Saturday, November 29, 2014

Whirlwinds and Waiting: Advent Peace in Turbulent Times (an online retreat)

Whirlwinds and Waiting:
Advent Peace in Turbulent Times
an online retreat  

November 30, 2014 to January 2, 2015

Registration is open now STILL OPEN! Read on.

IS THE HOLIDAY SEASON DIFFICULT for you because of grief, injustice, depression, or addiction?

Are you somewhere between anticipation of and utter lack of readiness for  Christmas?

Would you like to live the season of Advent more mindfully?

Are you joyful about the presence of Jesus but despondent about the state of the world?

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

Would you like some company and some support in living these questions? 

What and how

Whirlwinds and Waiting: Advent Peace in Turbulent Times is an online spiritual retreat in the Christian tradition, accompanying your daily life during the season of Advent and in the first week of the twelve days of Christmas, till January 2. (Those who wish may prolong the retreat through the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, at no extra cost.)

Advent, season of hope and prophecy, of expectant waiting, or visions both joyful and disturbing, is a difficult season for many. So is Christmas. The holiday season from U.S. Thanksgiving to New Year is particularly hard for those who suffer from depression, who are addicted and/or in recovery, who are grieving the loss of a loved one (a recent loss or an older one made more vivid by the season), who suffer from and bear witness to the injustices in our world, who experience family difficulties, who live with economic stress, and who are in the midst of endings and transitions. In the Northern Hemisphere, this can be compounded by short days and long nights; in all parts of the globe, we live the season of Advent within our bodies and on a fragile planet.

Whirlwinds and Waiting, designed especially for those who find this season difficult or challenging, offers a gentle, supportive online space. The retreat invites you into a structure (see details below) and into  simple spiritual practices --among others, lament, listening, remembering, and imagining.

Conversation will be part of the retreat, though participants who wish to remain quiet and private may do so. Together we will seek, hear,  and discern the presence of God in suffering, struggle, the unexpected, and acts of hope in our world.

An online retreat enables you to participate at home or any other place where you have a computer or tablet with internet access. You can read, meditate, and pray in a way that suits your schedule.

Note: This retreat is not intended to substitute for psychotherapy or other professional clinical treatment, nor does it replace 12-step groups or other recovery programs. Its purpose is to offer spiritual and communal support and guidance. Take good care of yourself in this challenging season!


The retreat will move through Advent and into the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) with the help of the Sunday biblical readings from the Revised Common Lectionary and some of the major practices and commemorations of the season, including the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Spiritual practices for both prayer and daily living will anchor us as well as launch us, with God's help, into a future we can only begin to imagine. During our time together we will have a chance to practice (as we are able):

practicing justice
committing acts of hope

and, of course,

communal prayer

Whirlwinds and Waiting will offer resources and practices organized according to a steady rhythm:

* Saturday evening (or in the first week of the retreat, Sunday): 
a pause to ponder each new week of Advent with the scripture readings in the Sunday lectionary.
* Mindfulness Monday:
guidance in a simple spiritual practice to focus the beginning of each work week.
* Midweek check-in (Wednesday):
a time to pause in the midst of our busy lives, name the whirlwinds in and around us, and touch base again with the message(s) of the Advent season. It can be a time to lament, listen, gaze, remember, dream, and discern.
* Friday Forum: Glimpses of Hope:
examples of hope incarnate, of God-among-us: people, stories, events...
* 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.

The retreat begins Sunday, November 30 (the First Sunday of Advent) and runs through the day after New Year's Day, Friday, January 2. 
You can stay just through Advent, or through as long as you like after Christmas Eve. The week from Christmas Eve on is a post-Advent bonus.

Though the retreat begins Sunday, November 30, you are welcome to join any time from now until Sunday, December 7.

(If you feel you really need this retreat and it's after December 7, write me.)

Registration and Payment 

Registration is open now and will remain open till Sunday, December 7 Please register as early as you are able in order to benefit fully from the retreat.

To register, write me, Jane Redmont, at if you plan to pay by check, and I will acknowledge your registration and send you the mailing address. I will also notify you when I receive your check.


If you are paying by credit or debit card or PayPal, simply register and pay using the PayPal button below. (You can use this button and its secure connection to pay with a card even if you don't have a PayPal account.) 

The PayPal payment will record your name and e-mail address and serve as your registration. You will receive an acknowledgment from me within 24 hours.

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

If you are in a situation of financial stress, please write me and we can arrange for a discount, payment plan, or scholarship. (If you wish to help make more scholarships possible, just check the "benefactor" rate below.)

Retreat fees (choose one)

An online retreat? 
How does that work?   

By making the retreat resources (meditations, images, guidelines for spiritual practice, prayers, music videos) available 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 Jane, the retreat facilitator) allows in.

In other words, it is not accessible 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 retreat blog 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.
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. This retreat, more than others, is intended to be communal, since it is especially directed toward people who experience struggle or sorrow in this season and who need companions in the struggle -- and companions in hope. Conversation is part of this communal reality, but so is mindful silence.

You can and may remain private and just read the blog and use the practices and meditations on your own. Nobody will force you to speak. 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.

Conversation on the retreat takes place via the comments on the blog posts of the retreat blog. Please be prepared to observe confidentiality and respect for other participants' diverse experiences and outlooks.

Begin where you are -- not where you "ought to be." God will meet you there.

Designer and facilitator

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 justice and ecumenical and interreligious relations all her life. She is a survivor of major depression and has three and a half decades of pastoral counseling experience. Read more about Jane here.
Questions? Concerns? Write me (Jane) here.

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