“Spirit and Soul”
Small-Group Session (2 of 2)
“Spirit & Soul”
Small-Group Session (2 of 2)
Before the session starts, the leader should set chairs in a circle, with a chalice and matches on a small table in the middle, or somewhere visible to participants. Make sure the strips of paper for “Readings from the Common Bowl” are in the bowl. Welcome people, and allow folks to settle before lighting the chalice.
Chalice Lighting and Opening Words
The group leader lights the chalice (or asks someone else to) and then, with the intent of creating sacred space, reads the following words:
“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Clothe us each now, in the garments of spirit—
Soft velvet companioned by loose cotton
Give us warmth to this place,
And garments that breathe;
The woven finery of silk
And the utility of wool on a cold night.
Clothe us with a sense of connection in this spirit,
Of the hands and lives woven into garments,
And the cost of our human living.
With appreciation for the lost button
And dangling string
For the hem undone.
Let us be in the space of the spirit’s garment
Where a hole or tear is not our whole story or
Mark of shame;
But instead it is a place where spirit shines.
Help us recognize her beauty here in spirit colors
Ruby and cherry notes against the
Flowing of mauve and amber.
Invite each person, in turn, to share a brief answer to the check-in question. The check-in question is: “How is it with your spirit today?”
Readings from the common bowl
The leader passes around the bowl, with strips of paper that have quotes on them. Invites each person to take one strip/quote out of the bowl. Then, invites each to read the quotes. They don’t have to read in order, one right next to the last one. But instead, invite them to allow some silence after every quote, and then to see if the quote they picked out of the bowl should go next or not. (See additional page for quotes; these are the quotes that will be torn into separate strips, and put in the bowl before the meeting)
After everyone has read the different statements, the leader asks the central question that will guide the session’s discussion: “How do you cultivate and tend the still, small voice within you?”
Leader invites attendees to take no more than 2 minutes to share a response to the question. Find a way to gently hold the group to the no-more-than-2-minute limit. Also, let people know there’s no cross-talk to the responses: group-members don’t answer the statements people make. One person speaks for oneself, then the next person does the same. It’s not a conversation, so much as a series of statements. Again, each with some silence or space between. And, again, voices don’t need to go in order, with people sitting beside each other speaking—just as the Spirit moves.
After hearing everyone’s statements, the leader invites the group to sit in silence for 2-3 minutes. This is not time for them to plan what they’ll say. It’s time to sit and be present, to let whatever comes up, come up.
Second round, reflections on what was heard, with additional thoughts
Whereas in the first round, attendees were encouraged to stick to their own thoughts, here in the second round, people can respond to some of what they heard. Again, encourage brevity—whether a formal 2-minute limit is enforced or not, encourage the conversation to move from one place to another in the circle, not getting dragged down to one or two voices who speak at length. It’s OK for people to respond to each other’s comments.
Likes and wishes
The leader asks for people to share, as they’re moved, what they liked about the session, and what they wish for next time, that they may or may not have experienced this time.
Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice
Where here, we have known healing,
Let it be a balm for the soul traveling with us.
Where here, we have known pain or disconnect,
Let it be extinguished like this flame.
Where here, we have realized new questions,
Let them linger about us.
Where here, we have felt the presence of loved ones or cherished memories,
Let them hover about our shoulders as a cloak of kindness.
Quotes for The Common Bowl
“In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
– Wilma Rudolph
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
“Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free.”
“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
-Zora Neale Hurston
“Changing is not just changing the things outside of us. First of all we need the right view that transcends all notions including of being and non-being, creator and creature, mind and spirit. That kind of insight is crucial for transformation and healing.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.”
“We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body.”
“Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.”
“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.”