Prairie Oaks Institute

cultivating the earth, rejuvenating the spirit


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April 14-16th Power of Story Retreat

THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 14 – SATURDAY LUNCH, APRIL 16

Experience the Power of Story with three powerful facilitators! There is still space available for this retreat and you can reserve your ticket HERE.

We are the stories of our lives; story helps us to understand who we are and how we should live.  In this retreat we’ll explore the power of story to:

  • illuminate our relationships with others – especially across differences or divisions that seem to separate us
  • shape our identity and how we see the world
  • fuel our work on behalf of the common good, and
  • create and sustain a more just and peaceful world.

In our increasingly tumultuous world this retreat offers the rare gifts of time and space, big questions and deep listening, rich laughter and quiet solitude.  It invites you to explore the vibrant intersections of “creativity, calling, and composing a life.”  It evokes a more expansive imagination for the future of our increasingly fractious world.  And it shines light on Thich Nhat Hanh’s insight that “understanding is the beginning of compassion.”

Some additional details:

We’ll begin with dinner Thursday evening, April 14 and end shortly after lunch on Saturday, April 16.  We will gather in the beauty of the spring landscapes at Prairie Oaks Institute, at the edge of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, just southwest of the Twin Cities.   Please let us know well in advance if you have any dietary restrictions. You’ll receive further details about what to bring, how to prepare, and so on, from the facilitators in early April.

We are able to make this life-giving opportunity available for a “set your own investment” sliding-scale suggested donation of only $195 – $255, which includes lodging, meals, materials, and program.

FACILITATORS:

Visual artist, photographer and author John Noltner

Musical artist, singer/songwriter Neal Hagberg

Listening artist, Courage and Renewal® facilitator Chris Johnson

Tickets at The Power of Story  or mail to Prairie Oaks Instititute, 1200 W South Street, Belle Plaine, MN 56011. Questions, please email us at info@prairieoaksinstitute.org


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Register NOW! Draw from the Deep Well: A Courage to Teach® Oasis for the End of the Year

“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher….”   – Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscapes of a Teacher’s Life

DO YOU…

  • yearn to revive your heart for teaching in the face of the pressures that can make it so hard?
  • need to rediscover your passion for the work?
  • crave a chance to explore big ideas in a safe space with like-minded colleagues?
  • want to “reconnect what you do with who you are?”
  • hope to end the school year with a sense of spring’s resilience?

The “Draw from the Deep Well” Retreat offers a quiet, supportive space for such exploration.  Buoyed by the new and re-emerging life that marks a Minnesota spring, it’s a rare “oasis” in a parched and hectic world.  It’s an opportunity to explore your own sense of identity, purpose, and calling in the teaching life; to reweave the deep connection between your “soul and role”; and to renew your capacity to live and work from a place of wholeness and authenticity.  Grounded in the truths of your own stories and questions, and guided by the Circles of Trust® model and the bestselling book The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer, this retreat invites you to step with intention into a time and place apart and to take a well-deserved respite from the end-of-year craziness.

We’ll begin with dinner Thursday evening, March 31 and end shortly after lunch on Saturday, April 2.  We will gather in the beauty of the spring landscapes at Prairie Oaks Institute, at the edge of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, just southwest of the Twin Cities.  The retreat will be led by Chris Johnson, PhD, a Courage and Renewal® facilitator and founder of The Milkweed Group; and Courage and Renewal® facilitators-in-preparation Patti Hoffman (Director of the Center for Education & Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato) and Chris Commers (Education Association President in the Chaska, MN public schools).

We are able to make this life-giving opportunity available for a “set your own investment” sliding-scale suggested donation of only $195 – $255, which includes lodging, meals, materials, and program. Please let us know well in advance if you have any dietary restrictions.  You’ll receive further details about what to bring, how to prepare, and so on, from the facilitators in late March.

Space is limited to 15 participants, so please register early (by March 27 at the latest) at www.POIteachspring2016.eventbrite.com .

What are the benefits of Courage to Teach?

CTT helps each educator strengthen his or her sense of identity and integrity. Men and women, individuals of all backgrounds and belief systems, experienced educators and novices—each has a unique experience based on the questions she or he brings. Across the nation, educators report common powerful benefits:

  • a renewed passion for teaching
  • strengthened relationships with colleagues
  • increased commitment to vocation
  • more time spent reflecting on professional practice
  • improved relationships with students
  • revitalized capacity as leaders for educational change.

For more information about Parker J. Palmer and the Courage to Teach, as well as the Circles of Trust approach, please visit the website for the Center for Courage and Renewal at http://www.couragerenewal.org.

We look forward to having you with us!


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Leading with Heart: A Courage & Renewal / Daring Way Retreat

Back together and better than ever! If you missed last year’s retreat with Dr. Chris Johnson and the Rev. Sarah Ciavarri, don’t miss this opportunity.

Leading with Heart: Courage and Resilience for Challenging Times

A Courage to Lead® / Daring WayTM Retreat

Weaving together the work of best-selling authors Brené Brown (Daring Greatly, Rising Strong) and Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness) this retreat offers a rare opportunity to:

  • enhance your sense of calling, direction, and confidence to navigate change
  • develop daily practices and skills to rise strong when you fall
  • reconnect what you do with who you are
  • replenish your inner reservoirs of courage and resilience necessary to transition to the next chapter of your life and leadership for the common good

We live in challenging and exciting times, times of great change, uncertainty, and promise. The more passionate – or the more confused – we are about our lives and our work, the more vital it is that we find time to renew our spirits and to re-connect what we do with who we are. As the grip of winter gives way to the restless energy of spring, come away with a deeper capacity to work, lead, and live from a place of wholeness and authenticity.

Some additional details:
This retreat begins at 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 11 and concludes by 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 12. The retreat will include ample time and space for solitude and conversation, journaling, silence and dialogue, rest and relaxing walks in the glorious outdoors. The retreat will be led by Daring WayTM facilitator Rev. Sarah Ciavarri (www.sarahciavarri.com); and by Courage and Renewal® facilitator Dr. Chris Johnson, founder and principal of The Milkweed Group (www.milkweedgroup.com).

The suggested donation for registration (on a sliding scale of $185 – 245) includes overnight lodging in either “Harvest House” or “The Farmhouse” at POI, all meals, refreshments, and materials. If you’d like to come early or linger afterward, rooms (plus breakfast) are available for an additional $45/night. Please let us know well in advance if you have any dietary restrictions.

Tickets available at Eventbrite

 


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Wintering Through: Exploring Your Life’s Calling in the New Year

The rigors of winter are accompanied by amazing gifts….
Times of dormancy and deep rest are essential to all living things.
Winter clears the landscape…giving us a chance to see ourselves and each other more clearly, to see the very ground of our being.

~ Parker J. Palmer

One of the gifts of winter in these climes is the way the world around us slows and stills.  For many creatures winter is a time of hibernation or migration; seeds cast in the abundance of autumn lie dormant, waiting for spring.  It is an inside time for curling up by the fire, a time of deep replenishment and reflection – often hard to come by amidst the hectic pace of our days and the relentless attention to the communities, causes, and people we care about.

“Wintering Through: Explore Your Life’s Calling in the New Year” is an opportunity to experience the winter gifts of stillness and rest, of renewed clarity and mindful presence.  Grounded in the truths of your own stories and questions, and guided by the Circles of Trust® model based on the work of author and educator Parker J. Palmer, this Courage and Renewal® Retreat invites you to step with intention into a place apart, to pause from the frenetic pace of your regular days, and to explore in fresh ways the Big Questions of your lives – questions of identity, meaning, purpose, and calling.

WHEN: 9 A.M. – 4:00 P.M., SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2016

FACILITATORS: Cindy Johnson, Professor of Biology & Environmental Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College &  Chris Johnson, Courage & Renewal® Facilitator; founder & principal of The Milkweed Group, LLC

COST: Sliding scale $85-$135, includes Lunch and Materials; OPTIONAL OVERNIGHT LODGING IS AVAILABLE Fridya or Saturday for $45.

Click here:  Wintering Through


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Reserve Tickets Available! Parker Palmer & Carrie Newcomer – Healing the Heart of Democracy on February 27th at POI!

Reserve tickets available here!

At Prairie Oaks, we have the good fortune to be connected to many amazing people. Through our efforts to offer retreats and programming, we’ve been able to build relationships with some well-known authors, advocates, and change agents.

One of these amazing people is Parker Palmer, advocate, activist, and author of several books including: “The Courage to Teach,” “Let Your Life Speak,” and “Healing the Heart of Democracy.”  We appreciate Parker’s continuing support of our mission.

This year, Parker is making an even greater and more generous contribution to POI – he and Carrie Newcomer are coming to present their program “Healing the Heart of Democracy”.  A public event will be hosted at St John Lutheran church in Belle Plaine on the afternoon of Saturday, February 27th. That evening, Parker and Carrie will be guests at a private reception at Prairie Oaks. We are honored and excited to welcome them to Belle Plaine and to Prairie Oaks!

POI is proud to feature Courage and Renewal / Circles of Trust retreats, based on Parker’s ground-breaking work, as a key part of what we do.   It’s because of the generous support from people like you — and Parker — that POI can provide opportunities like these at affordable prices, and live out its vision to be a community-building catalyst.

We’ll provide more details soon on how you can attend both of these exciting events!

 


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Among the Trees: Lessons for Life from a Bur Oak

Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you, too, have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”

— Mary Oliver, When I am Among Trees

Come and dwell for a day in the quiet beauty of bur oak trees, and discover some of the lessons they can teach us about living more fully, more intentionally. Learn about the biology, ecology, even mythology of the bur oaks in their native savanna ecosystem. Listen to their wisdom for reconnecting with the natural world, and with yourself. Come away refreshed and renewed, more deeply rooted in the rich soil of your life.

WHEN: 9 A.M. – 4:30 P.M., SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2015

FACILITATORS: Cindy Johnson, Professor of Biology & Environmental Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College &  Chris Johnson, Courage & Renewal® Facilitator; founder & principal of The Milkweed Group, LLC

COST: $65 (INCLUDES LUNCH); OPTIONAL OVERNIGHT LODGING IS AVAILABLE ($40)

Click here:  Among the Trees Registration


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A Peace of My Mind Mini-Exhibition

Earlier in May, we were honored to have John Noltner co-lead a retreat at Prairie Oaks on the The Power of Story and the Courage to Change the World.  As part of the retreat, John shared a partial exhibit of his work from A Peace of My Mind.  The engaging black and white portraits put a spotlight on what peace means to each person, what inspires them, how they work peace and the challenges they have faced.  More about John’s work can be found here.

The photographs will be on display at Harvest House through the end of the month.

PicMonkey Collage