Braiding Sweetgrass: A Half-Day Retreat

with Cynthia Trone & Kendra Arey
Saturday, September 25, 9 a.m. to noon
Merryspring Nature Center, Camden
Space is limited! 
“How, in our modern world, can we find our way to understand the Earth as a gift again, to make our relations with the world sacred again?”  Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Join us for a morning of deep connection to nature, ourselves, and each other. Together in practice, we will explore questions such as: How does the natural world speak to us? What is it telling us? Can we slow down enough, and be silent enough, to hear the sweet wisdom of the Earth?
Gently led by Kendra and Cynthia, this outdoor retreat will be an opportunity to explore and honor our connection to the Earth in quiet stillness. Readings from Braiding Sweetgrass will inspire our time together as we open our hearts, minds, and senses to the natural world all around. We will enjoy guided meditations, where the breezes and fall gardens at Merryspring Nature Center will remind us of our sacred responsibility as stewards of this fragile planet.There will be invitations to creatively express your experience through writing, drawing, and/or photography.
Robin Wall Kimmerer is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. She is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.
Note: Braiding Sweetgrass is not required reading to participate.
What to bring: Please bring a blanket or yoga mat/cushion to sit on, paper and pencil (colored pencils if you like to draw!), snack, and water. Bring a mask. Wear layers for changing temperatures and bring a rain jacket/wind breaker. Optional: bring a camera if you’d like to take photographs as we explore our creativity in nature.
The retreat is on rain or shine. There is a gazebo outdoors for cover, if needed.
Level: All are welcome.
Registration: Kindly complete payment below or contact Rachel at [email protected] to register and discuss other payment options. Donations in any amount are graciously appreciated. In addition to online payment, you may send a check. Please register by email first and request mailing address. Thank you!
Suggested donation
If you are able to pay the full amount, you will help someone else participate. Thank you!
About the Facilitators
Kendra Arey is an artist, teacher, and Buddhist practitioner. In 2015, she started the local recovery group that is now known as Rockland Recovery Dharma. In 2018, Kendra traveled to Dharamshala, India to study Tibetan thangka painting at the Center for Living Buddhist Art. During this time Kendra completed a thangka painting of the Bodhisattva Manjushri and deepened her appreciation and understanding of sacred Buddhist art. Kendra completed her Masters in Art Therapy at Lesley University in 2021, and she worked as a school-based clinical intern with Sweetser. Kendra is also the Recovery in Maine Coordinator at Points North Institute, where she works to engage communities in conversations around Maine's opioid epidemic.
Cynthia Trone earned her Master’s Degree in Mindfulness Studies from Lesley University in 2017. Her work focuses on the connection of ancient wisdom to modern crises. In 2016, Cynthia travelled to Tibet to better understand the oppression and culture of Tibetan Buddhism, and in 2017, she attended the Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra teachings in Bodhgaya, India. She coordinated the Sacred Art Tour’s visits to Maine in 2018 and 2019 and looks forward to welcoming the monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in Mundgod, India back to midcoast Maine again in the future.
The Dancing Elephant is by donation so that everyone can participate. Donations in any amount are graciously appreciated.

Broken Bowl Workshop

with Barbara Davis
Saturday, October 23, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Via Zoom. Link provided with registration.
Registration required by October 1st.
What does a broken bowl have to do with grief? What does impermanence mean to you?
There have been many losses these past two years - loss of health, loss of safety, loss of community. When we experience loss, we may feel as if our lives have been shattered. Broken. We may fear we will never feel whole again. Repairing and reassembling a broken bowl is a metaphor for rebuilding our lives.
Join us for a day of creativity and connection in support of your personal healing journey. Whether you are experiencing a specific loss, rebuilding your life, or looking for support through creativity, this workshop is for you. Based on the Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi (the practice of repairing broken bowls) and Wabi-Sabi (the Japanese aesthetic of embracing imperfection and impermanence), we will work with the bowl as a metaphor and container for our own grief, healing, and personal growth. At the beginning of our journey together, we won’t know what our repaired bowl will look like but with time and care, the pieces will come together to create something new. Something similar to the original version but different. Something beautiful.
In addition to working with the bowl, the workshop will include guided meditation, written reflection, and sharing. 
Level: All levels of creativity and experience are welcome! Previous art and meditation experience is NOT needed.
Registration: Required by October 1, 2021 so that materials everyone can get materials in time. Please contact [email protected] or 207-706-6485 for more information and to register. 
Suggested donation: $125 payable via check or Paypal directly to Barbara Davis. If you need financial assistance, please inquire. Cost includes necessary materials (e.g. bowl and adhesive). Depending on your location, Barbara will either mail you these supplies or make arrangements for drop off/pick up. You will also be responsible for providing a few supplies of your own (e.g. acrylic paint and small hammer). Supply list will be sent with registration confirmation. 

Barbara Davis is an artist, nature lover, skier, hiker, swimmer, and psychotherapist. She has facilitated expressive arts workshops for five years. Barbara has a Masters Degree in Social Work and in the Fine Arts. A practicing psychotherapist for over 25 years, Barbara integrates Mind-Body Medicine and Expressive Arts Therapy into her work with clients.  (Photo credit: Amy Wilton Photography)

The Dancing Elephant is pleased to facilitate Expressive Arts programs to support personal and collective healing. Offerings may include movement, visual arts, sound experiences, and writing. While participating in expressive arts can provide a therapeutic benefit, it is not therapy. Our goal is to provide a supportive environment, and we invite participants to engage in ways that feel appropriate and to ask for help when needed. The facilitators welcome questions and feedback anytime.