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Self-Guided Quiet Day

Rev. Cindy Garis Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development 419 Deerfield Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011


Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Note from the Author Dear participant, Advent is a full time for so many people… plans are being made, special holiday parties are occurring and don’t forget the shopping and gift-giving. Distractions abound! However, Advent is more than this. It is a time of waiting and watching, of holding and pondering, of reflecting and growing in this time often understood as “now, but not yet.” My hope is that through the prayer and preparation in these pages, you will experience an increased opening toward God this Advent season. I have a love for The Wizard of Oz, and while there are many ways to approach it (literary critique, movie review, etc.), I have found it holding themes of prayer for me. This is why I have entitled this quiet day Further Down the Yellow Brick Road. I have even developed and offered a weekend retreat using themes from the book and the movie entitled Beyond the Emerald City: Praying with the Wizard of Oz (see http://www/oasismin.org/Oz.html). Here, you are guided through your own time of quiet, reflection and mediation. The retreat was initially designed to take place on a Saturday from 9am – 2pm, with some breaks built-in as well as a time for lunch. May you take the time and space needed to allow you to be most present to the movement of the Holy Spirit in your midst. Some of the exercises described have been altered from the retreat day; in a retreat, reflection may have happened in a group or in pairs, here you are asked to journal or have time of personal reflection. My gratitude is extended to Rev. Paul Gennett, Jr., who invited me in to lead an Advent Retreat at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Newark, DE (http://www.stthomasparish.org/). One of the outcomes of his invitation is this booklet. Thank you, Paul, for believing in the work of God through Oasis Ministries and in my leadership. May God find you and accompany you on your Advent journey and always,

Cindy Rev. Cindy Garis P.S. I welcome your comments and questions via email at cindygaris@oasismin.org

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

About The Author Rev. Cindy Garis, M. Div., Executive Director for Oasis Ministries, serves Oasis as her primary call to ministry (since 2004), encouraging all to a deepening spiritual life. She is a spiritual director, a graduate of Oasis' two-year program, Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides. She received her M.Div. from Lancaster Theological Seminary (Lancaster, Pa.), and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ since 1999. Before her present position with Oasis, Cindy served as a co-pastor for six years to a congregation in Lebanon, Pa. She resides with her family in Dillsburg, Pa. In addition to pulpit supply, Cindy leads prayer retreats around the Wizard of Oz, visit www.oasismin.org/Oz.html to learn more. About Oasis Ministries Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development (Camp Hill, PA) is an ecumenical Christian ministry, embracing our multi-faith world, which nurtures contemplative ways for people to experience God in the unfolding of their lives. We bring together people who long to listen for and encounter the Holy Spirit, and invite them to center their everyday lives deep in God. Single-day gatherings, retreats, pilgrimages, short-term and long-term courses form individuals into communities that nurture quiet prayer and open up souls to discover and practice God s presence. Since 1988, we have been teaching people how to companion others on their spiritual journey, listening to people’s longings for Divine Love. Participants become excited about sharing the experience that has helped them come alive and given them new freedom and peace. Learn more at www.oasismin.org

Your Rights This resource is for your own PERSONAL USE ONLY. It cannot be sold, resold, redistributed, decompiled and then redistributed as your own original work, or similar. However, you can provide a link to the Oasis Ministries website (www.oasismin.org) anywhere you'd like, via email, on your own web page, through "tell a friend" scripts, etc. This is encouraged, but not required. If any of these terms are confusing to you, please feel free to contact the author at 717-737-8222 or cindygaris@oasismin.org and ask her about them, or any other questions you might have not answered.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Table of Contents Session 1: Welcome

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This section offers a brief overview of the contents as well as an opening prayer exercise. (30 minutes)

Session 2: Witch or Wizard?

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Praying Your Identity Do you know who you are and whose you are? We will look at living life authentically, who you have been created to be. This identity is the place in our lives that roots us and grounds us, and as Jesus knew who he was before he served (John 13:3-5), so should we. (1 hour)

Session 3: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! 14 Praying Your Fears and Obstacles There are always plenty of reasons we can say ‘no’ in our lives… fears and other obstacles deter us and keep us from moving down that path that God has invited us on. How do we address those challenges in our life? How do we say ‘yes’ to God in our every day? (1 hour)

Session 4: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

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Praying Your Direction and Discernment Like Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah, and so many in Scripture (including the Christ), prayer is involved in our not only saying ‘yes’ but moving forward with God. Where is God leading you? What is God’s invitation for you? (1 hour)

Session 5: Closing and Gratitude

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Thank you for participating. Go in peace. Closing out the day with a time of prayer.

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Session 1: Welcome How do you ‘do’ prayer? I’m not asking it as a ‘how to’ question, but how are your prayers active, incarnational. By incarnation, I mean, how are you embodying your prayer? Seeing Jesus as the incarnation of God means in his humanity he is divine. He is God with skin on. Perhaps a better question is “how do you become your prayer?” As we celebrate the Advent Season, preparing for ‘Immanuel: God With Us’ becomes a thought-provoking, action-challenging invitation. What difference does it make in your life to be in relationship with a ‘God with skin on?’ The focus of this retreat is on prayer; however, we will be drawing on themes from The Wizard of Oz to help us move through the questions of ‘so what?’ and ‘now what?’ You are invited to pray and play with the activities and sessions. Take notice of where God is in your midst.

Now, I invite you to find a quiet place, light a candle, and take a few deep breaths.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Slowly read the following reflection by poet Alla RenĂŠe Bozarth. . . . Be awake to the Life that is loving you and sing your prayer, laugh your prayer, dance your prayer, run and weep and sweat your prayer, sleep your prayer, eat your prayer, paint, sculpt, hammer and read your prayer, sweep, dig, rake, drive and hoe your prayer, garden and farm and build and clean your prayer, wash, iron, vacuum, sew, embroider and pickle your prayer, compute, touch, bend and fold but never delete or mutilate your prayer. Learn and play your prayer, work and rest your prayer, fast and feast your prayer, argue, talk, whisper, listen and shout your prayer, groan and moan and spit and sneeze your prayer, swim and hunt and cook your prayer, digest and become your prayer. Release and recover your prayer. Breathe your prayer. Be your prayer. As if watching a movie on a screen, reflect on the events and activities of your last twenty-four hours. Where have you been prayer? How have you been praying?

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Exercise: Daily Examination of Grace/Daily Examen* I appreciate this activity at the end of the day. It provides an opportunity for me to reflect and pause in deep gratitude for the day. At times, situations are reframed and experienced in a fresh way where God can be encountered in a new way. Paying Attention at the Beginning or End of the Day Invite the Christ, Light of the world, to walk with you as you rehearse the past twentyfour hours (or other recent time period), gently sifting through events and encounters. 1. GIFT (consolation): Give thanks for a gift or gifts of the day. Take a few minutes (as long as you need) to review the past 24 hours in your mind’s eye. Where did you notice God? Where did you experience Love? How were you attentive to God’s Presence? Celebrate God’s empowering love in/for the times when you gave love, or received love. 2. STRUGGLE (desolation): Notice times when you struggled to be loved, or loving. Take a few minutes (as long as you need) for a review of the past 24 hours in your mind’s eye. Where was it a challenge to be loving or to receive love? Notice, perhaps, some unrest in your soul, something unresolved in your heart. Where was there a time where God felt distant? Celebrate God’s undefeated love … and hear “I know that, and I love you.” “You are my beloved.” 3. INVITATION: Ask God, “What grace do I need to name and claim to be more whole, in this new day?” Take a few minutes (as long as you need) to be quiet and present to the Spirit. Allow a word or phrase—an image or metaphor—to come to mind. Begin to repeat it, slowly, in rhythm to your breathing, or visualize it if it is an image. Silence… Finish with a line of a poem or scripture or song. Consider: Taking some time to journal your 3-part examen… perhaps share with one other person, as comfortable (six to eight minutes). Conclude with a brief silent prayer for each other. *Adapted from The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Session 2: Witch or Wizard Praying Your Identity “ARE YOU A GOOD WITCH OR A BAD WITCH?” OR "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN"

Pause and take a deep breath. Maybe light a candle to help you to focus and be present to this space. Take a moment to reflect on which character in the Wizard of Oz you are drawn to. It can be a character from the book or the movie. Any character. Write it down.

Reflect on the one you wrote down. Why? Why were you drawn to that character? How do you identify with that character? Now set it aside. Read through the “On Authenticity” quotes on the next two pages. Choose one that draws you in. Which one is highlighted for you, speaks to you, or disturbs you?

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

On Authenticity “It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.” No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever.” ― Richard Rohr “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” ― May Sarton “Transformation is my favorite game and in my experience, anger and frustration are the result of you not being authentic somewhere in your life or with someone in your life. Being fake about anything creates a block inside of you. Life can’t work for you if you don’t show up as you.” ― Jason Mraz “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” ― Ben Okri “There was once a man who lost his shadow. I forget what happened to him, but it was dreadful. As for me, I've lost my own image. I did not look at it often; but it was there, in the background, just as Maurice had drawn it for me. A straightforward, genuine, "authentic" woman, without mean-mindedness, uncompromising, but at the same time understanding, indulgent, sensitive, deeply feeling, intensely aware of things and of people, passionately devoted to those she loved and creating happiness for them. A fine life, serene, full, "harmonious." It is dark: I cannot see myself anymore. And what do the others see? Maybe something hideous.” ― Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed “Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can't imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening.” ― Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

On Authenticity (continued) “when the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer “Without fear I can acknowledge that the authentic Christian tension is not between life and death, but between life and life.” ― Brennan Manning, Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging Your own definition? What does it mean to live authentically? *****

Did you select your quote or phrase? Maybe read it out loud, perhaps, or write out the quote or a phrase that highlights or ‘shimmers’ for you. Got it? Now retrieve the name of the character you identified from The Wizard of Oz earlier in this section. Place that name next to the “On Authenticity” phrase that was highlighted for you. Do you notice any correlations or similarities? How does it speak to your sense of identity or understanding of yourself? Notice how we often judge ourselves or others in a harsh way. Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz is a good example. See these two exchanges she has: Glinda: “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Dorothy: “Why I am not a witch at all. My Aunt Em says witches aren’t any more – witches are old and ugly” {the munchkins laugh} “Why are the laughing?” Glinda: “They are laughing because I am a witch.” Dorothy: “You are? But you’re beautiful.”

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

And, again, Dorothy challenges the Wizard: Dorothy: “I think you are a very bad man.” Wizard: “Oh, no, my dear; I'm really a very good man, but I'm a very bad Wizard, I must admit.” The reality is that the questions are not either/or. It is not about whether you are a good witch or a bad witch. We are both! We are human beings, perfectly so and imperfectly so. Like the Wizard, we, too, are good people, but perhaps not so good at being magical. When it comes to understanding who you are and whose you are, you are invited to move beyond the persona you present to others and/or care about how others perceive you. You are more than how others define you. Have you noticed that each of the main characters in The Wizard of Oz already had what they were seeking even before finding the Wizard? Like them, you already have what you need.

What does God think of you? How does it impact your sense of self, your identity?

“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.” ― Richard Rohr

Take some time of quiet for reflection. Read Psalm 139.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Psalm 139 1

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

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For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: “May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.” But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death. Well, you and I don’t have to kill ourselves. We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want to you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, "You are my Beloved." -- Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -- Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

After reading Psalm 139 and the above quotes, take some time for quiet reflection. What message do you hear for your life and identity? Consider: Watch a video of Henri Nouwen sharing about being beloved http://youtu.be/SFWfYpd0F18

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Exercise: “Who Are You?” This exercise can be very powerful when done as a conversation between two people. It is presented here as a dialogue on paper... a dialogue with yourself or with God. Pause in silence. Breathe deeply. Write: Other: Who are you? Me: I am ___________________{fill in the blank with a word or two about you} Other: God is loving. God loves you. {pause} Other: Who are you? …. continue from beginning The simple series of “Who are you?” “I am ___” “God is loving” or “God loves you” response Continues through until it comes to a natural point of stopping. I encourage you to go through it at least 5 times. There is no magical formula, but you do not want to stop short. Often it has a bit of an experience of peeling back the layers. Try to be honest with yourself. Keep your “I am” responses to a single word or a short phrase. (If you are doing with another person, when offering the ‘God is loving’ or ‘God loves you’ response that is all you are to say. No additional commentary about the person’s sense of themselves.) When you come to a time of completion, sit in silence. Then offer a prayer. Take a break. copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Session 3: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Praying Your Fears and Obstacles I must tell you that this section is what first opened me to exploring how to pray with The Wizard of Oz themes. When watching the section in which the Oz companions share their “lions and tigers and bears” mantra, I found myself pondering how they addressed their fears. It is a very interactive session. Thank you for the opportunity to share in the journey together.

There are always plenty of reasons we can say ‘no’ in our lives… fears and other obstacles deter us and keep us from moving down that path that God has invited us on. How do we address those challenges in our life? How do we say ‘yes’ to God in our every day? You know the haunted forest feeling. There are times where you know you are being invited to move forward, but it is scary and dark. Sometimes, the fears may even include the obstacle of a Wicked Witch of the West in your life saying, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.” “Every morning,” Mary Oliver writes, “I walk like this around the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart ever close, I am as good as dead. Every morning, so far, I’m still alive.” Fears and anxieties close our hearts. In all of the uncertainties of the Advent season, the one phrase we hear regularly from the heavens is “Fear not!” This section is about facing the fears with the hope of encountering God. Consider: The Psalms offer wonderful, poetic language of prayers for so many emotions. If you are feeling that God is absent and you are afraid, you might begin with Psalm 22 then Psalm 42. copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Take a deep breath. Sit in a moment of silence. 1. Take a piece of paper and write down all of the things you are afraid of, everything that feels like an obstacle to growth in your life or growing in your relationship with God. What keeps you from being your best self? 2. Watch the "LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS, OH MY” segment from The Wizard of Oz. As you watch it, I ask you to notice how the travelers address their fears. What do they do? What happens because of their response? Where do you notice God in it? If you have the DVD of the movie, it is 48 minutes into the movie, or can also be accessed from the ‘select a scene’ menu. If you do not, have access to the movie, at least take a look at this short clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NecK4MwOfeI 3. Take a moment to record your reflections. How might it speak to ‘praying your fears or obstacles?’

“The fears that assault us are mostly simple anxieties about social skills, about intimacy, about likeableness, or about performance. We need not give emotional food or charge to these fears or become attached to them. We don’t even have to shame ourselves for having these fears. Simply ask your fears, “What are you trying to teach me?” Some say that FEAR is merely an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” ― Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

What struck me in this part of the movie is that the companions do not turn and run. The fears surface and they name them together. They share their fears. Then what? They link arms and walk forward… boldly… together. In fact, the fear-naming becomes a rhythm, a mantra, a grounding phrase that transforms from scary-sounding thought to empowering gift. So often we feel alone in our struggles and our fears and our anxieties. But over the numerous times I have led portions of this retreat, I have written down on newsprint as the group shouts out fears and then what they noticed in the clip. The newsprint lists from group to group are nearly identical. We are human beings and struggle with the same things. According to my informal data gathering, We fear…  being alone, loneliness  failure  success  expectations  the future, the unknown  falling apart, complete break-down  aging  embarrassment, what would they think  being vulnerable  being different We wrestle with the obstacles of …  not believing in my goodness  low self-esteem, self-doubt  finances, lack of  diminishment (with aging)  forgetfulness  care-giving (and resentment of)  laziness  lack of time

What was noticed in the clip… sometimes you have to take a stand face your fears, identify and take ownership of it there is strength in numbers, often easier when shared believe in the vision beyond the fear hope trust things do not always turn out as bad as we imagine

How similar were your lists?

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Consider: Taking the list of your fears and prayerfully burning the paper in a bowl, as an offering, a releasing to God.

Exercise: Breath Prayers Sometimes it is very difficult to “pray without ceasing” and to pray our fears. However, you are invited to do ‘breath prayers’ as a way of releasing some of the anxiety that comes with fears and obstacles. It is a simple form of prayer that goes with you anywhere you breathe. Find a bit of quiet or silence. Simply choose one of the phrases below (or make your own) and find yourself saying in your mind or aloud the first part of the pairing as you INHALE, and the second part when you EXHALE. Repeat for five minutes (or two or ten or twenty depending on what time constraints you have.) Do it before you go into a meeting, or when you get in the car, are in a traffic jam, before going to bed… anytime. Try it now. Breath Prayer Suggestions (from Spirit Windows by Ann Z. Kulp) [Breathe In/Breathe Out]

          

Choose/Life (Deut. 30:19) The Lord/ goes before [me] (Deut. 31:8) Beside still water/the Lord leads me (Psalm 23) For God alone/my soul waits in silence (Psalm 62:1) Be Still/and know (Psalm 46:10) In quietness and in trust/shall be [my] strength (Isa. 30:15) I have called you by name/you are mine (Isa. 43:1) Lord Jesus Christ/have mercy on me (The Jesus Prayer) Breathe on me/breath of God (hymn) Fill me/with life anew (hymn) Consider: So much of our prayerful Jesus loves me!/This I know (hymn) work around fear and anxiety is

Take a break.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

learning to let go, release, relinquish. For a wonderful Sufi story of transformation and surrender check out http://bit.ly/SC8oBS

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Session 4: Follow the Yellow Brick Road Praying Your Direction and Discernment The travelling companions in the Oz story journey down the yellow brick road together. Each of them longing to get to a place beyond the Emerald City. Once they step off on their journey, they really want more than a destination. So, too, we in Advent are looking for more than the watching, waiting, preparing, and so forth that comes with this season. We open ourselves in this place between the “now” and “not yet” to listen for God’s leading. Like Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah, and so many in Scripture (including the Christ), prayer is involved in our not only saying ‘yes’ but moving forward with God. Where is God leading you? What is God’s invitation for you? Like the friends in the story, we are on the same path/journey with different needs, different experiences of God. Where do you notice God in the Wizard of Oz story? Is it in Glinda? Dorothy? Toto? the Wizard? the Wicked Witch of the West? another? Sit for a moment and reflect on ways you notice God in your own life. Where do you encounter Love? grace? healing? mystery? Do you find that your experience the movement of God in Scripture? in music? in nature? in others? in yourself? somewhere else? Take some time right now and journal or reflect on how you best hear/see/notice/experience God’s ‘still small voice’ in your life.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Read the quotes below. And Isaiah 40 on the next page. “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more.” – Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz “The journey is essential to the dream.” – St. Francis of Assisi Christ Has No Body Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. - Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Isaiah 40:21-31 The Message (MSG) 21-24

Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven't you heard these stories all your life? Don't you understand the foundation of all things? God sits high above the round ball of earth. The people look like mere ants. He stretches out the skies like a canvas— yes, like a tent canvas to live under. He ignores what all the princes say and do. The rulers of the earth count for nothing. Princes and rulers don't amount to much. Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted, They shrivel when God blows on them. Like flecks of chaff, they're gone with the wind. 27-31

25-26

"So—who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?" says The Holy. Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name —so magnificent! so powerful!— and never overlooks a single one?

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.

Take some time of quiet or silence. Just sit with it all. Space to listen.

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Exercise: Praying with the Labyrinth "Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love." - Caroline Adams

We are all on the path... exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. It is a metaphor for life's journey. Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out. A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again. A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path. At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are. There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. Information courtesy of www.lessons4living.com/index.htm copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Advent is a time for action, for listening and discernment, not simply busyness and bustling. Read through the information on labyrinth walking and intentions above and below. You are invited then to walk the labyrinth as your road on discernment and decisionmaking. Perhaps you are at some cross-roads, or you simply desire to be open to where God is leading‌ the invitation is to participate fully, and simply do it. If you do not know of a labyrinth near you, you could seek one out near you through the World-wide Labyrinth Locator: http://labyrinthlocator.com/ They do not have every one listed, so it is also good to check with a local worship community or clergy, or ask around. Sometimes they are tucked away in plain sight. use a finger labyrinth There is one included in this booklet. It can be printed out or done on a computer screen. Beware, sometimes I think it is more challenging to do one on a page, because we rush the process to get to the middle. Remember it is the same threefold process (see below) when you are walking it with your feet or fingers.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Approaches to the Labyrinth Participating in the labyrinth is like Taking a thoughtful walk Going on a symbolic journey or pilgrimage Taking part in a religious dance There are three movements to the labyrinth, and you are free to make of them whatever you like: Moving Inward Centering Moving Outward Please use these suggestions if you find them appropriate. You might want to select one from each movement and try it, or create your own rhythm to each of the movements. Using all the suggestions at once is overwhelming. Moving Inward (A time to cast off, discard, divest, unwrap, forget) 1. Discard our many roles (mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother, student, accountant, teacher, pastor) and simply say "I am." 2. Leave the noise, demands, voices around us, and enter a soothing silence. 3. Unload our guilt, resentment, self-hatred, failures, depression, shame, and forgive ourselves. 4. Set aside all the things we think we want and need, hoping to find what God wants. 5. Leave the familiar world of day-to-day living for a different experience. 6. Choose to ignore all our ideas about God and theology, and return to the beginning of our faith. 7. Reject the anxious desire to get the most out of the labyrinth, simply becoming open and expectant.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Centering (A time to be open, expectant, empty, naked, and receptive, as though we were receiving a gift) 1. Take the risk of recognizing an emptiness within ourselves that only love can fill. 2. Enjoy the silence, stillness, waiting, and the simplicity of nothing happening. 3. Take time to listen to an inner voice or to nothing or to mystery. 4. Contemplate the blessing of the hidden nature of God who cannot be fully known, cannot be manipulated, cannot be made into an idol, cannot be pinned down, contained or tamed. 5. Consider the possibility of the new, the miraculous, the transfiguring entering our lives. 6. Remember that the Holy Spirit, like the wind, blows where she will.

Moving Outward (A time to gain direction, satisfaction, comfort, and new energy) 1. Decide to continue a journey deeper into the love of Christ. 2. Refuse to take up again the guilt and hatred of the past. 3. Seek a simpler and more focused life. 4. Rest in the knowledge of God's unconditional love. 5. Move away from anxiety toward peace and faith. 6. Seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Information from http://www.sundayschoollessons.com/ftlab.htm

Pause in silence. Breathe deeply. Go walk slowly, prayerfully.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Take a break.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Session 5: Closing and Gratitude O God, may we know ever so deep in our beings that we belong. We belong to you. We belong to your Body. We belong to each other. May that sense of belonging change us from the inside out, and ripple out to those we meet. Amen. To Listen, To Look By Ann Weems Is it all sewn up – my life? Is it at this point so predictable, so orderly, so neat, so arranged, so right, that I don’t have time or space for listening for the rustle of angels’ wings or running to stables to see a baby? Could this be what he meant when he said Listen, those who have ears to hear… Look, those who have eyes to see? O God, give me the humbleness of those shepherds Who saw in the cold December darkness The Coming of Light The Advent of Love! You are encouraged to write yourself a letter, put it in an envelope and give it to friend to send to you at Christmas. In the letter include simply a note to you on what you gleaned from this day and what your prayer is for the coming month. May it grow in you. Continue to light candles, pause, breathe and set aside time for silence.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road An Advent Prayer Retreat – A Self-Guided Quiet Day

Resources The images used in this booklet are royalty-free and copy-right free images. The book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum(1900) is in the public domain, and copies of the original W. W. Denslow illustrations were used in this booklet. If you enjoyed this retreat resource, please know that Cindy welcomes your feedback at cindygaris@oasismin.org, or at www.oasismin.org/Oz.html. Please consider supporting resources like this through making a contribution to Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development. Donations can be made by mail via check payable to Oasis Ministries, 419 Deerfield Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011 by phone via credit card at 717-737-8222 online at http://www.oasismin.org/Donation.htm Also please note, that Cindy will be leading a full 6-session Oz retreat, February 15-16, 2013 in Waynesboro, PA. Please see http://www.oasismin.org/Oz.htmlfor details. Thank you again for your participation. May you be richly blessed.

copyright(c)2012 Cindy Garis

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Further Down the Yellow Brick Road  

A Self-Guided Advent Quiet Day

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