Autumn Contemplative Nature Walks Series

Autumn Contemplative Nature Walks Series

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$30 – $168


Penuel Ridge Retreat Center

1440 Sams Creek Road

Ashland City, TN 37015

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Refund policy

No Refunds

This six-session series will be part nature walk, part contemplative practice, and part conversation, led by Soul Companion, Susan Ernst.

About this event

We will walk together through the gorgeous autumn landscape at Penuel Ridge, meeting some of the plants and animals that reside here while learning more about ourselves and each other. Participants should wear clothing appropriate for the weather, hiking shoes, a journal and pen, and water.

Topics to be explored include: Noticing , Openness, Wonder, Concentration, Appreciation, and Gratitude.

Attend one session or attend them all! Each session is a stand-alone event. Taken as a whole, they provide a foundation for practicing nature contemplation. Here's what you can expect:

Session I - Noticing (10.13.22)

My profession is always to be alert, to find God in nature, to know God's lurking places, to attend to all the oratorios and the operas in nature. - R. W. Emerson

Noticing involves slowing down, paying attention, and being present to the physical realities around us. We will begin with a brief introduction to the history and benefits of contemplative walking, then explore the trees along the Lake Trail, practicing our noticing skills. Lastly, we will gather to share what we have encountered.

Session II - Openness (10.20.22)

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. - Basho

Nature teaches us that there is always something to learn if we are open to it. This week we gather to open ourselves to this autumn in this place. What new inspiration and lessons await us?

Session III - Wonder (10.27.22)

Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living. - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Wonder is an emotion not often acknowledged. How can wonder enhance our well-being as well as our concern for the natural world? Come learn how to open yourself to experience wonder as we walk one of the trails at Penuel Ridge.

Session IV - Concentration (11.3.22)

In a way, nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small, we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. - Georgie O'Keeffe

Time in nature helps us slow down, relax, and rejuvenate. That is, if we are intentional about it. We can be as distracted in the natural world as anywhere. This session will focus on concentration and awareness, which can lead to deeper appreciation and understanding for every aspect of life. Please bring a magnifying glass if you have one.

Session V - Appreciation and Delight (11.10.22)

Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. - Rachel Carson

In this session, we will discover how time with nature can help us grow in appreciation and delight. Can this practice help shift our perception of situations we don't view favorable? We will explore those ideas during our personal reflection, conversation, and walk.

Session VI - Gratitude (11.17.22)

November is the season of Thanksgiving and Gratitude. Let's gather to discuss the themes of abundance, harvest, thanksgiving and gratitude. We will walk the trails with an eye for how these themes are expressed in nature.

This series is facilitated by Susan Ernst, our resident Spiritual Director. Susan is an artist, naturalist and soul care practitioner who is passionate about Nature, Creativity, and the Sacredness of Everyday Life. Susan holds degrees in Horticulture, Studio Art, and Religion & Ecology, as well as certificates in spiritual direction, master naturalist training, and nature contemplation.