Monday, December 22, 2008
our faith community did a "love experiment" this fall- we linked groups of people up in a chain where you receive an act of love and in turn give to the next person. these acts were intended to be extravagant and intentional with the hope of fostering an ethos of love in the community. it ran the danger of feeling contrived, but i guess anything can be if people aren't engaged in the idea. well, it turned out in my group that everyone got really into it.
i had the gift of receiving an amazing weekend away at the Grünewald Guild, an artist retreat center nested in the cascade mountains, in the Leavenworth area (the place is amazing: staffed by angels practicing the hospitality of heaven). our friend hannah worked hard with ruth to set the whole thing up without me knowing and timing it for the weekend after finals. on my way out i pondered why it was that being out amongst the trees in nature is so profoundly centering for me and many others. the simple thought that followed was simply because trees don't handle life the way i handle life. so i decided to put ink to that concept while i was up in the woods: what would it look like to see trees handling life the way i handle life? it was a playful and reflective way to contemplate my unhealthy patterns of relating to self and others- patterns that lead me to places of desperately needing to retreat into the woods to recollect amongst the trees.
"differentiation", "self harm", "anxiety" & "self care" in the "trees handling life like i handle life" series. copyright, phil nellis: winter 2008 at grünewald guild.