What do you want to say to the world?


WE celebrated Christmas in Newry this year at the home of my wife’s family. So where will I go to have Mass I asked myself in the days leading up to this great feast. I decided it would be Hilltown, the parish where i grew up, the big church overlooking Clonduff football field, a place where i spent many a happy, sad, wining and losing hour.

 

As the priest began the ceremony, the church was packed to overflowing and we were so fortunate to have a seat, I asked myself the question What would I like to say to this congregation tonight? Imagine having a captive audience, so alive  alert and full of anticipation, and being entrusted with an opportunity to welcome, enthuse and inspire them.

I had no idea!  The answer came to me the next afternoon, Christmas day. I sat on a seat reserved for soccer subs overlooking an empty pitch. I had the place to myself and wanted to write in my journal, a way that I have discovered to honour my soul.

“What a deep silence as i write this, yes some distant traffic interrupts the powerful serene presence of this special day, crows announce their arrival, a tractor and farmer bring Christmas cheer to a few captive cattle in a nearby yard with a grab of silage. Clouds drift harmlessly in a light grey sky, the green fresh grass continues to thrive in the unusual warm weather and the country air offers itself as another gift to me.

 

Fields of sport deserted of participants chuckle in quiet amazement at this older human, armed with his green and white copy book, blue pen and blue overcoat. He writes with enthusiasm and delight, trying to capture in words the experience of stillness and the magic of this moment. What a welcome guest. Surely we all love encouragement and praise!!”

Now i know what i would have liked to say to the packed house, I would like you to take some quiet time today in the midst of doing, working, playing , eating, drinking , laughing, crying and fighting , take some time to stop, notice, give thanks and praise. Sounds simple I know but does demand taking your slice of alone time, however short, however where.

If you found this interesting reading , perhaps stop now, look, listen, feel, smell a little and taste the gift of now.

 

What would you like to say to a packed congregation on Christmas eve 2019? Begin now to think about that and don’t wait a year!!

Listening to our Ancestor Stories

Listening to our Ancestor’s Stories
Accessing the gifts and healing the wounds of our inheritance

Tue. Sep. 11th. Evening – Sun.16th. 2018 till 1pm
(on ever ancient, ever new Achill Island, County Mayo)

Guides: Peter Devlin with Sheila McHugh

Cost: 690 Euro
This includes guide fee and five night’s accommodation: €200 non-refundable deposit secures a place. Numbers are limited to 10.  Book before 31st May 2018 to avail of early bird discount (€630).

Humanity is built on the bedrock of our desire to belong. That we are part of a particular family and family tree is an indisputable fact. How we are in this world, how we live, how we react to the events which life presents us with, and rear our children, is no doubt deeply influenced by the family and tradition we come from.

Continue reading “Listening to our Ancestor Stories”

Focusing – Finding the Wisdom Within

When: Sat. 26./ Sun. 27th. May 2018
Time:  10 – 4pm
Cost:  140 Euro

How often have you said ‘I know I should have listened to myself’ … but didn’t?  Most of us don’t know how to tune into those subtle, vague, mysterious, irrational ‘gut’ feelings that are hard to pin down and describe … let alone, understand. Focusing is a gentle yet powerful process of inner knowing.  It invites us to pay attention to body feelings and learn from them.

This weekend course will provide an introduction to the skills of focusing, which will help you gain clarity, peace of mind and peace of body.  Inner wisdom and emotional healing are two of the most important results of this skill.

Continue reading “Focusing – Finding the Wisdom Within”

Blessing of a Parent

           

A Blessing from a Parent

May you believe in yourself,

Recognizing the beautiful gifts within yourself.

May you listen well to yourself and

To others.

 

May you have courage and encourage

Share stories, sense your surroundings

Avoid playing small, ignore the

‘not good enough’ voice, the being too good.

 

Be yourself, story tell, laugh, listen, love

Enjoy, entertain, engage with life

Accept yourself, be yourself, accept yourself

Protect, provide, plan your precious life.

 

I will be with you in some form

To love, learn and laugh with you

To gift, guide and go with you

To comfort, care and celebrate with you.

 

Let go, give yourself to life fully

Recognizing, feel and express your emotions

Anger as a power to respect yourself

Others and the planet.

Fear as a reminder to guard yourself

Sadness as acknowledgment of loss,

Joy as gratitude for the gift of life

Anger, crying a asserting respect.

 

Lead a life of gentleness and strength

Meeting pain as the pain of childbirth

Own your anger, express your fear,

Shed your tears, burst with laughter.

 

I am not perfect, I am sorry

I own my mistakes, I have learned

Thank you for being my child

I love you and the child within you.

Spring Soul Day

Spring Soul Day
A new Beginning with an opportunity to begin the Journey of Healing

Dates:     Sat. 17.2.2018   10am – 5pm
                Sun. 18.2.2018    9am – 4 pm
Venue:  North Sligo Area
Fee:     120 Euro for both days and 70 Euro for one day.
             Numbers will be limited to 8.       CDP Points: 14 

This two day event promises to be time well spent as participants will be invited to explore their natural gifts and resources they have as human beings, many of which they may not be aware of. Awareness of our resources provides us with natural ability to heal some of our wounds thus enabling us to begin to replace old routines with more healthy ways of being, positive habits of presence, self-encounter and mature action.

Continue reading “Spring Soul Day”

I am enough, you know!

I am enough, you know!

UK study: Calls place modest fifth in phone time use

Dear Reader

Michael Singer was recently giving a presentation on a Sound True Production. And what he was saying about the mind being a beautiful and at the same time a dangerous thing really struck me. Essentially we humans have beautiful minds. Beautiful precious inner lives, which we keep well hidden at times.  It is generally the outer self one sees, a self often times well masked, manufactured and made up. In a desperate attempt to comfort and fit in and to impress the other.

My 11 year old son bought his first phone recently. He was probably one of the last of his lass to get a phone. The importance of connection and friendship and not being the odd one out, clinched for us the deal as parents.

In handing the phone to him, my prayer was, that this phone be used to develop and nurture healthy friendships, to encourage and affirm people and to spread good news, joy and laughter.

My hope was, that it would not be used as a means to desperately plea, that ‘I am good enough’. The mind can be a dangerous thing. It can construct, construe and convince me that I am not good enough, people do not like me. I need lots of followers, fans, approval and acceptance.

Nature Retreat: Nurture, Sustenance, And Overcoming Harsh Self-Criticism

Nature Retreat: Nurture, Sustenance and Overcoming Harsh Self-Criticism

 

Sat 18th and Sun 19th November

 

 

 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.

(Wendell Berry, “A Vision”)

Most of us desire to be happy and at peace, to be stress free and clear headed.  We wonder how to best care for ourselves in the midst of our busy lives, how to respond to our responsibility to care for the earth, how to be a good parent, how to nurture our relationships.

These central questions will form the basis of these two days spent in the tranquil peace-filed and wild surroundings of North Sligo.

On Saturday we will spend some time celebrating the lives of people who have nurtured and nourished us and may no longer be physically with us.  There will be time to give thanks to our environment for its protection and care, time to reflect on our generative qualities and consider how we can give to our relationships, and to the more than human world.

On Sunday we will move to a different venue and explore ways in which we adults live our lives using strategies to survive which belong to our own days of childhood.  These include the need to belong, to be safe, to be free from conflict, to fit in to the expectations of others.  Understanding ourselves, and discovering healthy ways of belonging, overcoming harsh self-criticism will be at the heart of this day.

Both days will include input, group sharing and time alone to experience ways of cultivating a more compassionate and genuine care of self, others, our relationships and this beautiful temporary home known as earth.

In the event of adverse weather conditions, we will move to a warm welcoming indoor venue.  Please dress in several layers and bring waterproof jacket and trousers if possible, and bring a notebook, pen, lunch and a hot drink.

Date: Sat 18th November 10am-5pm, Sunday 19th November 9am-4pm

Cost: 70 euro per day or 120 euro for the two days ( If possible please do both days for maximum benefit and group trust.)

CPD points:14

 

To secure a place, please send a deposit of 30 euro to Peter Devlin, Cloonaghbawn, Ballinful, Co Sligo before Monday 13th November.

For further information, please ring 0863663276 or email [email protected].

www.peterdevlin.ie

Autumn – Season of Harvest and Transformation.

 

 

Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing,

There is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in the grass,

The world is too full to talk about.

Ideas; language. Even the phrase each other

Doesn’t make any sense.

 Rumi.

Following on from the South Facet of self which we explored May 13 and 14, I would now like to invite you to spend two days with me and others looking at the West facet of Self which is characterized by words including romance, sunsets, sunrises and imagination. Writer and Wilderness Guide Bill Plotkin situates this dimension of our inner selves in the season of Autumn, the evening of the day, a time of dying and reaping the harvest.

This is the area of dreams, the place of change, transformation, mystery, decisions,   the underworld, the unknown, living with questions, moving into our inner life, into the interior world. As we journey together on this first day, we will tread carefully as we will be afforded deep access to the soul and to the Divine.

Just as the way of knowing in the South is feeling and emotion, the West uses our imagination, “Imago – Dei” as a way to discover our truth. The Divine is not known by reason. This is an opportunity to imagine a healthier way of living, to make contact with our innate creativity and hidden gifts.

Bill Plotkin reminds us that “Deep imagination is an indispensable faculty for discovering the truth about everyday life, no less essential than observing, thinking and feeling”

On Sunday we will explore areas of ourselves that we are unaware of and consequently are a barrier to living a more wholesome life. The term  the Shadow is often used in this context, sometimes we project our negative characteristics onto others and sometimes we disown our innate gifts and project them onto others. The poet and writer Robert Bly maintains that we spend the first part of our lives stuffing 90 per cent of our wholeness into the “long bag we drag behind us” and the remainder of our life trying to retrieve these items. It is not uncommon to find our deepest passion when we become aware of our Shadow. It might be as simple as a desire to write, sing or dance, gifts which may have been repressed in the interests of conforming to the expectations of family or society.

These areas will be further developed during the two days and participants will be given time, space and gentle listening as they go out into wild nature with specific exercises to experiment with. You will be encouraged to move with compassion and curiosity into your inner landscape, input will focus as well on how you can use your inner resources which you will have surfaced on the first day, to move forward with gentleness and strength.

 

The following information is taken from Bill Plotkins book “Wild Mind”

 

The Shadow is whatever is what’s true about who you really are, but you haven’t a clue about it.

Projection is the unconscious transfer of your own emotions, desires, or traits onto another person (your screen) or sometimes onto a whole class of persons.

Seeing scandalous flaws in others is a good place to investigate

Primary clue is the intensity of the emotional reaction you have to the other person

Sometimes what we project onto others is not our disowned characteristics but our unfinished relationship with the past.

In the basic form of shadow work, we get a chance to reflect on how we behave towards other people, withdrawing and owning our projections, seeing our stuff more clearly, taking great responsibility, improving our relationships and making them more real.

 

 Weather permitting both days will be conducted in the outdoors, enjoying the mountains and ocean of this beautiful environment. Wilderness informs us that wholeness is not about perfection. Both days will include input, solo time, and an opportunity to share when appropriate. The exercises we do can be then used to practice and continue to use when at home. Confidentiality is stressed and we will take solace that we are not alone in our human condition.

 

PLEASE DRESS IN SEVERAL LAYERS INCLUDING WATERPROOF CLOTHING AND GOOD BOOTS. Include lunch, a hot drink, a watch, notebook and pen in your ruck sack.

 

 

Venue:  North Sligo area.  The sessions will be conducted in beautiful wild areas of North Sligo. The intention is to spend one day in the shade of beautiful Ben Bullen and another in that magical, mysterious historical place known as Knock lane Promontory Fort. In the advent of terrible weather conditions, we will work indoors adjacent to my office. Fortunately we are only 10 minutes away by car from the intended venues. We will meet indoors initially.

 

Details:   Saturday 23 September 10am-5pm and Sunday 24 September 9am-4pm

              Cost 70 euro per day or 120 for the two days (If possible please do both days for maximum benefit and group trust.)

             C.P.D. Points :  14

              To secure a place please send a deposit of 30 euro to Peter Devlin, Cloonaghbawn, Ballinfull, Co. Sligo before Friday 15th September 2017.

              For further information please call 0863663276 or email [email protected]

              www.peterdevlin.ie

Reminder of May 13, 14 Healing and Growth Event

I am enclosing copy of an article I wrote in Network Magazine which was published January 2017 Issue 100. The forthcoming days take Bill Plotkin’s material on The South Facet of Self and explore how we can avail of it on our healing journey as we own our wounded parts and search for the healing which is at our disposal. We just need to take the time,come out of our comfort zone, change  the patterns of busyness and helping others we so readily engage in to the exclusion of tending to the one precious life we have.

“Know Thyself”

There is a world within you

No one has ever seen,

A voice no one has ever heard,

Not even you.

As yet unknown to you,

You are your own seer,

Your own interpreter.

And so with eyes and ears

Grown sharp for voice or sign,

Listen well-

Not to these words

But to that inward voice,

That impulse beating in your heart

Like a far wave.

Turn to that source, and you will find

What no one has ever found,

A ground within you

No one has ever seen,

A world beyond the limits

Of your dream’s horizon.

 

 

Dear reader, I hope you enjoy this poem. It has been hidden in my store chest of inspiring poems for many years but recently while giving a weekend retreat on the theme of finding one’s soul gift, it came alive in a big way. Perhaps that is because a voice within me that nobody has ever heard not even me is determined to be made known. Perhaps that is why I am writing this article days before Christmas 2016.

 

What is your particular soul gift to this world? How does your soul want to express itself in this beautiful world? What does the word soul mean for you? There are many definitions available regarding soul.  For example the poet David Whyte tells us “The soul wants to tell us the truth about ourselves, our world, and the relation between the two, whether that truth is easy or hard to hear. The soul wants to give us life, and wants us to pass that gift along, to become life givers in a world that deals too much death”

 

 

My view of soul growing up in a Catholic household in the north of Ireland was to view it as a type of white soft cloth in the centre of my body, when I sinned black marks appeared on the cloth which only confession to a priest could remove and only partially at that. The authority figures in my life were my parents, God, and the Church. Perhaps it was not surprising that I decided at an early age to become a priest. I was ordained in 1981, a very happy, committed and naïve young man.

Working with young people in the area of faith development was part of my ministry and I was always struck at the number of beautiful young intelligent and gifted people who had a terrible self-image and I longed to find a way to help them see themselves to see their own beauty inner and outer.

My own journey continued with Church as my main point of reference until depression forced me to look at how I was living and I slowly discovered another voice which grew stronger as I began inner work in therapy and has continued ever since. My decision to leave institutional priesthood was slow and very painful. Sixteen years later I came to a gradual realisation that my particular calling or gift to this world was actually to be a priest albeit in a different way. The challenge had been to find a delivery system to offer my gift as a priest to the world.

 

However the loud aggressive voices of “Who are you to think that you can be a different sort of priest?” and “”will you give over and get on with life in an ordinary way?”  have to be dealt way. These voices come from what I can describe as the wounded parts of Peter, the good, law abiding little boy and no trouble maker little boy. I have come to discover however that this way of being does not serve me or the world well. Time to wake up Peter and discover the leader within you, yes this will cost you in terms of the judgement of others and the possibility of failure.

There is a world within me and a voice that I have never heard or seen but which is now coming to life. One way of knowing what stirs the soul is the strong emotion which we experience now and again when we come across a poem, song , piece of writing or a person on our travels and we marvel and wonder at what is going on.

 

Examples for me include the poems “Know Thyself”  “I will not die an unlived life,” and “The Journey ”. The wonderful books; “The Untethered soul” and “A Hidden Wholeness” and meeting and working with Bill Plotkin.   Recording and working with my nightly dreams, spending time alone walking and being in the wilds of the west of Ireland, and working with a wilderness guide have all been and continue to be of invaluable assistance in my journey of discernment and adventure.

A core question is how we move away from searching for the leader and teacher outside ourselves? What about the challenge to us that we are own seer, our own interpreter. What gentle reader I ask you gets in the way of listening to your deepest truth? Why are we in Ireland so restricted and enslaved to the approval and opinion of what others might think ? Is life about getting through, “Ah well I am surviving” is often the answer to the question “How are you these days?” Wouldn’t it be great to answer “I am thriving”? I ask you, is that why you were born, to survive?

 

Perhaps we are afraid to admit that we are thriving in case some evil befalls us. Maybe we are afraid of what the reaction would be from our colleagues. We forget that it is our precious life that is at stake here, and as far as the opinion of our others is concerned, we are a one minute wonder or perhaps two minutes at best! Might I humbly suggest that we are of more assistance to humanity if we are thriving and are able to give from our abundance rather than out of guilt or a wish to be praised for doing so? Acting from what we can freely give means our yes means yes and our no offers someone else an opportunity to give.

 

When and if we discover our particular gift what prevents us from giving it?  In his brilliant book “Wild Mind” Bill Plotkin outlines his Nature Based Map of the Human Psyche where he suggests a way of exploring our great resources and our undeveloped parts. He terms our hidden resources the four facets of the self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness. He notes that wisdom traditions from around the world have looked to nature’s seven directions for a model of wholeness: north, south, east, west, up, down, and centre. He contends that the four cardinal directions are the four facets of our innate human potential, and that they also reflect the qualities of the natural world which we observe in the four seasons  and the four times of the day, dawn, noon, evening and night.

Wholing is the foundation for true healing he tells us and he wonders if common difficulties that humankind experience, such as anxiety, depression, phobias and personality disorders are not necessarily problems in themselves “perhaps we exhibit psychological symptoms not so much because we’re disordered but because we’re deficient in an embodiment of wellness or wholeness” He suggests that the way forward is to cultivate our human wholeness and learn to embrace our fragmented sub-personalities that are created during childhood.

 

I want to briefly summarise the four facets he speaks about. The North he refers to the Nurturing Generative Adult, where our calling is to care for ourselves, others and the universe. Qualities found in the human who is well developed in this direction include: intelligence, leadership, competence, endurance and strength. The darker side of this facet include behaviours which make us small, invisible or limited. We tend to play safe and run the risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and despair.

 

Innocence, clear mindness, light-heartedness, and extroversion are all qualities of the East Facet while arrested development, social isolation, ruined relationships are indicators of  the under developed aspects of our personality. Addictions, alcoholism, gambling, over working are some of the ways people act out when they refuse to face their deep pain.

 

The Wild Indigenous One is the name given to the South Facet of Self. This dimension of our wholeness reminds us or our unconditional belonging to the world, our native kinship and interdependence with every other creative place and thing on the earth. The sub personality of this area manifest when we try to get our basic needs met in immature emotional ways. So often we humans refuse to own our anger, fear or sadness even though they are the arms and legs of our emotional wellbeing.

This is often due to unfortunate experiences while growing up and the child makes a pact with themselves that they will not inflict on their and others what they have had to suffer. What the child is unable to understand is that unhealthy parts of these emotions is how they are abused. For example anger is a powerful emotion which helps us to stand up for ourselves, or another, or the universe but burying it or acting it out, can often result in extreme violence towards others or turned in on ourselves culminating in deep depression or suicide. Owning, feeling and using our emotions creatively results in healthier relationships with oneself, others and empowers me to do the work of my soul in a life giving and enjoyable way.

 

The west facet invites us to tap into our astonishing personal resources and gifts. Imagination is the way of knowing fostered in this facet, it is the primary resource for recognizing the emerging future, and the possibility of creating a better world. Plotkin says “we would be much healthier if we could regularly imagine the impossible, be open to surprise, and unexpected discovery, and change course on a dime, especially when something alluring crosses our path”

 

The west sub personalities try to keep us safe by getting us to repress our inconceivable characteristics and desires. Carl Yung’s “The Shadow” shows up in this facet of self, but Plotkin suggests that our shadow can be a powerful resource in completing our adult personality. If we could for instance cultivate our wild natural self instead of unconsciously acting it out, if our leaders could acknowledge the “evil” in themselves as opposed to projecting it onto the other, then our world might be a healthier place.

 

Our shadow, the part which is repressed and we are not conscious of, could actually contain our deepest passion and might include the desire to do a different job, to dance, to sing, to teach, to do something which was repressed as a child in the interest of peace and harmony. Accessing it now would be such a gift to the world and to ourselves. It would insure that we do not die an unlived life!

 

Thank you fellow soul and pilgrim for reading this far. I see part of my soul gift at this time in history as facilitating people in discerning their unique gift to this world, encouraging them to find a way to deliver this gift. I plan to devote eight days during 2017, two consecutive ones each season to explore Plotkin’s intrapersonal view of the self and the subpersonalities. The plan is to identify the wounds which prevent humans from realising their gift and introducing them to practices which they can do in the pursuit of healing and wholeness. Details of dates and more information can be found on my web site.

No longer playing small and being safe, imagining what might be, releasing the well of joy within and freeing our feeling and emotions are all possibilities,  paving the way for your light to shine . Mary Oliver has this to say in her powerful poem The Journey “and there was a new voice , which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do , determined to save the only life that you could save.”

 

May you hear that voice and do what you must to offer your gift to the world.