Engage 2022 Institutes & Premium Workshops


Our institutes and premium workshops will be presented on Wednesday, May 11 from 8AM – 5PM MDT (the day prior to the full conference experience.)

Institutes and premium workshops are available to all conference participants at an additional cost. As with the workshops and keynotes, you may select a virtual or in-person experience.

More institutes to be announced soon. Stay tuned!

Institutes & Premium Workshops

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - (08:00-17:00 MDT)

All times listed are in MDT. To convert to your own timezone, refer to this timezone converter.

Writer's Institute: Writing Your Story – Engaging the World

Join us for a day of creative inspiration and practical tips on sharing your story and ideas as a means of engaging more deeply with the world.

The prophets “understood the distinctive power of language, the capacity to speak in ways that evoke newness ‘fresh from the word.’”
Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination

We don’t all have to be prophets, yet writing can still be a powerful way for us to engage with the world, with the change that needs to happen, with the seekers who can move mountains, the marginalized who must be included, and the despairing and grieving who seek hope. Our words can speak to the heart of the sincerest human truths beyond the mass market superficiality and political divisiveness of our times. 

“The hope-filled language of prophecy, in cutting through the royal despair and hopelessness, is the language of amazement,” wrote Walter Brueggemann, reminding us that our words can speak truth to power and uplift and energize our communities.

One person’s words can inspire change for many. Writing also holds great potential for ourselves as a spiritual practice.

This institute will explore how you can engage both your inner and outer worlds through writing and how you can develop your writing personally and professionally.

Come and join us for an interactive day of writing with ample time for Q&R and discussion. Writers of all levels and in all forms are invited to join us, from beginners to experienced.

We will explore various approaches to free our natural flow of expression, bypass the inner critic, beat writer’s block, and find our most authentic voices. This is a process oriented workshop — we will not critique what you write and you don’t have to share any of your writing if you choose not to. 

We will also explore paths to publishing and invite a few participants to present their book idea for feedback in a brief “elevator pitch.” (We’ll tell you how to do this in the month before the Institute.)

Our presenters have decades of experience not only as authors, but as teachers who guide people in using writing as a contemplative spiritual act.

​Whether you journal or write poetry, want to write articles or blog posts, or you have a glimmer of an idea for a book, you will find encouragement and practical tips in this institute. Bring your questions… and a notebook and pen! Come ready to be inspired and leave with a vision for your next steps forward.

In the words of Walter Brueggemann: “What a commission it is to express a future that none think imaginable!”

Tania Casselle

Tania Casselle has been a writer and editor for 25+ years, published in books, magazines, newspapers and online media in the US, Europe and Asia. She is a committee chair for the American Society of Journalists & Authors and a senior teacher and mentorship director for the Sage Institute online Meditation & Mindfulness Leader training program. Her nonfiction, fiction, poetry and radio work have been recognized in numerous awards and anthologies. She holds a Masters in Transpersonal Psychotherapy, follows a contemplative path in the Zen Buddhist and Christian mystic traditions, and is an alumnus of Fr. Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation. As a writing coach and teacher, she works with people individually and in seminars and writing retreats in person and online. She helps writers on every level, teaching not just the craft and business of writing, but also exploring the deeper creative and spiritual impulse, helping writers free their natural writing voices and navigate internal blocks. A Brit from London, Tania lives in New Mexico.

Sean Murphy

Sean W. Murphy is a 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, an authorized Zen teacher (Sensei) in the American White Plum Lineage, and a member of the Spiritual Directors International Coordinating Council. His One Bird, One Stone: 108 Contemporary Zen Stories (Hampton Roads 2013), won the 2014 International Book Award in the Eastern Religions category. He is the award-winning author of three novels with Bantam Dell Books, receiving the Hemingway Award for a First Novel for The Hope Valley Hubcap King, the 2009 National Press Women’s Communication Award for The Time of New Weather, and the William Faulkner Wisdom Award for a novel-in-progress for his current project, Wilson’s Way. He is the founder of the nonprofit Sage Institute for Creativity & Consciousness, which hosts an innovative meditation leaders training program. He teaches writing and meditation at UNM-Taos. 

Eco-Spiritual Direction: Deep listening to Nature in the Spiritual Direction Relationship

We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe.” Thomas Berry.

We’ve forgotten that we are part of Nature and so the voice of the Sacred remains buried beneath a disconnected, distracted, destructive culture.  It is time to reclaim that connection, and it begins with remembering how to listen deeply to the more-than-human others.  We are connected with the trees and oceans, the hummingbirds and ants, the soil and springs through a mycelial network that is not only physical, but emotional, and spiritual.  And spiritual directors, perhaps more than any other vocational role in our current culture, possess a key to the necessary restoration of kindred relationality that has a chance of “unshattering” the universe.

Victoria Loorz, author of Church of the Wild:  How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred, will offer opportunities to develop or deepen your spiritual practices of  intimacy with nature.  Practices of deep listening, wandering, mirroring, full bodied emotion, poetry, dreamwork and conversation with particular places and beings become portals to re-member ourselves back into intimate, sacred relationship with the rest of the living world.

Spiritual leaders — and spiritual directors in particular — are desperately needed to accompany those in our communities who are experiencing disconnection, despair, and disillusion related to Earth’s groanings. Turns out, her groaning mirror our own and can offer a way through the despair into belonging, connection and even hope.

Through this daylong workshop, participants will be encouraged to seek beneath the urgent practical lifestyle adjustments necessary for a new way of relating to the natural world, into an intimacy, a relationship of lover and beloved, a deep belonging to your land, your place as sacred. 

Victoria Loorz

Victoria Loorz, MDiv, is a “wild church pastor,” an “eco-spiritual director” and co-founder of Seminary of the Wild and the ecumenical Wild Church Network.  Her book, Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred, is an invitation to deepen our commitment to a suffering earth by falling in love with it–and calling it church. Victoria feels most alive when collaborating with Mystery and kindred spirits to create opportunities for people to re-member themselves back into intimate, sacred relationship with the rest of the living world. Victoria lives in Bellingham Washington with a family of wild black-tailed deer who have become intimate friends.  Her young adult children, Alec and Olivia, are wise, creative, tender souls, dedicated to creating a more inclusive, compassionate, and just world. 

Anamchara: The Inner Mysteries of Sacred Friendship

The beautiful Gaelic word anamchara (also spelled anam cara), meaning “soul friend,” is one of the loveliest images for the ministry of spiritual companionship. St. Brigid is recorded as having said “Anyone without a soul friend is like a body without a head”  — but we could just easily turn that around: soul friendship is necessary for anyone who wants to cultivate a truly embodied spirituality, rather than something abstract and heady.

As wonderful as the Celtic soul friend tradition is, it’s hardly the only source we have for a spirituality of friendship. “I call you my friends,” Jesus famously said to his disciples. Mystics from Aelred of Rievaulx to Julian of Norwich to Howard Thurman have celebrated the power of friendship in their teaching. Many great spiritual teachers are renowned not only for their teachings, but indeed for their friendships: for just a couple of examples, consider Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross, Rumi and Shams, or the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

Our time together will be focused on personal and shared reflection as we explore the beauty and mystery of sacred, soul friendship, and its role in the ministry of spiritual accompaniment. Following the classic model of Love of the Divine, love of self, love of neighbor, and even love of enemy/adversary, we will draw on a variety of spiritual practices including tonglen, metta meditation, the examen, and centering prayer, to weave together reflection on the wisdom of friendship as found in sacred and mystical writings from around the world. Our goal will be simply to nurture our own souls in the beautiful waters of friendship, with an eye to reflecting together how we can bring the mysteries of divine friendship to our spiritual companions, in ways that are beautiful, gentle, kind, and healthy.

Wear comfortable clothing suitable for meditation and gentle stretching, and bring a journal.

Carl McColman

Carl McColman is a contemplative Christian spiritual director, author, blogger, and podcaster. He is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer introductory workshops and a popular speaker and retreat leader. His books include Eternal Heart, An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Learn more about Carl by visiting his website at www.anamchara.com.

Leadership Institute

Free to All Conference Attendees

This full-day institute is focused on formation and educational programs, and spiritual director and companion training more broadly. It is free to all conference attendees (a nominal charge for lunch is the only price of admission). A more detailed description of the institute is forthcoming. But we will definitely discuss issues concerning online training, the impact of the pandemic (and how we have coped) and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).

Presenters TBA


All times listed are in MDT. To convert to your own timezone, refer to this timezone converter.

More institutes to be announced soon. Stay tuned!

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