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Online Retreat
Mindfulness, self-compassion and the healing embrace of God

Facilitator: Sharon Grussendorff

Welcome to our extended online retreat. This is based on a retreat that we ran at Solitude Retreat Centre over a weekend, so you might want to use this as a silent retreat, dedicating a few days to working through this material, allowing time in silence in between to pray and reflect. You could also use this as a series of reflections that you listen to at a set time each day over a number of days. Each talk will be followed by some suggested exercises to help you to make the most of the reflection time.

The outline of talks for this retreat is:

  1. Talk 1: Introductory video giving an outline of the retreat and an introductory talk, titled "Welcome home to the presence of God" (Talk 1 is about 15 minutes in length).

  2. Talk 2: "Contemplation and mindfulness: becoming present to Presence”, which includes a guided time of Centering Prayer practice. (Talk 2 is about 31 minutes in length).

  3. Talk 3: "The art of unconditional receptivity". (Talk 3 is about 17 minutes in length)

  4. Talk 4: "Mindful awareness of thoughts". (The guided meditation at the beginning of the session is 8 minutes long, and Talk 4 is about 18 minutes in length).

  5. Talk 5: "Mindful awareness of emotions". (The guided meditation at the beginning of the session is 14 minutes long, and Talk 5 is about 15 minutes in length).

  6. Talk 6: "Self-compassion and opening to the healing embrace of God". (The guided meditation at the beginning of the session is 4 minutes long, and Talk 6 is about 18 minutes in length).

You can click on each talk number above if you want to go to that session.

In addition to these talks and the guided meditations, I also suggest that you set aside time for a morning centering prayer / meditation session, and another evening session. Twenty minutes is a good amount of time to allow your mind to settle, but you will need to judge what is best for you depending on your home circumstances and your experience with quiet sitting.

I also encourage you to reflect on your own experiences through the retreat by noticing your inner responses and writing about these in your journal. 


Welcome home to the presence of God

At the end of this talk, listen to the following song by John Michael Talbot, called "Come to the Quiet".

Psalm 131 - Come to the QuietJohn Michael Talbot
00:00 / 03:22

These are some of the exercises that we encourage retreatants to do at the start of a retreat, as a way of settling into the silence and space of the retreat:

Creating a Sacred Space:

Find an area in your room or home that you can set as a sacred space. You could place a candle there, or a flower or something  else from nature etc. When you sit at your sacred space you might want to light a candle as a symbol of your choice to be present, open and awake as you sit there.


Sensory exercise:

You might find it helpful to do some restful activity that involves your senses, such as taking a warm bath, or sitting outside looking at the stars, or having a lingering cup of tea. As you do this, pay attention to what you are doing. Allow the silence to seep in, and release your grip on the stuff out there.



To help you to slow down and settle into the retreat, it is helpful to try to shift from your usual multi-tasking mode to rather choosing to do one thing at a time (single-tasking). At the same time, try to do everything a bit more slowly, sinking into each activity or experience. For example, when drinking a cup of tea, just drink the tea, noticing how it tastes, how it smells, how it feels in your mouth, or how the mug feels in your hands.

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