Paradox and Songs: A Springtime Circle of Trust® Retreat

Friday, March 17, 4:00 pm - Sunday, March 19, 2017, 12:00 PM

At St. Paul's Monastery in Maplewood

"Hidden Seed deep in the dark soil of the earth
Fertile Ground, Womb of the Night, bring us new birth"
—Sara Thomsen, Darkness Cover Me (song lyric)

If we are willing to embrace the challenge of becoming whole, we cannot embrace it alone—at least, not for long: we need trustworthy relationships to sustain us, tenacious communities of support, to sustain the journey toward an undivided life. Taking an inner journey toward rejoining soul and role requires a rare but real form of community that I call a “circle of trust.”
—Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness (adapted)

Early spring in the Midwest offers a time of in-between. In the natural world, we find ourselves watching and waiting for the green of new life to arrive, even as we stand amidst the muck and deadness of last year.

Join us in the paradox of spring. Through song, poetry and community, we will explore the seasons we are leaving and entering in our own lives.  The retreat will utilize the Circle of Trust® approach developed by Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal.

The Circle of Trust® approach is distinguished by principles and practices intended to create a process of shared exploration—in retreats, programs and other settings—where people can find safe space for greater awareness, to nurture personal and professional integrity and to summon the courage to act on hard-earned wisdom. In the hands of knowledgeable and skilled facilitators, this approach has the power to transform individuals, families, workplaces and communities.

Some of the key touchstones or guiding principles of this process include:

  • Honest and Open questions. A good question can unlock insight and awareness in a way that pat answers and well intentioned counsel could never do.
  • An appreciation of paradox in our lives. It is seldom all or nothing, this or that. The quality of our lives is often a reflection of how we choose to live with the paradox.
  • Everyone has an inner teacher. Wisdom comes with awareness and intentionality. This knowing is something that resides within us—not outside of ourselves.
  • A ‘hidden wholeness’ underlies our lives. Our lives can become fragmented and divided for countless reasons. We are at peace and experience deep joy when heart, mind, body and soul are aligned.

Our time together will be structured and spacious. By intention, you will have ample opportunity for personal reflection and relaxation, time alone but in community, time interacting and engaging with others in the group. Winton Boyd and Paula Pederson are Courage & Renewal® facilitators. This process has been used by people in many different professions, in locales from Australia, Canada and across the United States. Sara Thomsen is a gifted song writer, performer and song leader who seeks to bring people in touch with themselves and the wider world through music.


Winton Boyd – Senior Pastor at Orchard Ridge UCC in Madison, Wisconsin, since 1999 and Courage & Renewal Facilitator® (CCR) for the past nine years, Winton is dedicated to helping participants explore their ‘inner teacher’ in a safe and spiritually open way. He has worked with people of faith in multiple contexts and embraces the insights and pathways of multiple spiritual traditions while residing himself within the Christian way. He has found that the power of open and honest questions in our relationships and in our own inner life have the potential to reveal new and transformative understandings.

Paula J. Pedersen – In addition to being a Courage and Renewal Faciliator®, Paula Pedersen is a Psychology professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Paula is also an interculturalist and consultant to educational and leadership groups seeking self-awareness and strategies toward intercultural effectiveness. She sings with the vocal trio Three Altos and as back up with her partner Sara Thomsen. As an educator, singer and global citizen, Paula strives to facilitate understanding of the complexity of multiple perspectives, whether singing, teaching, training or tending her garden.

Sara Thomsen – Increasing wonder and awareness, deepening spiritual connection, and widening social engagement through song is at the heart of singer-songwriter Sara Thomsen’s work. She is the founder and director of the Echoes of Peace Choir, a non-audition community choir in Duluth, Minnesota. In 2012 she founded the Echoes of Peace non-profit to expand the work of examining critical social issues using music and the arts as a means to build and bridge informed, engaged, and caring communities.

 WHEN: Friday, March 17, 4:00 pm - Sunday, March 19, 2017, 12:00 pm

WHERE: St. Paul's Monastery, 2675 Benet Road, Maplewood, Minnesota

COST:  $395 with meals and lodging; $295 includes meals (no lodging). 

Registration for this retreat is now closed; if you have questions about this retreat, please call the Wisdom Ways Office at 651.696.2788.