Episcopal House of Prayer: Embodied Spirit: Discovering the Whole Body Presence
The purpose of this retreat is to engage the participants in an experiential recognition of their integrated mind/body/spirit–their Whole Body Presence. Our explorations will include sessions of the ancient practice of Chi-Kung (Qi-gong), alternating with sessions which focus on mindful movement, release and relaxation techniques leading to the freeing of the restrictions and limitations we habitually impose on our psyche and our body. This freeing process opens us to a whole body presence. We offer this retreat in the spiritual context in which we “live and move and have our being.” – (Acts 17)
Tom Darnall is a retired Professor Emeritus of Theater from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. Teaching the theater arts in a liberal arts context allowed Tom to emphasize the spiritual roots of theater. He recognized that the extensive mindful somatic training required of the actor was a journey of what it meant to become fully human. Throughout his career Tom studied with master teachers of a wide range of somatic practices, including the work of Alexander, Rolf, Feldenkrais, Linklater and others. The integration of mindful movement, breath and sound establishes the premise that the quality of being determines the quality of any action. The kinesthetic freeing of habits of restrictions and limitations that we all impose on our psyche and our bodies opens us to the presence of spirit in us all. Tom has been involved with the House of Prayer since its inception and is a founding member of the Contemplative Body.
Gary Barrett has practiced classical Chinese T’ai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung for 28 years in central Minnesota. He has taught groups in St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Brainerd, and Alexandria, Minnesota, as well as worked with many private students. Additionally, he has been a primary presenter and participant at the annual T’ai Chi retreat weekend Way In The Woods at Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center in north-central Minnesota for the past 20 years. He brings a deep commitment to the practice of contemplative mind-body work as a way to personal spiritual transformation. Gary is a member of the Contemplative Body and lives with his wife Brenda in St. Joseph, Minnesota.