Deep Writing: Excavating the Inner Life
With Cheryl Johnson and Tim Oberholzer
November 13 - 17, 2023
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.
from “Digging” by Seamus Heaney
We are archaeological sites. Personal artifacts buried in the rich humus of our lives long to tell their stories. These objects are sacred vessels, “tools” for listening, witnessing, and healing. Artifacts preserve “moments” and invite us below the surface where truth lies. Like archaeologists, we will dust off our objects and with our trowels of creative seeing, record, restore, and redeem them.
Writing will be our “digging” practice. We’ll show up and see what we uncover. You don’t need to be “a writer” to attend this retreat. So, let go of that lizard on your shoulder and get ready to go on “a dig” with us!
Each morning we will focus on a different object in a workshop. Afternoons are spacious, giving you time to breathe, write, and explore. In the evenings, we gather in “salon” and continue the discovery process archaeologists (with pens) use; we will excavate words and stories.
Now that I’m retired from teaching, when someone asks, what do you do? I answer, Write, as a spiritual practice. The reaction is usually, Oh, you’re a writer then. Yes and no. I don’t write for tenure now, or my name in lights. I contemplate world and word, waiting for a spark to light and invite the experience of awakening. For me, writing seeks to engage a deeper current in life, not just the horizontal hubbub, but a vertical exchange that informs it even when the ember seems buried deep in ashes. I seek to honor the mystery of Creation,…
Learn more about Cheryl Johnson
Tim Oberholzer directs Spirit Center, coordinates facilitated retreats, and is a spiritual director. Tim spent five and a half years as a Trappist monk at New Melleray Abbey in Peosta, Iowa. Deep prayer and reflection led him to leave the community prior to making solemn profession. He moved to Idaho to be closer to his parents, discovering the Monastery of St. Gertrude through a job posting for the innkeeper position at the Inn at St. Gertrude. Tim earned a business degree from the University of Notre Dame, studied philosophy and theology at the University of St. Thomas, and completed the…
Learn more about Tim Oberholzer