Summer Heart of HealingSelf-Guided Retreat
Welcome to an individual spiritual retreat designed by Janith Griffith, Licensed Unity Leader.
There are 7 themes for you to work through at your leisure. You can do a theme each day as a “daily word” or one each week to take you through the summer. Each theme will have activities to do plus references to New Thought music on YouTube. I encourage you to sing along with these and add the joy of music to your experience. Enjoy!
Blessings on the Journey, Janith
Download the Retreat Guide or keep scrolling to find it below.
UCR has beautiful booklets available to give you additional readings for each theme. You can order these online or pick them up at UnityCR for a love offering. Ruth is in the office Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and will gladly bring the pamphlets to you at the door. Just give her a call! 319-393-5422. We will also provide contact-free delivery!
- 30 Days to Fearless Living
- Worthy: LGBTQ Stories of Overcoming Rejection and Religion to Find Faith,
- The Heart of Healing
I encourage you to create an altar or spiritual space where you will work on each of the retreat themes. Start each study with Karen Drucker’s song, “I Start This Day”. Each theme will have some form of each of the following:
- Thoughts on the chosen theme
- Activities: art, contemplative walk, photography, writing, music
- Centering prayer, moving meditation, guided visualization
- Affirmative blessing
#1- Fearless Living
1 John 4:18 (The Message) MSG There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear.
The year 2020 has been challenging thus far with politics, the pandemic, grief, protests, and violence, to name just a few. Fear seems to be all around us every day. It might be a minor fear of sleeping through the alarm and being late for an important zoom meeting, fear of the latest gunfire only blocks away, or the invisible fear of the Covid-19 virus.
Revealing Word by Charles Fillmore says, “Fear throws dust in our eyes and hides the mighty spiritual forces that are always with us.”
One way to help us clear that dust and see clearly (2020 vision) is to practice Unity’s Third Principle that says I think positive thoughts to direct my life.
❖ An exercise to help you be aware of negative thoughts is to write them in a list titled “what is keeping me from living fearlessly.” Beside each negative statement or thought (denial) change it to a positive one (affirmation). Each time the negative thought comes to you repeat your positive statement. Those spiritual forces are always with us…love, peace, faith, wisdom…and illuminate any darkness to dispel all fears.
❖ Example: (Denial) I am so afraid of getting Covid that I never leave my house. (Affirmation) I listen to scientific healthcare information and follow all the guidelines to keep myself as safe as possible. I wash my hands, wear my mask, avoid large crowds, eat well, sleep well, and get fresh air out in nature every day.
Now it is your turn to write out or state some of your own denials and affirmations.
In my readings I found that centuries ago people would draw a circle around themselves to create a safe place for meditation as when they went out in the desert to meditate or often before going into battle. Their shields were often round to emphasize and remind them of this protection. Some had circular prayers written on the inside. Do you see any similarities to the circles drawn in the parks today or in outdoor restaurants emphasizing the 6 foot “safe circle of protection”?
❖ Encircling Exercise – Stand outdoors or inside your home. Use your gift of Imagination to draw a circle around yourself. Slowly turn in each direction and note the beautiful and safe parts of your world. Photograph them with your phone. Enlarge your circle with each turn to include your neighbors, your community, the world. Call forth into your circle peace, protection, and love for all.
❖ Pray or write a circle prayer knowing that Divine Spirit is above, below, all around, and within each person. What will you include in your prayer? What encircles you in love?
❖ Repeat the Prayer for Protection knowing all is well all around you.
#2-I Am Worthy (Compassion/Community Blessing/Kindness)
Romans 13:9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
June is a month to think about diversity. It is Pride Month and also the month that Junteenth is celebrated. The news is full of ways to support both LGBTQ individuals and African Americans. But “what next? How do I do that?” It is truly difficult to love a neighbor you do not know or understand. Perhaps you don’t know any LGBTQ people or any African Americans that you can sit down and chat with over coffee. What then?
As James Baldwin said, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
❖ Read the stories of everyday Unity people in the booklet Worthy available from UnityCR or UWM for more understanding of the LGBTQ community.
❖ Read about the Stonewall Riots and the killings at the Pulse Bar.
❖ In the past years many UCR people participated in a booth at PrideFest to share the principles of a welcoming church. That celebration was cancelled this year because of the pandemic but CRPride offers many ways to connect with the
community via Facebook. Check it out.
❖ Read about Junteenth and other parts of “withheld” history such as Black Wall Street and watch the movies Just Mercy and 13th free via Netflix for better understanding of centuries old foundations of social injustice.
❖ Support gay and black owned businesses.
❖ Visit the African American Museum.
Galatians 5:22-24 The Message (MSG)
22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Affirmations: I realize that there are more similarities than differences between myself and others. My compassion flows as I see myself in others.
Music: How Could Anyone Ever Tell You? Sung by Shaina Noll
Same song sung by Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus done with sign language gives you a movement prayer along with singing. Both beautiful!
#3 – Self Care
The airline instruction, “put your own oxygen mask on first…” is important in every aspect of life. Proper self-care is what helps us get enough rest, get dressed each day, eat good food, and be able to help offer loving kindness and care to others. All the basic physical things also have a mind and spirit foundation to support them.
I saw the diagram below by D J Funn on Facebook and realized how many challenges there are today to good self-care.
At the center of all that is ME! How do I truly “center” myself in the midst of today’s events?
❖ Centering Prayer – sit comfortably with your feet on the floor to balance and connect you with Mother Earth. Take 3 deep breaths to quiet yourself. As you sit in this quiet meditative space use your breath to keep you centered. Pick a word that you silently pray with each inhale and exhale. It can be the same word…peace…or a different word for each inhale and exhale. I breath in love and I exhale anger. I breath in joy and exhale sadness. Pick words that express where you are at this moment. As your mind wanders return to the words with each breath and feel yourself becoming quiet,
connected, and centered.
❖ Put on your favorite music, turn it up, and dance right there in your living room or kitchen. A Chinook prayer says, “May all creation dance for joy within you.” May this be so.
❖ Rumi says, “The soul is on earth for its own delight.” Be kind to yourself, tell yourself you are fun, musical, beautiful, and a delight to be with today! A fun project is to write love notes on sticky notes and put them here and there all over the house. My favorite is to put “Good Morning Beautiful/Handsome!” on my bathroom mirror. When I wake up all sleepy with bed hair it always makes me smile!
When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me.
#4 – Spiritual Gifts
Let the beauty you love be what you do. -Rumi
I love this thought by Rumi. How often I worked with spiritual gift checklists trying to place all the things I love into the right category and then wondering if they were spiritual enough? Each person is unique and has their own things that speak to them. These are seen by others as we share those qualities and gifts. Some of us like music and art, some love gardening, or sports, some running or fishing, some just being quiet or out in nature. You will know your own spiritual gifts by what gives you inner joy.
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians below talks about spiritual gifts:
1 Corinthians 12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
What I want to talk about now is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn’t know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It’s different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can.
Unity teaches us that we have 12 gifts from God that we call 12 Powers. They are life, release or forgiveness, order, strength, wisdom, love, power, zeal, imagination, understanding, will, and faith. They are there within us and we call on them often without thinking every day. They help to shape our thoughts and actions and the gifts we have within us to share. Even when you tell yourself you may not have any spiritual gifts, take time to sit quietly and think deeper about what unique qualities and gifts you do truly have.
❖ Think back over your day-what power or gift from God did you use today? Choose your gifts and offer gratitude in your prayers for those gifts.
❖ What are things you love to do each week? Write them down. What power or gift do you see in each of these things? Example-running, Gift-health, breathing freely, flexibility, strength, charity marathons, hurrying to help someone in need. Another example is gardening. Gift-nurturing a seed or plant, providing joy and color for your own surroundings and for those who pass by and see the plants, enjoying outdoors and sunshine.
❖ If a new idea keeps nudging you to try a new hobby, just give it a try…it might be a spiritual gift in disguise!
My spiritual gifts are: (write them down!)
“I am giving permission to myself to allow my light, my gifts, and my love to shine forth.” -Karen
New doorways to good are now opening before me. -Daily Word
Music: – Blessing to the World-Karen Drucker
#5-Growth (Breath of Life)
It is now summer, and we see the evidence of nature’s growth all around us. As the song shared by Nina recently Inch by Inch by David Mallett said, we plant seeds and inch by inch watch our garden grow. Many things help the process…seasons, climate, wind, rain, and sunshine all are necessary for the seeds to mature.
We humans also start as a tiny seed. Within our Mother’s body we have all the things we need to grow the first 9 months. As we come into the world, we are awakened by ruah, the breath, the spirit of God, and are indeed transformed also into a child of God. Along our life journey many things help us grow to maturity. One essential thing among others is the
continuance of the original breath of God. We must be able to breath to continue to live. Nature provides the oxygen just as we provide carbon dioxide for the trees and plants to continue to live. We must live in harmony for us all to survive. Within our bodies the heart and lungs work together to purify the oxygen and then to pump the oxygen to each tiny cell.
We are indeed a miracle of God as much as each tiny growing thing is on our planet.
Charles Fillmore tells us “words are also seeds and when dropped into the invisible spiritual substance they grow and bring forth after their kind.” We have the growth of plants strangled by the weeds of harsh words or the pelting of hail or
torrents of stormy words during a conversation. How different the growth when words are accompanied by a bright sunny smile and the whole substance around a relationship is caressed by a sprinkling of kind, loving words.
❖ Carry these thoughts with you on a contemplative nature walk. Collect nature items to bring home to create a meditative nature mandala. (blossom petals, leaves, stones, pinecones). Arrange them slowly in your indoor or outdoor spiritual space and see the beautiful order peaceful thoughts create.
❖ Meditate by drawing a mandala and filling the circles with nature designs such as flowers, leaves, and stones or fill the spaces with beautiful “seed words.” You can google how to draw mandalas online. One easy site is Andi Lewis’ directions on the Prairiewoods blog dated April 22, 2020. Using simple items like coins, glasses, different size plates and bowls for your circles without getting out a compass!
Psalm 97 The Message (MSG)
Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. We cherish the gift of our breath which maintains our life and gives us ever more opportunity to grow.
Take a deep breath as you read this quote from Anais Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Affirmation: I am unique and ready to blossom. Daily Word
Colossians 3:15-17 The Message (MSG)
Cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Just listen in this scripture to all the ways to show thankfulness each day. I remember in November 2019 when many congregants formed “gratitude groups” and sent a text each morning to their group members of things they were thankful for that morning…even before the day had begun! It was never hard to think of several things to share.
Today the news often starts our days with many negative thoughts that may crowd out the positives.
❖ Listen to or read news only to be wisely informed but not so much that it changes your thinking to denials & negatives that crowd out the affirmative gratitude in your day.
❖ Rewrite the headlines. For example: “People are crowding together without masks and the illness and death tolls are climbing.” To “I listen to scientists and health care workers, not politicians, and follow guidelines to keep myself and those I love safe.”
❖ Look around you. Be aware of all the gratitude in your life. Make a habit of writing them down each day or just saying them aloud each morning and evening…”I am grateful for…”
❖ Start a gratitude journal that you write in each morning and evening
❖ Consider joining with a friend or family member to share your daily gratitude using a text message or a voice message
Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.”
Affirmation for gratefulness:
I share my gratitude through loving acts of service and kind
uplifting words. – Daily Word
In Unity we are taught that health is our natural state in the mind of god, and we accept that wholeness as our true identity. At the same time, we know that healing is an inner experience. Whenever I think about healing and transformation, I think about the growth stages from insect egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly. The egg hatches into the caterpillar who stuffs himself full to bursting with every leaf, every experience he can find. Now he can
no longer hold anything more and is forced to spin a safe place to rest.
How often do we fill our minds to the point of exhaustion and wish for a quiet place to rest and meditate…our own private chrysalis? We long to cocoon away from the world to move our thinking to a oneness with god. We then can spend time saying I am whole, I am peaceful, I am free. Healing is my inner experience… Daily Word.
❖ Turn off loud noises, daily news, etc. and find a quiet place to just be. Wrap up in a
comfy, soft piece of clothing, shawl, or blankie to make yourself into a cocoon.
❖ Breath deeply and into this space say softly I am whole, I am peaceful, I am free. Be
patient as these words infuse your whole being and do their healing work. Repeat
❖ Let go of damaging negative thoughts. Practice letting go. Become a new you. What
the caterpillar thought of as death, the butterfly knew was transformation into new life.
❖ Google labyrinths and follow the pathways on several virtual labyrinths on your
❖ Print a labyrinth design from the computer and use it as a finger labyrinth, to write
affirmative words in the spiral to lead you to healing.
❖ Walk an outdoor labyrinth. You can google sights in our area. There is a small one on
top of the hill behind Regis School, a large one at Prairiewoods, and a beautiful one at
Taylor School playground designed and painted by Lynda Black-Smith. This is a great tool
for transformation as you leave old thoughts at the entrance and take time to journey
awakening in the center. Carry that transformation back with you as you re- enter the
Psalm 36:9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
Break forth, transform, let YOUR light shine brightly on the journey, my friends.
Music – by Karen Drucker:
- Healed Whole and Healthy
- The Healing Song (Joy fills every cell in my body!)
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
beyond measure. It is our LIGHT not our Darkness that most frightens us.