Julie Elliot – First in a series of Alum Posts

At Jubilee lately, we’re talking about how to engage and connect our alum from Pacific, Prairie and Ontario Jubilee Programs.  We want to hear what’s happening, what’s exciting, what’s challenging and we want to hear your stories.  We also want to engage and reach out to newcomers who may be wondering about our programs and why we say they’re transformative.  I’m a recent alum of the Pacific Jubilee Program and I’m also responsible for communications for Pacific Jubilee, so I’ve agreed to post the first blog in what we hope will be weekly posts from alum across the country.

This Time of Turning 36 inches x 48 inches Acrylic on canvasI’ve decided to talk about my experience of painting and writing for my responsive projects (which are a component of the 2 year SoulGuiding Program I just completed).  One of the things I appreciated about SoulGuiding was its openness to creativity.  I’ve been a painter and printmaker for the past 25 years and so I welcomed the challenge of painting for my projects.  The image shown here was created for our assignment on discernment.  Please click on the painting to enlarge – and following is an excerpt from my written reflection:

“I titled my painting “This Time of Turning” because discernment is about seeing clearly in the present (this time) and a change in direction based on that clear understanding (turning).  As I worked with the river metaphor, I imagined the river in this painting  knows where it’s going in perfect discernment.  Without angst it flows on its natural course in silent union with God and all of creation.

The river takes its time.  Its path isn’t linear but winding as it searches for the way forward.  Underneath the lively surface there is darkness and silence in its depths.

Decisions, pros and cons, choices, analysis of costs and benefits – these are all types of discernment – but when we speak about discernment in spiritual accompaniment, we’re talking about presence in God.  There is a need to go deeper than the surface of the river;  into the quiet waters that flow in darkness and mystery.  This kind of discernment needs time, space and silence.   Macrina Wiederkehr writes beautifully about this quality when she says, “Go deep into your temple.  This is your real work place.  Dwell there in silence that you may absorb the wonderful gifts of inspiration that wait for you in the darkness of your unknowing.”  (p. 73 Holy Listening –The Art of Spiritual Direction)  So, discernment is not so much an activity or a skill but a way of being; an orientation or quality of presence in spiritual accompaniment.”

You can subscribe to the feed so you don’t miss any updates and we’re planning to post something new every week.  Also, do you have a story to share?  We want to hear from you!  You can be in touch with Julie Elliot at Pacific Jubilee or Tracy Tjaden at Prairie Jubilee.