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Image-Photo of Chaos by Daniele Levis Pelusi

(photo illustration by Daniele Levis Pelusi via Unsplash)

Chaos Is Good News for Seekers

by CSW Director Rob Field

When you're in the middle of a crisis, it's hard to figure out what the heck is going on. Are we now entering a new era of history due to the coronavirus pandemic? Or are we just biding our time, waiting until everything returns to "normal"?

If I knew the answer to this question, I would gladly share it with you. I honestly don't know. Yet here's one thing I can affirm with deep conviction: chaos is good for your soul. I'll be quick to add that chaos is also unsettling and frequently disturbing. But these qualities are not incompatible with a more vibrant spirituality. In fact, chaos can wake us up and shatter our illusions — both hallmarks of inner growth.

The traditions that help us grow spiritually are the ones that offer encouragement when uncertainty and fear arise. Afflictive emotions can trick us into thinking that, somehow, we've lost our way. "If I'm feeling these things," we might say, "then I must be on the wrong path."

The greatest religious traditions, however, are the ones that say the path to enlightenment is whatever is happening right now — even when it includes chaos, fear, or suffering. Our growth is deepest when it includes the very things we'd rather not face.

If you're looking for companionship to face some difficult things in your life, the Center is here for you. Sign up for our upcoming Using the Enneagram as a Spiritual Practice series. Join our soon-to-be-launched Reel Spirit Film ProjectContact me for a no-cost spiritual companioning session online or over the phone. And participate in our free "Coronavirus as Wisdom Teacher" webcast, coming this summer. Together, we can help each other discover that chaos and confusion are fertile ground for spiritual growth.

Using the Enneagram as a Spiritual Practice:

Online Learning Series Begins June 23

You've had a basic introduction to the Enneagram, and you've got "your number." Now what? We suggest learning to use it as a tool for spiritual growth.

Join Paula Benton and Rob Field for an online group learning series that will show you how to use the Enneagram to reconnect with your soul — in all its depth, complexity, and beauty. The series will meet June 23 through July 28 during six weekly sessions. The day and time will be Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., using Zoom video conferencing (a secure, user-friendly platform). Cost is $195 per person, which includes your own copy of Don Riso and Russ Hudson's The Wisdom of the Enneagram.
Although many people know the Enneagram as a personality typing system, few have learned to use it as a tool for spiritual growth — which is its original purpose. When Center for Spiritual Wisdom recently asked participants which program most interested them, this offering ranked the highest.  

Topics for this series will include 9 Levels of Development, the Other Enneagrams (passions, fears, gifts, virtues), the 9 Red Flags & Wake-Up Calls, the Inner Observer, and Using Your Wings & Arrows. Each session will include a check-in time, teaching by the facilitators, and invitations for reflection through weekly questions. If they wish, participants will be given the opportunity to apply their learnings by sharing a real-life application and receiving the wisdom of the group.

For this intermediate-level offering, basic knowledge of the Enneagram and one's own Enneatype are assumed. Resources will be made available to participants prior to June 23rd to help them confirm their Enneatype ("home number") and review basic information.

Paula Benton and CSW Director Rob Field, both spiritual directors, have been learning about and teaching the Enneagram for decades. Together and separately, they have led dozens of Enneagram workshops, seminars, and retreats.

Participation will be limited to insure a quality group experience, and registrations are now being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Use THIS LINK to register and pay online. Use our CONTACT FORM to receive further information.


Reel Spirit Movie Project Coming in August!

We checked in with our community about a spirituality-focused film program and received enthusiastic feedback. We are almost ready to roll (pun intended). In late August the Center will launch the Reel Spirit Film Project. This monthly program is intended to spark meaningful discourse via films that delve into the religious, social, spiritual, and/or mystical dimensions of our human experience.

The format of the program promises to be both evocative and engaging. Since we are still practicing social distancing due to COVID-19, participants will begin by viewing the selected film on their own. We will then follow with a scheduled 2-hour facilitated discussion, which the Center will lead and host electronically through Zoom video conferencing. Special guest speakers may be invited to bring depth and insight to the discussion.

The inaugural film will be “Dead Man Walking” (1996), starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, and directed by Tim Robbins. This film explores the dichotomy of retributive vs. restorative justice through the lenses of a nun and a death row inmate, examining both the promise and limitations of various institutions (you can find a fuller synopsis of the movie on IMDB).

Further details will be provided soon through the CSW web site and July E-News. Meanwhile you may ask questions or express your interest in participating in this premier event using our CONTACT FORM.


Coming Soon: Coronavirus as Wisdom Teacher

The coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic apparently will be with us through this year and well into 2021. Although some people see it as a once-a-century plague fully explainable by science and global development, others are beginning to think of the pandemic as an opportunity to explore deeper truths about ourselves, our communities, and our world. Might we even go so far as to say the coronavirus is, paradoxically, a teacher of wisdom?

CSW is organizing a free one-time webinar to explore this subject. We will feature a panel of presenters from the region, each of whom will make brief presentations on the subject from their particular perspective. There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions and hear answers from the panel. The event will happen some time in June or July, so watch the Center's web site for updates.
(photo by Brian McGowan via Unsplash)

Meet Dr. Christine King, CSW Associate

Our soon-to-be-launched new web site will include a page introducing you to our staff and associates. Starting with this edition, each month's CSW E-News will profile one of our staff members or associates. This month, we're proud to introduce you to Dr. Christine King. Some of you know her through her involvement in several of our Enneagram offerings.

Here's Christine's bio:

Dr. Christine King lived and worked throughout Asia and Europe, consulting with international teams and global academic programs for the University of Maryland. She directed a Leadership Development graduate program for more than twenty years. Christine now lives in Mills River, NC, on a small farm, the home of her consulting work, Fresh Perceptions.

She is the author of Choosing Compassion: The Enneagram’s Nine Pathways. Christine draws upon the Enneagram to support organizations, teams, and families.

Christine says, "As we navigate the Covid-19 global crisis, the Enneagram can help us access our resilience, intuitive wisdom and unique strengths. When grounded in our Enneagram ‘home-base’ we have access to the well-being of all the other types. We all need that now, more than ever!"

Contact Christine through her personal web site or Fresh Perceptions

Our friends Teri Goodall-Komar (left) and Denis Bolena share a moment at the Center's 2019 fundraiser. Teri and Denis support Center for Spiritual Wisdom because they believe what we do makes a difference for individuals and our community. If you agree, please consider becoming a monthly donor to help keep our doors open during this time of challenge. It's easy to use a debit or credit card to give $25, $50, $100 or more per month. CLICK HERE to set up a plan that works for you or to make a one-time donation. THANK YOU to all who support CSW!
   (photo courtesy of Kathy King Photography
Copyright © 2020 Center for Spiritual Wisdom, All rights reserved.

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