TWO SEMINARS COMING UP in October and November
DREAM SHARING GROUP
Patrick Oliver will facilitate a three-session series for those interested in participating in dream groups. Patrick led a series called “Praying Your Dreams” recently during August, and many of those present were keen to meet again to discuss and listen to their own dreams in a group setting, in a confidential, prayerful and respectful way. There was also a wish to establish on-going dream groups for those who would like to meet regularly.
Patrick will offer morning meetings on Tuesday 23rd October, Tuesday 30th October and Tuesday 6th November, from 9.30am – 12.45pm. It will be held at St John the Baptist Catholic Church hall, at the corner of South Pine Road and Pickering St, Enoggera (check your refidex or GPS beforehand, as South Pine Road is one of those notorious confusing Brisbane streets that changes its name a few times).
You do not have to have attended the August presentations to take part in this series, but it would be helpful to have some familiarity with Patrick's approach to dreams. The aim of the gatherings is to help people to become more confident in starting dream groups of their own. There won’t be a lot of new input during these three Tuesdays, for most of the time will be given over to helping participants become comfortable in walking with others to break open what the dreams might be trying to say. Bring a dream along that you’re prepared to share.
If you’re interested, please email Patrick by Tuesday 16th October, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost: $30 per person per morning, payable on the day.
A minimum of eight participants is needed for the course to proceed.
In my work of spiritual direction and companioning, I have found dreams to be a consistent help for the process of listening to the soul. Dreams don’t worry whether a person has the “right” vocabulary about God or churchy things, but they constantly try to take us into a more conscious awareness of opportunities to participate in Love and life.
It has been a privilege for me to have listened to many thousands of dreams through the years, and I’m always amazed at the creativity and ingenuity that they bring forth. Dreams can be like a lighthouse, beckoning us through those times when perhaps everything else has seemed to turn to night.
We may think we have simply “crazy” or “stupid” dreams – yet experience has taught me that it is often the most stupid or crazy scenarios in dreams that can offer clues to wake us up to how we get stuck in one-sided perceptions. In fact, this is what the purpose of dreams seems to be: to move us from a constricted view of reality, into a much more life-giving appreciation of ourselves, others and God.
It has been my experience that dreams mirror the great Gospel themes of reconciliation, grace, healing, love and participation in our life both individually and communally. They draw us into the arena where we experience that there actually is a life within us that we do not make happen, and that this life (the Spirit of God) calls us into the Dance wherein we are invited to forget ourselves and become one with the Dance. Dreams are a “little door” into the recesses of the soul.
Like Jesus in the desert, we meet in our dreams both angels and wild beasts, yet it is for the sake of our maturing in honesty before God. They lead us into death and out again. Like the biblical theme of the least being the vital element, the disregarded and ignored dream is, as the rabbis liked to put it, “like a letter that is unopened from God”.
"The Infinite Circle of Grace"
WHEN: November 7, 14, 21,28 (Wednesdays)
WHERE: St John the Baptist church hall, Cnr. Pickering St and South Pine Road, Enoggera
TIMES: 9.30am – 12.45pm.
COST: $120 in total for the four sessions, payable to Patrick at the commencement of the course.
TO REGISTER: Email Patrick on email@example.com.
A minimum of ten participants is needed for the course to proceed.
Patrick Oliver’s presentation of the enneagram is called “The Infinite Circle of Grace”. Rather than making pathology the starting point (“what’s wrong with me?”), Patrick makes the beginning point the fact of our being fashioned in the image of God. Rather than starting with the personality question “Who am I?” he begins with the contemplative question of personhood: “Whose am I?”
Patrick describes the differing ways in which we’re born to mirror qualities of God, and how they are given as gifts to be shared for the world. From there, he explores the different aspects of Divine Love, and how in our differences we reflect the beauty, fragility and strength of the Body of Christ.
A particular aspect of “The Infinite Circle of Grace” is its focus upon understanding our own and others’ soul-pain, and how this pain can serve to be a meeting place with Jesus, like the Samaritan Woman’s experience at the well.
“The Infinite Circle of Grace” also presents a different way of understanding how in both the Glare, the Glaze and the Gaze, we move around the circle to taste the worlds of spaces different from our own preferred space or “nest”.
“The Infinite Circle” is such a helpful resource in spiritual direction too, for it assists both director and directee to grow ever more sensitive to the movements of grace, and in the recognition of how grace is ever waiting to meet us in the moments when we might fear we are most alone.
"NEVER THE FINAL FULL STOP"
Doorways into Deep Simplicity
retreats and workshops
one-to-one and group training
Patrick Oliver, Brisbane-based spiritual director and retreat facilitator, is offering opportunities to explore and appreciate how grace has been with us through the ups and downs of our lives. This exploration is through the lens of what he calls a “deep simplicity” approach to spirituality.
Perhaps many of us spent our first few decades trying to be “good Christians”. We may have tried hard to do the right thing, but often it seemed that we could never be good enough, never be spiritually successful enough, or never be “faith-filled” enough.
This experience might well have led us onto the way of what might be called “Deep Simplicity”, where we began to shed layers of complexity with its continual emphasis upon asking “How am I doing?” Perhaps we found that life circumstances took us into waters where our former religious language, practice or perspectives became alienating and even hurtful. Yet somewhere along the line we learned that love couldn’t be earned, that peace of soul couldn’t be bought, and that forgiving life for being imperfect was the only way through.
As more maturing years unfolded, we discovered that our mistakes and wounds were actually a way into deeper compassion. We could let ourselves and others be mixtures of light and shadow, and we surrendered the need to be someone other than who we already were. Perhaps we noticed that the meaning of faith had changed for us: from a rigid adherence to mental constructs and certitudes, to a way of meeting life more humbly and honestly, reverently and trustfully. We could perceive more through the eyes of Love’s mystery, creative mercy and restorative justice. Yet very often we seemed out of step with other people of faith around us …
The aims of the “doorways into deep simplicity” are threefold:
· to provide encouragement for us to trust that God really does trust us, and to help us continue our journey of faith with a confidence that our deepest intuitions are true;
· to provide clarity for us to express insights which often can remain unrecognized, unformed or unspoken;
· to offer an opportunity for personal renewal in love, faith and hope, and a richer awareness of the exquisite life of our soul.
These four doorways are
A deep simplicity view of prayer and the soul’s journey. As the years go by, there can be a change in our understandings of prayer, conversion and even who God is for us. Our soul is enlarged and enriched not through perfect performance or saying lots of prayers, but through our mistakes and having to rely upon grace to renew us.
A deep simplicity view of our relationships. We are born to be reflections of God’s love. Patrick’s presentation of his ”Circle of Grace” is a unique, original, beautiful and refreshing adaptation of the enneagram, to reveal the divine depth of giftedness within us all. When we try to “own” this giftedness, we create difficulties for relationships with self, with others and with God. Yet the years can bring the opportunity for grace to transform and recreate the narratives of our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine.
A deep simplicity view of our dreams. Our nightly dreams can be friends trying to help us notice unseen gems along the way, and to help us to perceive our inner and outer worlds more maturely. Life themes are highlighted in dreams, which in our truer moments can be recognized as deeply healing and transformative.
A deep simplicity view of the Scriptures. We explore ways in which the Christian scriptures are the mega-story of what it means to be truly human, and how the light and shade of our own life story can be found and celebrated within this larger narrative.
These areas can be explored by individuals, by small groups of two or three, or by larger groups. Place and length of sessions can be negotiated with Patrick.
Cost of the sessions:
For one-to-one sessions $50 per hour
For small group sessions (2-4 people) $25 per hour per individual
For larger group sessions by negotiation
The presentation of these “doorways" can be in any format – in blocks of half-days, full days, or whatever a group wishes. Cost of the courses can be negotiated according to the length and intensity of the presentations.
One-to-one and small group training sessions are also available. This would be of help for individuals or groups of ministers, pastoral carers, chaplains, parish workers or anyone involved in the caring professions. The location of the training would be arranged by the group (if the size is larger than four participants). Structure and cost of the courses can be negotiated according to participants’ situations.
For all enquiries or comments regarding any information on this website,
please contact Patrick by