Benches…

Aoradh have been planning some installations to coincide with Cowalfest (walking festival) and the MOD (annual festival of Gaelic culture held in a different place in Scotland each year) both which will run in Dunoon over the next couple of weeks.

We have decided to use benches along a 1-2 mile stretch of coastline. Each bench will have a piece of poetry, scripture or an activity to help with meditation.

As ever, we are leaving everything until the last minute, but if you are in Dunoon over the next couple of weeks we really hope you enjoy the things we are creating.

Pucks glen meditation trail…

Today we spent much of the day setting up things for this trail- which is Aoradh’s way of seeing in the New Year. If you are local we would love you to make use of it. It will be up for around a week.

We have not finished yet- all the notices and poetry will go up tomorrow. here are a few photos of the work so far though-

Things to do on boxing day…

Make a water wheel of course…

This is one of the pieces for our Aoradh New Year Meditation Walk in Pucks Glen- details here. The challenge has been to make something durable enough to last the week turning in cold water (which I am not sure I have managed) and also to be light enough to be moved by a small waterfall. I made the bearings out of some skateboard wheels, which I am really pleased with. Time will tell if it lasts the course…

We have had a lovely Christmas- I hope you have too.

It started with an Aoradh get together to share our ‘secret santa’ presents…

It was lovely.

Then we went to midnight Mass @ Andrew’s Church up on the hill- lots of incense, familiar liturgy and lovely music.

Christmas day was slow and lazy and full of both laughter, and the good kind of tears- the BBC nativity reduced me to a jelly of tears. It’s earthy realism, allied to some genuine theological questioning was great- and the combination of great acting and a brilliant script was one of the most moving things I have seen for ages.

Then we opened presents. Despite all the discussion about trying not to do the present thing this year, I had some lovely things. Home made food parcels, books, clothes.

And a lovely calendar made by Michaela using the words of some of our favourite songs.

I am a man blessed. May the year ahead give me many opportunities to bless others…

 

 

Wilderness retreats 2012…

Here’s a bit of advance notice of a new thing we are doing next year. I would appreciate any help getting the message out there…

For many years now, along with a group of old friends, I have been escaping to wild places in order to recharge. Nothing unusual about that I suppose- but over the past few years, we have been ever more deliberate about the spiritual practice of retreat that can be experienced in wild places.

We have gathered ideas and activites, as well as developing lots of our own ideas, usually taking specific locations- caves, rivers, abseils down cliffs, mountain tops- and shaping thoughts, prayers and actions to the surroundings. We wanted to find ways to worship, and to wonder, and to share the depth of our experiences.

At least once a year we have tried to escape to a small deserted island- there is such a wonderful selection within reach of where we live in Argyll. Each one seems to have a different character and a different history. Many have ruins and remains left behind by the monastic gatherings of the Celtic missionary saints. We in Aoradh have been keen to share these experiences, and have already hosted a number of weekends with invited guests.

You can read about some of our previous trips here here and here.

However, in the spirit of seeking simple collaborative means to making a living, some of us are planning to organise a number of 3 day retreats on a slightly more commercial basis.

Two of these will be based at Sgath an Tighe- one of which will be more ‘adventure’ based, and the other for those of us who appreciate wild places in a more restful way.

The other two will involve wild camping on uninhabited inner Hebridean islands-  in one of the most beautiful places in the world. This kind of camping allows us to appreciate wild places in a much purer way, and also allows us to be in places that few people ever visit, let alone linger.

Over the next few weeks we will be working on final destinations, costs and dates. For the camping trips we will provide boat charter, organisation, activities and leadership.

So- next year, ditch the package tour to the Costa’s. Go somewhere where few people have been before.

If you are interested, then we would love to hear from you…

 

 

The things you do on a wet Saturday afternoon…

William, Michaela and I set up a poetry/meditation walk in Morag’s Fairy Glen this afternoon- it will be up for the duration of Cowalfest- and is part of Aoradh’s contribution to the walking and arts festival.

It started out moist, and finished soaking wet.

Here we are, suffering for the Kingdom-

(Photos by William.)

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