On June 30th, 40 "Couragers" (people who have been a part of Courage & Renewal Circles of Trust) celebrated 18 years of Courage work in Vermont. We reflected, connected and rekindled our own and our collective courage. The day was spent in retreat and the evening was spent in celebration ~ bringing together the heart of this work: deep listening and connecting in community.
On June 30th, we will be holding our first day-long Courage Reunion Retreat at Bishop Booth Conference Center in Burlington, Vermont, inviting back everyone who has been in a Circle of Trust retreat over the past 18 years in Vermont. The day will include reflection, small group sharing, time on the land and in community, inviting us to pause and align our inner voices with our outer lives. In the spirit of this gathering, we share three voices of participants over the years as they reflect on the impact of their Circle of Trust experiences:
Each day is a series of exchanges - as the dawn enters the window, animals ask to be fed, messages arrive in your inbox and greetings happen as you step into your day - with family, in community, with people ahead of you in the check out line or simply pass by...
There are named relationships - co-workers, care-givers, teachers, public officials - as well as random relationships as we come together by chance. The quality of the exchange, interaction or shared story create the fabric of our lives.
Our lives are filled with mentors and mentees as we apprentice ourselves to living wholeheartedly. My mentor to become a Courage & Renewal Facilitator, Debbie Stanley, taught me not only about holding space as a facilitator, but how to Live Courage in all aspects of life. As Debbie enters into a new chapter of life as a grandmother, she continues to "turn to wonder" and shares her story with us here. May we each apprentice ourselves to wonder, trust, and deep listening throughout our lives. With gratitude to all our intergenerational teachers, Holly
Deryka Nairne is a student life professional at Goucher College in Maryland. In 2015, as a graduate student at the University of Vermont's (UVM), Deryka worked with Holly Wilkinson to bring courage work to college students. They recently co-authored an article, "What's Love Got to Do with It?" in The Vermont Connection Journal about the importance of the inner journey of self-love in the academy. Photo: Holly's Courage mentor, Debbie Stanley, and Holly's graduate school mentee: Deryka Nairne, at Holly's first Circle of Trust in spring 2015. Living wholeheartedly is part of the gifts of these two women.
I host a monthly coffee house in a small rural town in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s an intergenerational space, we always have performers and an audience that range from teenagers to people in their sixties and everything in between, and it is not uncommon to see that age range extended on both ends. It’s a very generous and welcoming space and all performers receive appreciations and acknowledgement regardless of abilities, experience or style. It’s always heartening, during the intermission, and see these generations mingling in this informal space.