Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Listening in The Land of Brisk Sea Breezes

 Anglican Cathedral, Portsmouth

There's nothing like a good gust of wind to blow away those post Christmas cobwebs, is there? That was my experience  yesterday as I made my way  back down to what I used to call "The Land of Seabirds and Brisk Sea Breezes," for the opening session of a course on a Week of Accompanied Prayer. Those of you familiar with the original  Greenpatches (is there anybody?) may remember my reflections about my time as a "pilgrim,"   on one of these home-based retreats. No need to travel far and wide to make your retreat; your retreat comes to you. All that's needed  is  a commitment to spend half an hour in prayer  and to a short meeting with your prayer guide each day. There is, of course, a little matter of incorporating all this into the hustle and bustle of your daily life: definitely a challenge, I discovered.

Nearly two and a half years down the line, it's time for some of us  to reverse roles and learn a  about the nuts and bolts of accompanying our own pilgrims. A daunting prospect, perhaps? I certainly felt slightly 'wobbly' beforehand: with memories still quite fresh of the first spirituality course there which had been such a formative experience for me. Would revisiting prove to be a mistake? 

No worries. From start to finish, I loved it. From greeting  old acquaintances to meeting new ones, to the practical side of things: it's quite  intense, plenty of listening experience and little time in which to be nervous. (talk about brisk sea breezes!).  I plunged straight in; even surprised myself   by volunteering to be the first person in our small group  to act as 'guide.' Not typical Greenpatch behaviour but then I am older, wiser (and from the look in the mirror this morning - wrinklier). 

Looking next week's dose of fresh air.


  1. It sounds wonderful! I'm glad it was such a good experience - and what a great place to do it. I began my chequered career there, and remember the brisk breezes. Bracing!

  2. Don't know about bracing; judging by some of the weather forecasts I may need to ski down there for the next session!


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