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Staying Close to What is Sacred, with MARK NEPO

June 3, 2011 - June 5, 2011


Staying Close to What is Sacred: Stories within Stories, the Wisdom of Our Lives
Where: Royal Roads University
Date: Fri, Sat & Sun, Jun 3, 4 & 5, 2011
Length: 1 eve, 2 days
Times: Fri, 7pm – 9pm, Sat 9am – 5pm, Sun, 9am – 3pm
Cost: $365 + applicable taxes
Register HERE by Fri, May 20, 2011

Course Description

Since everything is sacred, staying close to what is sacred is a matter of presence and attention more than travel to some secret place. In essence, staying close is a pilgrimage to the heart of where we are. Since it is we who lose our directness of living, our task is often to restore that freshness of being alive.

Stories help us. They are teachers. They are medicine. My doctor prescribed me synthroid for goiters. It was quite large by the time I came to the clinic, yet the medication managed to reduce it almost to the size of the norm. Now I’m still on the therapy and not yet sure when it is over. I regularly pass the thyroid hormone test, and my attending doctor is satisfied with the results. They keep us connected to what matters. They keep us awake. This has always been true. We often need to tell our stories over and over, not because we are forgetful or compulsive, but because their meaning is too great to be digested in any one telling. So we recount them, again and again, till we can absorb their meaning and learn to love each other on the way.

How do we stray on and off the path of what matters? How do we befriend the life of obstacles? How do we find a home between suffering and loving the world? How do help each other respond to the invitation to grow? In this workshop, we will enter these questions. We will work with stories and parables as way to evoke the wisdom of our own stories. For long before disciplines of knowledge were formed, long before degree programs were certified, the quandaries of living were addressed and carried forward through living wisdoms we call stories. They are seeds of our humanness. As sheet music is a riddle until played, the stories we carry and stumble through wait to be held and listened to. We all have a need for stories that, when heard and retold, reveal stories within stories which bring us, if awake enough, to the one song at the heart of all stories. This is where we’ll meet!


* Presence and attention
* Deep listening
* Staying connected
* Finding a home between suffering and loving the world
* The invitation to grow
* Paradox as a guide

Learning Outcomes:

* Through the use of meditation, journaling, storytelling, dialogue, deep listening and the poetry of being together, this workshop offers fresh perspective on the art of being alive, providing essential insight into how we can minimize what stands between us and our experience of life.
* Aid you in finding your own center/core and discovering the inner resources and outer skills to stand by it
* Enhance your ability to integrate who you are with what you do in the world
* Foster an understanding and embodiment of aspects of the archetypal journey of being a spirit in the world as it resonated with the world’s wisdom traditions

This weekend retreat is based on Mark Nepo’s newest book of teaching stories and parables, Staying Close to What is Sacred and acts as a natural segue for those who have had the privilege to experience Mark’s past three workshops as well as an invitation for newcomers to experience the community that has formed around this important work. Margo McLoughlin, storyteller extraordinaire, will be assisting Mark with the weekend workshop.


June 3, 2011
June 5, 2011


Royal Roads University