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A Day of Storytelling: A Lifestory Retreat at The Hearth

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A Lifestory Retreat

As flowers bloom and birds soar from tree to tree in the calming landscape of Greensprings, people gather to listen to one another and tell their stories.

Saturday, June 1 the Hearth will host a Lifestory Retreat to help participants dig into their lives and better tell their stories. Retreat Leader and Founder Mark Yaconelli says the retreat provides participants with the chance to listen and be apart of one another’s experiences. The goal of the retreat is to instill one of the greatest gifts one can give to another: a listening ear and understanding.

“We’re living through a time of increased polarization and division,” he says. “A time of increased loneliness and technological isolation. Recent studies show that our capacity for empathy is lacking. One of the ways you bridge divisions and cultivate compassion is by sitting face to face and sharing your story.”

As the leader, Yaconelli will facilitate reflective exercises to help everyone to dig into their past experiences. “We’ll also engage in a variety of listening exercises to help people recall what it means to really hear another person. And then most of the day will be sharing life stories in small groups,” he explains. “My role as the retreat leader is first of all to help everyone take a deep breath and let themselves slow down, take in the world around them, take in their own life, feel the goodness of being with other people who are struggling in the same direction.”

He plans for participants to learn how to reflect on their own experiences and to appreciate the experiences of others, as well as their openness to share their stories. He considers a part of this retreat as “sacred leisure.” He adds the advantage of having the retreat at Greensprings is the beautiful outdoors the location offers. Near the end of the day, participants will get 30 minutes to tell their story to a small group. Yaconelli says participants are often hesitant at the length of time, afraid it’ll be too long for their story, but by the end of the 30 minutes the speaker has usually shared an abundance of experiences.

Yaconelli says, “One of the greatest gifts we can give one another is a good question and a patient, listening ear.” A Lifestory Retreat will give participants just that, a time of reflection, listening, and storytelling.

A Lifestory Retreat
9 am – 4 pm, Saturday, June 1
The Oregon Extension Greensprings, 15097 OR-66, Ashland



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