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Meet Therese DesCamp from New Denver, BC Canada. Here is what Therese has shared with us about her Wisdom journey:
I grew up a Catholic kid raised by devout, contemplative parents. I spent most of young adulthood as a Benedictine oblate. Now at age 63, I’ve logged 40+ years of daily prayer practice and 30 years of meditation and retreat leadership. My meditation practice is Centering Prayer;I am an ordained minister recognized by the United Church of Canada; I’m in long-term 12 Step recovery; and I earned a PhD in biblical studies and cognitive linguistics. These last two provide my necessary incarnational and intellectual grounding. During the last five or six years, I’ve taken four courses from Cynthia Bourgeault in person, three on-line, and read everything I could get my hands on because she speaks what I’ve struggled for years to articulate.
Wisdom offerings and programs:
These are the things that I take great joy in offering:
- Leadership to “Contemplative in the Kootenays,” a group of 8-20 people who meet monthly for a day of meditation, and for fall and spring retreats.
- Spiritual direction to priests, ministers, and lay persons.
- Retreat leadership for groups and occasional instruction at west coast theological schools.
- The semi-annual local course, “Practices for Living Deeply,” offered with a Theravadan Buddhist teacher.
- Organization and facilitation for my village’s “Wide Spot” discussions–open conversation and dinner where we ponder questions of meaning–and for Quiet Spot, a mid-day, mid-week conversation and meditation group.
- Leadership in the tiny local United Church, as well as pastoral counselling for my community.
Experience and insights from the Wisdom path:
The work of Wisdom is not for “me,” nor is it “for” the world. In any and all ways possible, I believe that Wisdom draws us to come awake as part of and in concert with this world: to together embody the ultimate expression of Christ. The cruciform nature of existence enables us to live on the horizontal line where time and space are limited and contingent, while knowing that every second is shot through with the vertical reality of Love–and the ache that this knowing engenders. This is not simply my reality, nor is it simply human reality. All creation groans with these birth pangs. Our human responsibility is to articulate this cruciform, beloved reality to each other, and to kneel in adoration when we finally wake up enough to notice it in the world around us.
June 9-11, “Contemplative in the Kootenays” is having an In-gathering, where we will contemplatively review the main theses of Teilhard de Chardin, Gurdjieff’s Obligolnian Strivings, the recent Ken Wilber manuscript “Trump and the Post-Truth World” and Cynthia Bourgeault’s critique of this document. We’ll pray, meditate, and consider where we–“we” being the world as a collective body–may or may not be headed. We’ll attempt to name our deepest fears and hold our deepest hope and joy in the wisdom of Christ. We hope to use this time to clarify each participant’s particular vision of the work ahead, as well as our collective work together. We also hope to identify some concrete ways in which we can support other members of the contemplative community.
Later in June, on the 24th, we’ll have a contemplative day in Nelson, B.C., from 10-3. Contact me at the address below for details.
Importance and influence of Cynthia’s teaching:
Cynthia is not a guru in the popular sense. She doesn’t want disciples: she wants people to do their work. This is profoundly freeing! So I’ve studied with Cynthia and read all her work because of this combination of wisdom, integrity, and humility. (And humour–don’t forget the humour!) Her good mind is a faithful servant of her deep heart. She consistently exercises her intellect and her heart in concert, exhibiting remarkable balance and providing a gift to anyone who thinks and feels. Because she takes the time to think deeply about what she knows, she is able to articulate what is only inchoate in many of us. In addition, she pushes each of us to sort it out for ourselves. Although I am barely known to Cynthia personally, her work has been my steady guide into a deeper and truer understanding of the path that I’ve been given.
Watch this short video that beautifully highlights the majestic beauty of the Slocan area where Therese lives, as well as introduces some of the opportunities in the community to connect and practice together.
Inspiring Words of Wisdom (Community members can share inspirational quotes HERE):
From The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault, p. 99-100
“…(C)onstriction is a sacrament, and we have been offered a divine invitation to participate in it. …This world does indeed show forth what love is like in a particularly intense and costly way. …(T)hose sharp edges we experience as constriction at the same time call forth some of the most exquisite dimensions of love, which require the condition of finitude in order to make sense–qualities such as steadfastness, tenderness, commitment, forbearance, fidelity, and forgiveness. …(W)hen you run up against the hard edge and have to stand true to love anyway what emerges is a most precious taste of pure divine love. God has spoken his most intimate name.”
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