At the Water’s Edge: The Sacred Space of Transition

March 11 @ 3:00 pm - March 13 @ 11:30 am

At the water's edge retreat

At the still point of the turning world, neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is. ~ T.S. Elliot

Our lives are punctuated by spaces of transition. Often we want to rush through these changes to get to the ‘other side’, wherever that is. We don’t want to linger in letting go of what has been while we race toward the next chapter because that might slow us down. We resist the in-between time, which can make us feel ungrounded and lost.

What if these unsettling movements through transition are the sacred spaces that restore us to ourselves, and form us for the next part of the journey? Whatever transition you are experiencing right now the Spirit is on the move with you. Your work at this time is holy work in sacred space.

Transition is an engagement, an invitation even, to come closer to your true self. It includes grief and confusion, very often significant loss, but it promises joy and discovery and even hope.

Water’s Edge Outline:
At the Edge: What brings you to the edge of transition? Using imagery of standing on the shore we let contemplative practice illuminate the edges for us.
The Shallows: We ponder both our response to the invitation into change and the landscape of the beginnings of change. Do we wade right in or hesitate?
Deep Water: In this part of our journey we are far from the beginning and far from the shoreline. Here is a space of danger (like the disciples in the storm on the lake) and the place of conversion (such as when Jesus invites the disciples to cast their nets into the deep water). Our contemplative practice helps us ponder what is happening for us in the deep water.
Far Shore: The far shore invites us onward. We cannot stay in deep water for too long, nor can we return to our beginnings. Nothing is static. We ponder what the far shore means to us.
Closing: Transition as sacred space is about coming home to yourself and recognizing that each part of the journey is holy because you are there and God is with you.

We will use contemplative practices like meditation, journaling and art expressions to deepen the sense of sacred space while we journey together. There will be periods of silence during this weekend retreat. Check-in begins at 3pm and the retreat will begin after dinner. Guided by Debra Donnelly-Barton.

Debra Donnelly-Barton, MA, is the Executive Director of the Center for Spiritual Development and is a seminary trained Spiritual Director with over 25 years of experience. She has studied at Stillpoint, Sewanee, University of the South and General Theological Seminary in New York. Her Master’s degree in Theology is from the Ecumenical Institute, St. Mary’s Seminary and University. Debra has led pilgrimages, workshops and retreats across the country, in many Episcopal dioceses, and for several Christian denominations. Debra has a private practice in Spiritual Direction, which informs all her ministries, emphasizing deep listening with others for whispers of the Spirit. Debra has written for the journal Presence, and recorded guided meditations Souls Illuminated by Light with a printed leader’s guide for Morehouse Publishing. Her website is

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Event Details

Start: March 11 @ 3:00 pm
End: March 13 @ 11:30 am
Cost: $260
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Debra Donnelly-Barton

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