Women’s Retreat

Expanding Our Creative Potentials to Give

Expanding Our Creative
Potentials to Give

Saturday, August 8, 2020


Our Speakers          Session Details          Creative Giving Pods          Zoom Instructions 

Our Speakers:

Amita Lhamo began her career as a psychotherapist before training to become a hospice chaplain. She holds a BA in Human Development and Family Studies, and an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy. As a spiritual practitioner, she has studied within the Lakota dream tradition, working with her first teacher for nearly a decade before meeting the lineage of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and studying with his Dzogchen lineage holder, Lama Drimed Norbu. Under his guidance, she completed a five-year meditation retreat in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She is the founding direct of the Mandorla Project, which supports the dialogue between spirituality and care for the dying. She is the author of Dandelions Blooming in the Cracks of Sidewalks: Stories from the Bedside of the Dying, which received the Nautilus Book Award (gold), and Wisdom Moon: Presence in Dying. Amita weaves her training with direct experience to lead others into the fullness of awareness. She offers classes, private meetings, and guided retreats.

Kate Gallagher is the Contemplative Studies Coordinator for the School of Psychological Sciences at OSU and teaches classes in meditation.  Kate completed her MA at OSU in Applied Religious Ethics with emphases on Buddhist/Yogic philosophies, psychology, and contemplative pedagogy. She has completed over 1,000 hours of training in hatha yoga and devoted thousands of hours to the study of Buddhist and yogic philosophy.  In 2018, she spent a year in solitary retreat to study and practice meditation full-time.

Kate first encountered yoga in college where she found the practice immensely valuable in coping with the complexity and stresses of everyday life. This introduction to yoga launched her into a 15 year (so far!) study of the physical, philosophical, and meditative aspects of the practice. Her yoga practices are informed by her Buddhist inclinations, and incorporate metta themes of self-compassion and goodwill, bodily strength, attentional discipline, and gentleness.

Mary Brutsaert, MA, MSW, LCSW, was born and raised in Belgium. She began her career as a literary translator. After starting a family and moving to this country, her interest shifted to social services and community work. This led to a Master’s degree in social work (Florida State University, 2013) and employment as a hospice social worker. Walking alongside others at their most vulnerable and bringing people together in shared healing have been profoundly grounding experiences. Mary currently has a private practice as a psychotherapist in Corvallis helping those suffering from trauma, loss and grief towards self-compassion and personal growth.


Session Schedule:

8:30 – 9:00           Coffee and meeting up (informal)

9:00 – 9:15           Introduction, overview, and welcome

9:15 – 10:45         Bodhicitta: Bringing peace and benefit to our lives and to the world.

Amita will invite participants to explore the nature of Bodhicitta, compassionate intent. Using stories of women Buddhist adepts, she will describe key qualities of lovingkindness and compassion. Together, we will take time to meditate on these qualities and consider how we can bring these into our daily lives and into the world.

10:45 – 11:45       Personal Break Time: Time for personal reflection and meditation

11:45 – 12:30       Optional Social Break Time: Zoom meeting will be open for participants to mingle and chat

12:30 – 2:00         Moving beyond barriers for creativity and giving: Practicalities of assessing our creativity and choosing to give.

Kate will help us recognize and deal with barriers to our creativity, such as our overwhelming cognitive load in these complicated times, and lead an exploration of the myth that we cannot give and still hold space for ourselves.

Kate will lead us in some gentle movement practices, so be sure to dress comfortably! 

2:00 – 3:00           Personal Break Time: Time for personal reflection and meditation

3:00 – 3:45          Optional Social Break Time: Zoom meeting will be open for participants to mingle and chat


3:45 – 5:15         Accessing our creativity through the arts; identifying what we can uniquely give

In times of grating social and racial inequity and injustice, many of us are in search of ways to have a positive impact on others and the world around us. The question is: Where to start? Mary will guide participants in an exploration of their own strengths and vulnerabilities, through the use of various forms of expressive art (writing, drawing, painting, movement, etc.). We will reflect on the roles we assume naturally and comfortably, how these roles impact us physically, energetically, emotionally, spiritually, and which other roles we have the desire to try out.

You do not need to be an artist to participate! The goal is not to make “art,” it is to explore and express ourselves in ways that feel comfortable and not so comfortable.

Materials needed for this session: 5 sheets of paper (lined, blank, or watercolor paper); colored pencils, markers, colored pens, watercolor paints and brushes, etc. Please use whatever you have in the house. If all you have is a pencil, some pens and a few highlighters, that will be fine! 

5:15 – 6:15          Personal Break Time: Time for personal reflection and meditation

6:30 – 7:30         Social Break Time: Zoom meeting will be open for participants to mingle and chat

6:45 – 7:15         Breakout meet & greet rooms available for Creative Giving Pod groups

If you didn’t sign up for a Creative Giving Pod and now want to, please send a private chat message to Bonnie Morihara and let her know which group you would like to join. She will be able to move you to the group if there is room. If you decide you would like to participate in a Creative Giving Pod after the retreat ends, please email Bonnie Morihara.

7:30 – 8:30         Wrap-up, Jill McAllister

Please bring a candle and something to light it with for this final session.

Creative Giving Pods: Putting our gifts into practice:

We each have gifts which we can share with others, gifts that will enrich and deepen our relationships while they also benefit others. You may have a skill that you can teach others. You may have experiences that will help others make sense of their own. During this time of COVID-19-driven social distancing is an ideal time to learn a new skill or share your expertise and passion. Or maybe there’s something you never had time to do or thought you couldn’t learn, but now you’d like to give it a try. This is a perfect opportunity to connect with a small group of women in the Fellowship around a creative pursuit. While participation is optional, we certainly hope that ALL Women’s Retreat participants will join a Creative Giving Pod in order to put into practice ideas discussed at the August 8 retreat.

We will form small groups of 3-5 women who will meet either via Zoom or face-to-face outside for four weekly times to implement ideas learned in the Women’s Retreat that involve creative ways to be more helpful to others. The following are ideas for pod groups. Please contact Bonnie Morihara if you would like to facilitate a group.


Connecting with Nature:
Bird walks, wild flower photography, observation techniques, hiking for beginners or those more experienced, drawing or painting, collecting natural objects for collages, eco-printing, discussions of authors and books that deepen our connection to nature, building a birdhouse or a bee-house, your own ideas…


Wild edibles, gleaning opportunities, supporting food banks, mushrooming, healthy eating, your own ideas…

Indigenous methods, Master Gardener tips, community gardens, organic gardening tips, observing and tracking growth of plants, your own ideas…

Arts and Crafts:
Drawing and painting, glass arts, jewelry, nature-art, sculpture, land-art, mosaic, mural, your own ideas….

The ins and outs of various social media platforms, staying connected electronically, creating your own podcast, selecting/using presentation software (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.), your own ideas…

Reading, Writing, and Listening:
Story-telling, poetry sharing, writing to understand our thinking, your own ideas…

Intergenerational Relationships:
Connecting with children and youth, unconditional love, setting boundaries, seeing with a child’s mind, playfulness, supporting seniors and others in need, your own ideas… 

Creative Problem Solving:
Looking at examples of creative solutions to social or environmental issues, investigating what makes an effective action, your own ideas….

Serving Others and Activism:
Being an ally to marginalized people, listening compassionately and deeply, implementing anti-racism, your own ideas… 

2020 Women’s Retreat Planning Team: