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Participating in the workshops of Emerging Wisdom will be a transformational experience where ancient truths are celebrated and new insights are discovered. The workshops are presented by contemplatives from around the world. CEUs are available for workshop participants. Come to engage, participate, and learn from the SDI global learning community. To learn more about a presenter, click on his or her name.
Conference participants choose two seventy-five minute workshops a day or one three-hour field trip.
The percent (%) figures following workshop descriptions indicate the relative percentage of presentation, discussion, and experiential activity.
Th1. Can Justice and Peace Kiss? A Contemplative Approach to Peace and Justice Work
(Rabbi Amy Eilberg)
Limited Space Available
The Psalmist declares that “Lovingkindness and truth have met; justice and peace have kissed” (Psalms 85:10). But frequently the pursuit of peace and justice evoke very different energies in us.
This workshop explores the deep connections and tensions between peace and justice work. Through Jewish texts and experiential exercises, we will explore the inner work of seeking peace and of confronting injustice. Together we will seek to discern a path to service where we must hold deeply held values in tension with one another. Enrollment limited.
33% Presentation, 33% Discussion, 34% Experiential
Th2. Tending Sacred Space in Group Spiritual Direction: Facilitating Contemplative and Inclusive Practices
(Christine Luna Munger)
Are you interested in facilitating group spiritual direction sessions? Participants will come away from the session having engaged in three specific spiritual practices that contribute to a contemplative and inclusive framework for small group settings. We will explore creating a covenant, sharing commitment, and engaging silence. These spiritual practices address common logistical and inter‐personal dynamics that arise in the ministry and service of group spiritual direction.
20% Presentation, 20% Discussion, 60% Experiential
When spiritual directees come to us uncomfortable with traditional language, what do we have to offer them? Do atheists, agnostics or “nones” have a place in our ministry and service of spiritual direction? This workshop will explore how metaphor, science, and silence are emerging as a sacred language that can open the way to meaningful spiritual exploration with seekers who may be questioning the existence of God or seeking meaning in new or creative ways.
25% Presentation, 40% Discussion, 35% Experiential
Th4. Ignatius Meets Teilhard: The Spiritual Exercises Transposed by the Evolutionary Vision of Teilhard de Chardin
(Rev. Dr. Bob Gardenhire)
What if Ignatius’ spiritual exercises were re-visioned according to the evolutionary spirituality of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin? Dr. Louis Savary’s book, The New Spiritual Exercises, does just that. In this workshop, participants will be presented with a comparison of the mystical theologies of Ignatius and Teilhard, and discover how Teilhard’s perspectives transpose the spiritual exercises. Learn new ways to approach an ancient form of spiritual direction.
60% Presentation, 20% Discussion, 20% Experiential
Where Merton’s Seeds of Destruction named the soul sickness of racism, this workshop undertakes the challenge and joy of bringing divine creativity and love when we are unready to address societal ills. Widening the circle for our understandings and misunderstandings about racism, Soyinka and Cynthia share personal stories, chant, movement, meditation, and InterPlay practices that inspire people to build personal altars of hope and connection for a new day.
20% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 50% Experiential
Th6. Learning Wisdom in the School of Your Own Life:Thomas Merton's Conference to His Novices on Contemplative Prayer
Thomas Merton's teaching on meditation guided his novices to, "enter the school of their lives." Merton’s method allowed them to realize that every event and person in their lived experience were the media by which "God the Father" was guiding their spiritual formation toward becoming their most true selves.
Together, we will dialogue over texts from Merton's private journals that witness his personal appropriation of this contemplative practice. The workshop will instigate this way of meditating as a spiritual practice in our own lives so that we can, in turn, mentor the contemplative practice in those we guide.
Explore the work of African American theologian, Howard Thurman, with a specific focus on contemplation and social justice. We will read his relevant meditations, learn how to use these meditations during spiritual direction, and share reflective silence. We will conclude with a general discussion about Howard Thurman, his prophetic influence on the Civil Rights Movement, and the vital role contemplative spirituality and spiritual direction can play in human rights today.
20% Presentation, 40% Discussion, 40% Experiential
Th8. The Transformative Power of Imaginative Contemplation
(Dr. Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, BA, Med, MA, PhD)
Ignatian imaginative contemplation engages the imagination as a doorway to the encounter with God and facilitates profoundly positive shifts in the images of God and self. Drawing on dialogical‐self theory, research done in the African context, and the experience of participants, this workshop will explore how and why imaginative prayer can enable such a transformative process.
47% Presentation, 33% Discussion, 20% Experiential
Th9. Sacred Sexuality for Men
(Bruce Tallman, DMin)
Participants will look at healing the brokenness of sexuality in our culture exhibited by pornography, affairs, and rape. How might emerging wisdom uncover the sacredness of sexuality as a God-given gift meant to connect us more deeply to ourselves, others, and the Divine? The workshop will help male spiritual directors assist male and female spiritual directees to integrate sexuality more fully into a mature spirituality. Women are welcome to participate in this workshop.
50% Presentation, 50% Discussion
Th10. Spirituality of Resilience
(Kathleen Bryant, RSC)
What inner life and resources enable a victim of injustice to thrive and rise above their personal tragedy? Resilience in human beings is a remarkable revelation that we are made in God’s image and likeness. This workshop will reflect on how those who have suffered deeply can enrich our contemplative awareness and recognition of a spirituality of resilience. Contemplatives who hold the social concerns of the world also need to be sustained by a spirituality of resilience.
50% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 20% Experiential
Th11. Lives Explored: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
(Diane M. Millis, PhD)
How can we create more occasions for conversations about vocation? In this workshop, we will view a series of video narratives featuring men and women of differing ages, ethnicities, and callings listening for the voice of vocation in their everyday lives. We will practice visio divina as our process for viewing and making meaning of these narratives. We will collectively explore the vocational questions, struggles, and wisdom emerging in various phases of the spiritual journey.
30% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 40% Experiential
Th12. Insights from Bhagavad Gita for Contemporary Living and Leadership
(Dr. Janardhanan (Johnny) Alse)
The human condition and leadership around the world is in a state of crisis due to advances in technology, global competition, and globalization. Leaders and individuals around the world are either completely lost or finding it hard to cope with turbulent changes occurring in their environments. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to key ideas of the eastern philosophy of Bhagavad Gita for effective management of self, leading change, and productive transformation of individuals and organizations for achieving success and lasting peace.
50% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 20% Experiential.
Th13. The Spiritual Wisdom of Thomas Merton’s Photography
(The Rev. Dr. Susan Moorefield)
Come enter the world of Thomas Merton’s photography! His subjects and artistic composition reveal his own inner work, his search for what is real, and his playful imagination. His photographs capture his love for nature, people, and travel. Explore how photography can awaken your seeing of the world around you and deepen your own contemplation.
60% Presentation, 15% Group Discussion, 25% Experiential
Limited Space Available
In 1962, Thomas Merton received a drawing from five-year-old Grace Sisson, which she called, “Grace’s House.” Merton wrote about this drawing in Emblems of a Season of Fury. In his poem, Merton describes the detail of the drawing and laments that “alas, there is no road to Grace’s House.”
Beginning with imagery from “Graces House,” we will explore the poem he wrote in response. Our time together includes seeking glimpses and metaphors for perspectives of spiritual direction, the opportunity to view select Merton calligraphic images, meditative time to respond in visual or verbal journaling, and optional wisdom sharing. Limited enrollment.
40% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 30% Experiential
Th15. Gently Integrating Our Shadow-side Toward Personal Wholeness
(Kaye Twining, BTheol, GradDip, MA)
Thomas Merton said, "When we find [God] we find our true self and when we find our true self we find [God]." How do we find our true self and God when our shadow‐side unwittingly shapes our sense of selfhood, which in turn shapes our experience of, and response to, God? During this workshop, participants will be introduced to the nature of shadow‐side, and will be offered a two‐part spiritual practice for gently recognizing and reintegrating our shadow‐side.
35% Presentation, 15% Discussion, 50% Experiential
Thursday Field Trip: Spiritual Freedom and the Wisdom of Merton and the Mystics: Contemplating the Sacred Path of Multi‐faith Spiritual Direction
(Carol A. Fournier, MS, MA, LCMHC, NCC)
Full. To be added to the waitlist, please e-mail Brittany Waldean at email@example.com
Merton sought and found wisdom through the spiritual disciplines and practices of Christianity, Taoism, Islam, and Zen Buddhism, engaging in an intra‐spiritual dance with the mystery of God, self, and others, inviting a vibrant lived spirituality across faiths. Together with the Mystics we will contemplate the stages of spirituality; the struggle with the self; the inner journey; challenges and trials of the Spirit filled life; as well as union and integration as the pathway of spiritual freedom. The learning will take place during a walk through downtown Louisville to sacred sites. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring your favorite journal or sketchbook. Enrollment limited.
35% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 35% Experiential