Patrick Oliver’s

SOUL SCHOOL

Reflecting prayerfully upon life’s journeys

“Soul School” is dedicated to helping the rediscovery of our soul, through the lens of the best of the Christian tradition. Patrick
regards the soul as our capacity to be truly present to those around us, and to the world in which we live – and therefore our capacity
to be truly present to the grace of God in which we’re held.

These courses are aimed at assisting us to befriend our soul – perhaps for the first time, or perhaps after a long period of inner drought.

They are designed to help us celebrate the movements of God’s grace within and around us through the years, whether or not we were able perceive these as grace at the time.

Each series is strongly undergirded by a practical and deep appreciation of the scriptures, which Patrick sees as a description of the “meta-story” of what it means to be transformed gradually into becoming fully human, and so more open to the fullness of grace.

Payment is preferred by direct deposit in a lump sum at the end of the series of presentations, if possible. Please put your name in the “Reference” section of the bank transfer form, so I can know from whom I am receiving the payment.


Name: Patrick Oliver BSB: 484799 A/c no: 031918974

LENTEN AND ADVENT RETREAT DAYS

QUIET AFTERNOONS AT KENMORE

Patrick has been facilitating Quiet Afternoons at Kenmore Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit for some years now. This year he has been asked to present two retreat afternoons in Lent and one in Advent 2023. This is open to anyone who wishes to have some time to receive some input, to reflect and to quietly pray within the beautiful setting of Kenmore church grounds.

First Lenten Retreat afternoon:
Saturday 11th March 2023 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Second Lenten Retreat afternoon :
Saturday 25th March 2023 1.30pm – 4.30pm

“Preparing for Christmas” Advent Retreat afternoon:
Saturday 9th December 2023 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Venue: Kenmore Brookfield Anglican Church 1036 Moggill Road Kenmore.

Please notify Carol Streatfield if you wish to come. Her email is carolstreat@hotmail.com.

There is no cost to the afternoon. However a donation is very welcome.

DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELL

REFLECTING UPON GRACE THROUGH OUR YEARS

(by Zoom, fortnightly Friday mornings)

As a spiritual director, I have encountered many people who for whatever reason have found that they may have outgrown traditional church structures, and can be uncomfortable with literal renditions of dogma and belief. Yet I find that often these are people who have let life and grace teach them, and who through their joys and struggles have come to a depth of compassion and faith that is beautiful and rich.

This zoom gathering aims to bring people together who have been reflecting on their journeys of faith, but may be scattered far and wide in geographical terms. My hope is that they can find some links with others who share their deep desire to reflect and live in tune with the Gospel authentically, gracefully and mercifully.

This is a follow-on from three enjoyable series that were held during 2022.

During these sessions, I have used some input as a starting point for reflection and sharing. Participants last year have said that it was helpful as a review of life through the eyes of the soul, rather than through the traditional eyes of theology or scriptural literality. My aim is to encourage people to have confidence in what life has taught them, and that indeed, they may well have been living out the spirit of what’s expressed in the gospels, without actually naming it as such. During the sessions, there will be opportunities for participants to interact and to share what they have come to in their journey, and to savour gems of wisdom from others.

Friday mornings 10.00am – 11.30am (Brisbane time)

Series I:
3rd February, 17th February, 3rd March, 17th March, 31st March

Series II:
21st April, 5th May, 19th May, 2nd June, 16th June

Series III:
14th July, 28th July, 11th August, 25th August, 8th September

Series IV:
6th October, 20th October, 3rd November, 17th November, 1st December

A minimum number of 10 participants is required.

Cost per series: $20 per session x 5 weeks = $100

RSVP for first series: Saturday 28th January, to patrickoliver01@gmail.com.

DREAMS: A PRAYERFUL APPROACH

(by Zoom, over five Wednesday mornings)

In my work of spiritual direction and companioning, I have found dreams to be a consistent help for listening to the soul. Dreams aren’t concerned about whether a person has the “right” vocabulary about God or churchy things, but they constantly try to take us into a more conscious awareness of opportunities to participate in Love and life.

It has been a privilege for me to have listened to many thousands of dreams through the years, and I’m always amazed at the creativity and ingenuity that they bring forth. Dreams can be like a lighthouse, beckoning us through those times when perhaps everything else has seemed to turn to night.

We may think we have simply “crazy” or “stupid” dreams – yet experience has taught me that it is often the most stupid or crazy scenarios in dreams that can offer clues to wake us up to how we get stuck in one-sided perceptions. In fact, this is what the purpose of dreams seems to be: to move us from a constricted view of reality, into a much more life-giving appreciation of ourselves, others and God.

It has been my experience that dreams mirror the great Gospel themes of reconciliation, grace, healing, love and participation in our life both individually and communally. They draw us into the arena where we experience that there actually is a life within us that we do not make happen, and that this life (the Spirit of God) calls us to forget ourselves and to enter into the divine Dance. Dreams are a “little door” into the recesses of the soul.

Content of these weeks will include:

  • The purpose of dreams from a soul perspective
  • The relationship of dreams and prayerfulness
  • Examples of common themes within dreams
  • How to listen contemplatively to your dreams
  • Opportunities for participants to share their dreams if they wish

9.00am – 12.00 midday (Brisbane time)

Wednesdays 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st May

A minimum number of 8 participants is required.

Cost per series: $30 per session x 5 weeks = $150

RSVP for first series: Sunday 23rd April, to patrickoliver01@gmail.com.

INTERESTED IN A DREAM GROUP?

Would you like to be part of a regular dream group? It would meet for one and a half hours approximately each fortnight during the school terms, and would need 5-6 regular participants to make it “work”.

The gift of a dream group lies in it being able to call upon differing personalities, insights and backgrounds, to help the dreamer sense out what their dream might be saying to them.

If you would like to be part of one and are able to give a level of commitment to it, could you please email me on patrickoliver01@gmail.com and stipulate a preferred day/s (Thursdays are unavailable). I can then see whether we have a critical number to move forward with it. The dream group would work through zoom, as it would allow participants from various parts of the countryside to link in with others.

Alternatively, if you would like to form a group consisting of your friends and like-minded others, then something could be worked out to suit your timetable and mine!

If you would like to organize a little face-to-face group to study the enneagram using Patrick’s approach, then feel free to contact him to arrange dates and times, at a venue that is convenient for you.

THE ENNEAGRAM: A PRAYERFUL APPROACH

(by Zoom, over five Wednesday mornings)

My presentation of the enneagram is called “The Infinite Circle of Grace”. Rather than making pathology the starting point (“what’s wrong with me?”), I make the beginning point the fact of our being fashioned in the image of God. Rather than starting with the personality question “Who am I?” I begin with the contemplative question of personhood: “Whose am I?”

I describe the differing ways in which we’re born to mirror qualities of God, and how they are given as gifts to be shared for the world. From there, I explore the different aspects of Divine Love, and how in our differences we reflect the beauty, fragility and strength of the Body of Christ.

A particular aspect of “The Infinite Circle of Grace” is its focus upon understanding our own and others’ soul-pain, and how this pain can serve to be a meeting place with Jesus, like the Samaritan Woman’s experience at the well. “The Infinite Circle of Grace” also presents a different way of understanding how in both the Glare and the Gaze, we move around the circle in response to Love’s invitation, to taste the worlds of spaces different from our own preferred space or “nest”.

“The Infinite Circle” is such a helpful resource in spiritual maturing, for it assists us to grow ever more sensitive to the movements of grace. It helps us to recognize how grace has waited to meet us in moments when we feared we were most alone.

Content of these weeks will include:

  • Seeing ourselves as within the Infinite Circle of Grace
  • Ways in which we lose a sense of belonging to the Circle
  • Soul pain and our behaviours, as described through the enneagram
  • Conversion through life circumstances
  • Prayer and our longing for home

9.00am – 12.00 midday (Brisbane time)

Wednesdays 16th August, 23rd August, 30th August,
6th September and 13th September

A minimum number of 8 participants is required.

Cost per series: $30 per session x 5 weeks = $150

RSVP for first series: Sunday 6th August, to patrickoliver01@gmail.com.

READING SCRIPTURE FROM A SOUL PERSPECTIVE

(by Zoom, over five Wednesday mornings)

Scripture has been used, misused and abused for centuries across all religions and denominations. So often it has devolved into food fights about correct interpretations of texts that favour this or that particular viewpoint or bias.

This zoom series of five mornings looks at a way that largely has been ignored as the years have gone by, yet this approach has been present in the various religions. Its focus is not so much upon historical accuracies, literal meanings or even trying to find abstruse messages hidden within the texts. Rather, a soul or poetic approach can open up what is written in the scriptures to a larger and much richer level of meaning.

To me, the scripture is what I call the meta-story of humanity. It paints the overarching sweep of the human journey, and provides us with a pattern within which we can make sense of our individual smaller stories. Yes, we read the biblical text, but it’s true also that we are the biblical text in whatever moment and space we find ourselves. Our little lives contain all the warp and woof of the scriptures, in all its beauty and terror, its sophistication and rawness, and its ecstasy and earthiness.

Content of these weeks will include:

  • What is a soul or poetic approach to scripture
  • What we can learn from a soul approach
  • Helpful points to remember when approaching scripture in this way
  • Letting the scriptures read you

9.30am – 11.00am (Brisbane time)

Wednesdays 18th October, 25th October, 1st November,
8th November, 15th November

A minimum number of 8 participants is required.

Cost per series: $25 per session x 5 weeks = $125

RSVP for first series: Monday 9th October, to patrickoliver01@gmail.com.