Willow Monastic Academy Forum

Resources for internal self-discovery, value exploration, and vow work

Hello friends! Following up to today’s community call, I wanted to post some of the resources that I talked about, which we have been using during this extremely powerful New Years retreat.

To begin, we spent a day dedicated entirely to Gendlin’s Focusing. This is a remarkably valuable skill for exploring what we can learn from our bodies. We listened to the audiobook version of The Power Of Focusing by Ann Weiser Cornell - it’s only 4 hours long, so I sincerely highly recommend taking an afternoon and listening to it and trying out the exercises.

After we all finished the audiobook and did some solo Focusing work, we got together and helped facilitate Focusing for each other in a group. Even by the end of the first day, several people had some very significant experiences from learning how to connect with their bodies in this way.

We continued doing this into the second day, both solo and in groups.

Then we started on values/vow work. Some of the vow-related content we used is internal to MAPLE, so I can’t share it here, but I can share the really beautiful values-exploration essays that we have been reading and using, by Joe Edelman.

A short introduction to Values: https://medium.com/what-to-build/non-goal-drives-d2b8e6f2d30
A medium-length primer on Values: https://medium.com/what-to-build/human-values-a-quick-primer-b01ef9617925
A comprehensive guide to Values (I highly recommend finding the time for this one and doing the exercises outlined in it):https://medium.com/what-to-build/what-the-hell-are-values-541614d8c949

I personally have been finding it tremendously useful to use my emotions for value-discovery: https://medium.com/what-to-build/what-are-feelings-d54a741ea134

We have been having some really beautiful conversations as a group, combining Focusing and values-discovery.

Today we are moving forward into the next stage, looking back on our previous year and planning for the next year, using the skills of Focusing and values-discovery to guide us. We will be using an exercise called The Year Compass.

If you try out any of these, let us know how it goes - I am so excited to be seeing what’s happening in the live-in community here as we explore these exercises and skills, and I’d love to hear how it goes for you if you try it. I think there’s something really beautiful and powerful here.