommitted" as well as lectures, retreats, and workshops on praying with anger and depression; intercessory prayer; using body, breath, and voice in prayer and meditation; ecological spirituality; prayer and the work of justice; Jewish insights for Christians; Sabbath and time; Buddhist and Christian insights on anger; and Christian feminist spirituality, around the U.S. She has also taught full courses on the contemplative life and on prayer at the undergraduate and seminary/graduate levels. 

Jane was active in ecumenical healing services in communities affected by AIDS during the 1980s and 1990s, led weekly prayer services for peace in the early 2000s, and more recently facilitated weekly Centering Prayer and Taizé services. A U.S. American raised in France, Jane was educated at the Lycée de Sèvres, Oberlin College, Harvard Divinity School, and the Graduate Theological Union; she is an Episcopalian (Anglican) shaped by Catholic contemplative and social justice traditions, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist family roots, and the study of yoga and Buddhist (especially Zen) meditation.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Waiting in the Night, Welcoming the Dawn: A Mindful Advent

Waiting in the Night, Welcoming the Dawn:

A Mindful Advent

* online retreat *


Advent is here again. Advent awaits us. Advent embraces us. 

Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year, is a time of slowing down, even as the preparations for Christmas in the surrounding society speed up. In this season of waiting for Christ, we take in the good news slowly, steadily, lighting candles one at at time, adding a new insight, a layer of understanding, a little light every week. Advent challenges our impatience and invites us to enter God's patience.

Yet Advent is also a time to enter God's impatience, a time when prophets challenge our apathy and paralysis and urge us forward, a time in which the stories and songs in the scriptures speak of a God who longs to transform our hearts, our society, and creation itself --soon, now, urgently.

One of the challenges of this season is to figure out the connections between our time and God's time, to readjust and balance our sense of time, to discern when it is appropriate to enter into God's patience and when it is time to enter into God's impatience.
  
Advent and Christmas are also a celebration of space, of God entering human space, dwelling in human space, in the most intimate way possible: by becoming human. The celebration of word become flesh, the discovery that God-the-other is also God-with-us (Emmanuel in Hebrew) --that is the good news of Advent.

We celebrate in Advent God's invitation for us to view our space --our society, our environment, our neighbor, our own flesh-- as sacred, pregnant with justice and hope, filled with hidden treasure.
 
Would you like to live Advent more mindfully?

Are you excited about Christmas?

Or is the holiday season difficult for you because of grief, depression, or addiction?

Do you feel a call to deepen and enliven your faith life?

For any of those reasons and more, 
you may find this online retreat helpful.
  
Waiting in the Night, Welcoming the Dawn offers resources and practices organized according to a steady rhythm:

* Sunday (or Saturday evening): a pause to ponder each new week of Advent with the scripture readings in the Sunday lectionary.

* Mindfulness Monday: guidance into a spiritual practice to focus the beginning of each work week. 

* Midweek check-in on Wednesday night or Thursday morning: a time to pause in the midst of our busy lives and touch base again with the message(s) of the Advent season, to listen, gaze, remember, dream, and discern.

* Extra gifts here and there: a piece of music, a bit of wisdom, an image to contemplate, a saint's feast to celebrate. We will commemorate special days within the season: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sankta Lucia, the O Antiphons.
 
A set of practices will accompany us throughout this Advent retreat:

naming 
listening
gazing
remembering
imagining
discerning
committing acts of hope

Though this retreat is not exclusively 
for people who have a hard time with the holiday season, 
it is particularly mindful of them 
while attending also to the season's invitation to joy.

An online retreat? How does that work?

* An online retreat does not mean you spend all your retreat time at the computer! The online dimension offers readings, images, music, spiritual exercises, and other resources, but they are there to nourish, challenge, and dwell with you in your daily life. What the online dimension does is enable you to go on retreat in a way that suits your weekly schedule and rhythm of life and to tailor the resources to your own need while receiving gentle guidance.

* The retreat offers these resources online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.

* What's a closed blog? It's a blog like this, but it is not public: it is open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (that's me) has signed in. In other words, it is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. It is not "searchable": random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments.

* Once you register for the retreat, I will send instructions on the one-time sign-in mechanism. After that, the blog will always recognize you.


Registration


To register, write me, Jane Redmont, at readwithredmont@earthlink.net. I will send you full registration instructions with payment address (if you have chosen to pay by check) and online sign-up information. 


Cost
 
$ 90
Note: You have the option to prolong the retreat through the 12 days of Christmas until Epiphany at no extra cost. The retreat blog is already set up for it. No extra registration is required.
You may pay

a) by check (write me for the mailing address when you register)

 or
b) by credit card via PayPal (you do not have to have a PayPal account to use this option, though of course if you have a PayPal account, you can pay from that).
    Just click the "Pay Now" button below for a secure PayPal connection.





Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

Privacy and community

During the retreat, you can remain private and just read the blog and use the quotes, spiritual exercises, and prayers on your own.

or

If you are more extroverted and communal or in need of companions on your retreat, you can share your thoughts, experiences, and questions via the comments function on the blog and engage in conversation with other retreatants and with the retreat facilitator.