live with hope

We are all called to be true to our truth regardless of outcome. The challenge is to be in touch with our very soul and facilitate its’ task on this earth. Sometimes we live our truth at great cost to ourselves and end up misunderstood and apparently defeated. To all those who find this their experience, I hope they find great hope and encouragement in the following poem:

A Vision

If we will have the wisdom to survive

To stand like slow-growing trees

On a ruined place, renewing, enriching it

Then a long time after we are dead

The lives our lives prepare will live

Here, their houses strongly placed

Upon the valley sides, fields and gardens

Rich in the windows. The river will run

Clear, as we will never know it,

And over it, birdsong like a canopy….

On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down

The old forest, an old forest will stand

Its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots,

The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.

Families will be singing in the fields.

In their voices they will hear a music

Risen out of the ground…..


Native to this valley will spread over it

Like a grove, and memory will grow

Into legend, legend into song, song

Into sacrament. The abundance of this place,

The songs of its people and its birds,

Will be health and wisdom and indwelling

Light. This is no paradise dream.

Its hardship is its possibility.


Wendell Barry “A Vision”



I will not die an unlived life

I will not live in fear

Of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

To allow my living to open me,

To make me less afraid,

More accessible;

To loosen my heart

Until it becomes a wing,

A torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my signifance,

To live so that which came to me as seed

Goes to the next as blossom,

And that which came to me as blossom,

Goes on as fruit

(Dawna Markova)

Spirituality In The Helping Professions

Date: Saturday 23rd November

Venue: Family Life Centre, Boyle, Co Roscommon

Time: 10am – 5pm

Booking:  Family Life Centre 0719663000


What sustains you?

What gives you life?

What nourishes your soul at work and at home?

If these are questions that speak to you, you may be interested in coming along to a workshop in the Family Life Centre in Boyle.  It is aimed primarily at people who work as carers, social workers, nurses, doctors, therapists, religious, and will involve spending a few hours reflecting on your work and motivation, and finding ways to nourish that.


Participants will be facilitated during this presentation to clarify for themselves a spirituality which gives them life and peace amid the storms that emerge in daily living, and to make contact with the “inner well” that sustains you.  People will get in touch with your passion, a key way of making contact with one’s soul.

The day will involve input, experiential work including guided meditation, discussion and some outdoor experience – weather permitting.



Whatever has happened in your life up till now, what you may have believed in or hoped for or dreamed of, remember that all this is in the past. A new life, a new chance, now awaits you. You have only to reach out and take it. But remember: you yourself must do the reaching. Though the way calls, it will not come on its own accord. It is up to you to take the first step”. (The Five Stages of the Soul, Moody and Carroll)

Tel: 0863663276

inspirational reading

i recommend two books by Bill Plotkin, Wild Minds and Nature and The Human Soul. One quote to keep you interested “in these pages, you’ll find a narrative of how we might grow whole, one life stage at a time, by embracing nature and soul as our wisest and most trustworthy guides.” Nature and The Human Soul

in my opinion so much of our lives are dominated by fear

working therapeutically with people in the outdoors

“I come into the peace of wild things

Who do not tax their lives with forethought

Of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free”

Wendell Berry(2008)

Working with people in the outdoors


Friday 16 May  1pm– Sunday 18th May 4pm. 2014

Cost: 190 euro


This three day course is designed for practitioners who either work outdoors with clients or who would like to do so. Thus psychotherapists, psychologists, art therapists, counsellors,  and care workers might be interested in such an event. It will be mainly experiential and will be conducted for the most part outside.| The outdoor environment is a very non-traditional setting for what can be a very powerful experience in working with issues including anxiety, depression, unhealthy anger and  inner child work.


While time will be given to emerging issues, it will include the following areas:

The therapeutic rationale for workdoors

The role of nature in the work

Potential approaches to the work

Issues in relation to boundaries and safety

Client assessment and safety

Attending to the contract

Developing a practice working in this way

Participants will also be given an opportunity to facilitate an outdoor therapeutic exercise. There will also be solo time allowing space for personal reflection and time alone in nature, time to connect to the land and to oneself.


The location will be in the coastal and mountain environs of North Sligo. Participants will meet in the Benwiskin Centre where a number of places have been reserved for those who would like accommodation . Meals will be supplied but accommodation costs are not included. The course will begin at 1pm on Friday 16th May and concludes on Sunday 18th May at 4pm. There will be evening work on Friday and Saturday.


This event would also serve as a retreat for people who wish to spend guided time in the outdoors, learning ways to enhance their own personal healing in a beautiful tranquil and mysterious setting. Please see my article in the I.A.H.I.P journal “Inside Out” Summer 2013.


I would appreciate if you would pass on this material to anyone you know who might be drawn to an experience like this. Numbers are limited to 10. To secure a place please send a deposit of 60 euro to Peter Devlin , Cloonaghbawn, Ballinfull, Co.Sligo before Monday 16th September. Please contact me if you require further information (Tel: 086 3663276). CPD  hours will be allocated.


A Spirituality for the helping professions

this day which will be held in The Family Life Centre, Boyle, Co. Roscommon will explore what we mean by spirituality. it is a term surely which embraces a multitude of meanings and challenges each of us to define what we mean by it. participants will be helped to formulate their own statement which will serve as  a platform to consider ways of being faithful to living that spirituality. Soul,and the  natural environment are key terms in any discussion of spirituality in my view. this day will involve group sharing, experiential learning and input. time frame is 10 am to 5pm. please contact the Family Life Centre for bookings or further details at 0719663000 or call me to discuss content at 086 3663276


Working therapeutically in the outdoors

Friday Oct 4th- Sunday 6th Oct

This 3 day and 2 night course is designed for those counsellors/ psychotherapist/ psychologists and health professionals who already do some outdoor work or would like to begin working in nature with their clients. The workshop will explore reasons for doing so, examining the practical implications and and focus on particular ways to utilise natural spaces to enhance healing, new life and growth for our clients.

Most of the work will be outdoors in the North sligo area and accommodation will be in the Benwiskin Centre. Numbers will be limited to 8.

More details including cost and an application form will be available later.

Spirituality of the outdoors

Saturday September 7th 2013
Omeath Co Louth
Time 10am -4pm
This will be a day spent in the vicinity of the beautiful mountains and forestry around Omeath and Carlingford. There will be input, time alone and in silence, time to share with kindred spirits and to be in touch with the inner and the outer.”time to be still and know that I am God”

‘Every branch, leaf and fruit
Reveals an aspect of His perfection
The cypress hints of His majesty,
The rose gives tidings of his beauty.’ (Jami)


Vision Quest

June 29 & 30th 2013

A two day event incorporating 8 hours in silence alone,  staying in a place of your own choosing in the Eagle’s Rock mountain area,  Co. Leitrim. There will be preparation in advance and time to reflect and integrate the material at the end.  This will also involve a 24 hour fast.

Date::                    Sat 29 June 10am- Sunday 30 June 2pm

Booking :             Peter Devlin 086-3663276 or [email protected]

Cost   :                  90 euro  (Or pay whatever you can afford) –      excluding accommodation                            

Meeting point:       Benwiskin centre, Ballintrillick, North Sligo

CPD:                    16 hours


 “To enact a vision quest is to clear a space. To quest is to honor a fallow time in our spiritual lives, an emptiness into which something utterly new and generative might enter. It is to create an open vessel capable of being filled to overflowing by the sacred Other”  Bill Plotkin


A vision quest is an ancient rite of dying, passing through, and being reborn. Normally it involves a three day, three night fast, alone, in a place of natural power. What I am offering is a shorter version of this with an opportunity for men and women to spend at least eight hours of silence on the mountainside. It will involve a period of preparation which will be conducted with personal contact with me by phone before the event, some time with the group on Saturday morning 21 July and finally a period of several hours on Sunday with the entire group to reflect on the experience and prepare for the return home.


Reasons for doing a vision quest include the following: seeking advice on a major life decision, to celebrate or confirm a path already chosen, seeking direction, seeking courage to forgive oneself or forgive another. Perhaps something is dying in your life and a new phase is waiting to be born.  Wilderness fasts have been a part of human culture for many thousands of years. Fasting helps us see the role that food plays in our life and helps us to focus. Being in one place for a considerable period invites one .to stay with one’s pain and thus find a way through it.


10 people took part in a similar quest last July and their reasons for participating included the following: “ seeking inspiration from mother earth”, “seeking guidance for the next stage of my life” “ desire to connect to a deeper sense of self”  “grow more inwards” “ to find my own vision as I am too busy in life”.


What they said: “I received so much guidance and care,” “I received permission to dare to be different” “, I rediscovered that soft, peaceful light in me and inner space” “I became aware of the amount of anger in me and was able to let some of it go,” “ It was great to have stayed committed to participating in it and I met some wonderful people” “. I learned to value myself more”.

Participants would need to be comfortable with being outdoors for a considerable period, be reasonably comfortable with silence and aloneness, have a moderate level of fitness and be willing to spend some time preparing for the event.


The group will meet at 10 am at the  Benwiskin Centre, Co. Sligo. After a short introduction, they will travel to the nearby Eagles Rock area. Time will be given to helping people slow down and acclimatise to the beautiful surrounding and to get a feel for the place which will host them for the rest of the day.


At 1 pm participants will be invited to go out onto the mountain and find a place where they can settle alone for the rest of the day without radio, phone, books or food. We will meet again at 9pm but will continue fasting until breakfast on Sunday. Accommodation is available in Benwiskin if booked in advance, or people may make other arrangements. Sunday morning will centre on reflecting on the experience and integrating it into our lives.


 I would like to finalise places by June 7th.. It is important that those who feel drawn to accept this challenge contact me with their questions and if they commit to taking part after we have had a chat then serious preparation can begin. This will involve some reading, formulating a sacred intention, and a little fasting and walking.


 You may want to reserve a place in the Benwiskin Centre (0719176721) [email protected] .Early booking is advised as places in the centre tend to be limited at this time of the year. People may opt for other options including bringing ones own tent.


Numbers will be limited to 10. Please contact me if you require more information. To secure a place please send a deposit of 30 euro to Peter Devlin, Cloonaghbawn, Ballinfull, Co Sligo on or before Friday June 7th

some interesting advice

Is there a place where you feel connected to the web of life? It can be either somewhere you go physically or somewhere in your imagination.Each time you go there, make yourself comfortable. Think of yourself plugging into a root system that can draw up insights and inspiration as weill as other nutrients. To receive guidance, all you need to is to ask for it, and then listen.