The Space Between Stories

The Space Between Stories

Retreat
Friday, July 21, 2017 - 16:00 to Sunday, July 23, 2017 - 16:00
Life
Spiritual
Inspiring
Alternatives says: 
Join Charles Eisenstein for his first retreat with Alternatives in the beautiful Montserrat Monastery in Catalonia Spain.
Description: 

The world is in a time of transition in its stories, in the deep mythology that runs our civilization. And many of us personally are in such a transition as well. Often, it is a crisis that initiates this transition, a breakdown in a core part of life: work, health, or relationship. For some, the breakdown happens in every area simultaneously: an initiation into a new phase of life

.In this transition, the old story of who we are, what is normal, what is possible, what is real, and how to live life falls apart, as we prepare to step into a new story of greater wholeness, love, freedom, and connection.

Before that happens though, most of us must pass through a special phase: "the space between stories." The old answers no longer work, and the new answers haven't emerged yet. Who am I? Why am I here? How do I navigate life? The ground has shifted beneath us.

This is a sacred time, though our culture gives it little breathing space as it seeks to corral us back into the old story. Sometimes, it is an abyss, dark, lonely, and seemingly endless. Other times we find a ground beyond story, a security entirely independent of predictability or control, and we are filled with light and serenity.

We may experience amazing synchronicities that defy what we were told about how reality works. Sometimes we may cling to the sinking fragments of our old story, trying in our panic to climb back onto it; sometimes we have an experience that foretells a new story, a promise of the life that awaits. All of this and more is quite normal, in the space between stories

.This retreat is designed to provide the validation and support that our culture withholds to those going through this special time.

Please consider joining us if you...

  1. Are navigating the space between stories right now
  2. Recognize you are still in an old story that is no longer able to hold you, and you perceive that it is coming to an end.
  3. Are recently emerged into a new story but still uncertain there, and the space between stories is still fresh in your mind.
  4.  You feel an unreasonable Yes toward this retreat!

The price of the course includes accomodation, breakfast and transfers.  You will have an opportunity to make a contribution directly to Charles at the end of the workshop for tuition.  You will choose the tuition that feels right to you, from a sense of gratitude, propriety, and value, considering of course your own financial means. The Venue: 

Montserrat Monastery is a Benedictine monk retreat about an hour's train ride, northwest from Barcelona city.  We will be staying at Hotel Abat Cisneros situated in Montserrat Monastery itself.

The Hotel Abat Cisneros has provided accommodation for Pilgrims since its original construction in 1563. The simple accomodation lend itself to quiet meditation/contemplation, the background noise is simply the Monks choir or Church bells.

As the rooms were provided primarily for spiritual retreats, there are no double beds, and mainly have twin beds - you have the option to pay for a single room if you'd prefer a room to yourself.

All rooms have bath or shower, satellite television, telephone and free internet access is available in the lounge area. All transfers (to and from Barcelona airport) and breakfast is included. You will be able to buy lunch and dinner in one of the restaurant and cafes in the area (there is a restaurant in the Hotel as well).

 Once your place has been confirmed we will advise you on flight booking and insurance details. 

You will purchase flights and insurance separately. Once your booking has been confirmed we will contact you. All deposits are non-refundable.

If you have any queries then please call Venetia in the office on 0207 287 6711 or email me at Venetia@alternatives.org.uk.

About the speaker, Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein is a public speaker, self-described "degrowth activist" and the author of several books including The Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics, and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.

"I will give you some of my background, although the intense transitions of the last few years have left me feeling like a new person. Hmm, I wrote that sentence two years ago, and it is still true today. I was born in 1967 and was a very sensitive, intellectual and dreamy child. I was always consumed by questions like, “Where did I come from?””Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” so of course, embedded as I was in a culture that sees science and reason as the source of truth, I tried to “figure out” the answers. I graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, but my development of reason and intellect brought me no closer to any truth I really cared about.
 

"I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I knew that none of the usual options life presents a Yale graduate attracted me. I went to Taiwan, learned Chinese, and soon found myself working as a translator. I spent most of my 20s there, educating myself broadly (though not at all rigorously – it was more through osmosis) in Eastern spiritual traditions. I also read voraciously: books on health, nutrition, globalization, physics, and biology. Translation led to other business opportunities, and I became familiar with this dimension of the human experience. In Taiwan, I met my dear friend and ex-wife Patsy, with whom I have three children, all boys.

"In my late 20s I entered what was to be a long period of intensifying crisis. It started when all my professional work became intolerable. It became excruciating to do work I didn’t care about. Even though a million reasons told me why it was irresponsible, impractical, and foolish to quit, I eventually could not make myself do it anymore. An irrepressible feeling, “I am not here to be doing this!” took control of my life. So I entered a long period of searching. I spent time teaching yoga, learning about herbs, and teaching at Penn State’s department of Science, Technology, and Society. All of these endeavors have contributed to my present and future, but none were really me.

"The next five years were much like a birthing process. The old world dissolved, and the contractions birthing me into the new took the form of a collapse of all that I once held onto. Crises in health, marriage, and money forced me to let go of a “life under control.” In my helplessness, I accepted help, discovering a generous universe that has always met my needs, somehow, in unexpected ways. I have never made much money, but I have become rich in connections to other people. Friends and strangers from all over the world write to tell me how my books have affected them; they sustain my faith and nourish my passion for my work.

"In addition to writing books and essays, I have been doing a tremendous amount of public speaking. Sometimes, especially when I am tired from traveling, I wonder if the world needs yet another man performing “speaker up in front of an audience.” Why not stay at home and use technology? But I find that something happens in person that is irreplaceable. For one thing, at live events I can see the expressions on people’s faces, and I respond to that in real-time, engaging in a sort of dialog. Secondly, my speaking is not just about conveying ideas. Something else rides the vehicle of the words, even if the topic is something mundane like steady-state economics. I sometimes describe my experience as a speaker as being plugged into a field that is not my creation, but is generated by the audience and by something beyond the audience. Besides, I find that my thinking stagnates and my heart atrophies when I am in front of my computer too much. I need to interact with real people, face to face. That’s why I travel and speak.

"On the other hand, I am increasingly drawn to developing the non-verbal, embodied gifts that I’ve neglected. Like many people, I have a feeling that there is a Next Step about to happen, in my work and beyond. I don’t know what it is, but I do know its revelation will come through transforming experiences that reveal and heal things I was blind to. My work, my play, my family, my deep soul connections, my wholeness, my wounds… all of these are bound up together, evolving as one.

I am now remarried as of 2011 and have a baby, my fourth son, Cary, with my wife Stella. Besides mothering, Stella practices Chinese Medicine and other healing modalities. The two teenagers, Jimi and Matthew live with us too; the 9-year-old Philip only sometimes. My favorite moments are watching Jimi and Matthew play “pass the baby” with Cary, who thinks it is the funnest game in the world. Of course we have our challenges and I have occasional moments of seeing my whole life as a father as a collision-course of errors, but overall I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing, sensitive, talented, kind children.

"Lately people sometimes treat me like a celebrity, which makes me feel uncomfortable, because I know I am just me. On the other hand, it has become impossible to answer every email and say yes to every offer to interact. I have to turn down most offers to speak, travel, write blurbs for books, and so on. Also the attention focused on me can get overwhelming. I understand why real celebrities need to insulate themselves. Even receiving appreciation can be too much to handle sometimes, although it has sustained me too through periods of setbacks and doubt. I do my best to stay accessible and answer as many contacts as possible.

"I can’t really tell you my plans for the future; it all depends on what is revealed to me in the next phase of my personal exploration. Besides, the world is approaching a state of flux that could easily render most plans irrelevant. I will continue writing and speaking for at least another year or two. My main interest now is in exploring the boundaries of what is “possible” according to our received beliefs, received habits, received technologies, and received ways of knowing. For humanity to take that Next Step, we are going to have to violate what is politically practical, socially practical, and even technologically practical. The same holds on the personal and relational level. I have caught glimpses of the impossible in all these realms and I am excited about what lies ahead."

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Timetable: 
16:00
Retreat commences