SoulStream is pleased to announce a continuing education opportunity for spiritual directors:
Focusing for Spiritual Directors
Presented by: Donna Varnau, MA, LMHC
Our bodies know more about our experience (situations, thoughts, emotional states, memories) than we are explicitly aware of. Often what we experience lies below our awareness, but not below the awareness of the body. Focusing is about entering into an awareness that is open, interior, centred in the present and on the body’s inner sensations. These inner sensations, called “felt sense”, lie behind our thoughts and feelings; they are messages from the body. Focusing is the ability to stay with the felt sense, and involves holding non-judging attention to an internal knowing which is directly experienced but is not yet in words.
Workshop leader Donna Varnau describes Focusing as that which “teaches you experientially how to be with any suffering or hopeful place inside you. Rather than identifying with the feelings or thoughts that create an issue, you shift your attention into the grounded, non-reactive spaciousness of Presence.” Spiritual Director Sue VanderWoude describes the practice of focusing as helping her grow in awareness of herself, including her body, in life and in spiritual direction. For example, she has found it has helped her move from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with default issues to an increased ability to listen to her body and the wisdom it holds. It has helped her be more spacious and present interiorly with self and directees.
This one-day workshop will consist of experiencing what Donna calls Embodied Presence Focusing, a two-fold process leading to deeper grounding in and cultivation of “contemplative presence”.
In offering this workshop, we hope to introduce you, as a spiritual director, to the practice of Focusing in order to deepen your inner and body awareness so that you may be more fully present to yourself and to your directees.
Two dates, two locations, same workshop, limited registration
Saturday, March 7, 2020
35535 McKee Road
Saturday, April 25, 2020
St. James Anglican Church Parish Center
Time: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
The workshop will begin promptly at 10 am
Registration fee: $225.
1. e-transfer to email@example.com (preferred method)
2. Cheque payable to SoulStream, mailed to SoulStream, 35535 McKee Road, Abbotsford, BC V3G 3E4
3. Online using PayPal. Please add an additional $5.00 to the registration fee to cover costs.
Please bring a bag lunch.
Tea, coffee and snacks will be provided for morning and afternoon breaks.
Background reading suggested by our presenter (not required to attend workshop):
Rediscovering the Lost Body-Connection Within Christian Spirituality by Ed McMahon and Peter Campbell
Focusing by Eugene Gendlin
“If Christians cannot help one another to experience their bodies as living membranes within the Body of the Whole Christ, giving witness by their organic presence in the world as the Continuing Incarnation of God “in Christ,” then Christianity will be experienced as increasingly irrelevant within the lives of those suffering the pain of aging, physical trauma or those carrying the insecurity and emotional-physical impact of violence, as well as the inevitable dying we all go through.”
Page xiv, Rediscovering the Lost Body-Connection Within Christian Spirituality by Ed McMahon and Peter Campbell
About our presenter:
Donna Varnau, MA, LMHC lives in Washington State where she has practiced as a body-centred psycho-spiritual counselor since 1992. She has worked in-depth with Andre Rochais, Morton T. Kelsey, Russell Delman and Dr. Judith Blackstone, and was resident for two years at L’Arche in Trosly-Breuil, France with Jean Vanier. Donna has maintained a personal meditation and contemplative prayer practice for over 30 years. She is a Certified Focusing Teacher.