Upcoming retreat

On March 23, the Benet House Retreat Center/St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island will host a retreat called Working with the Sacred Medicine Wheel. The Benet House is located atop a hill with views of a lake, woods and walking paths.

In our modern world, we often look to high-tech options to help us overcome challenges. Licensed mental health counselor and shamanic practitioner Kathleen Collins instead offers an ancient method for problem solving.

On March 23, the Bettendorf woman will lead a retreat, teaching her methods at the Benet House Retreat Center/St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island. These methods are based on what is known as the Sacred Medicine Wheel.

The retreat, Working with the Sacred Medicine Wheel, is an exploration of this ancient method. The Sacred Medicine Wheel utilizes the four directions which correspond to four aspects of our lives: the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

According to Collins, this retreat will be a gentle, effective practice and exploration that will allow participants to see where they are experiencing imbalance in these areas.

“We can see where we give energy — to the physical, via working out, attention to diet — and no time focused on spiritual at all. Imbalance would occur, and healing is needed by spending time in the direction lacking,” Collins says.

She says the wheel has been used everywhere in the world.

“The ‘sacred circle’ is used for varying purposes by different cultures,” she says.

Collins adds that one of the reasons the Medicine Wheel has stood the test of time is because it works. By going around the wheel, participants will see where they spend their time and where they don't, she says.

“This work is so simple and so helpful for folks, and the Medicine Wheel can be used for many things, including problem solving, which is so helpful since people can be lacking assurance in their lives,” she says.

One thing she has found, she says, is that people often will refer to themselves as spiritual, yet they spend no time doing spiritual things. They also will overdo in the mental and physical aspects of their lives, which surprises people when they do this kind of work, she says. 

Collins says retreat participants can expect an interactive and experiential day, “conducive to truly learning the work and enjoying it.” Participants will learn more about themselves and gain knowledge that will help in all aspects of their lives, she says. They will learn about the four directions and their place on each of them, as well as how to use this knowledge to create balance within their own lives.

Collins says the work that happens at the retreat can be just the beginning for participants.

“This work can open one up for more ancient, deep, symbolic work that makes life more rich,” she says.

Participants are encouraged to bring a notebook and pen, a blanket to sit on, rattle if you have one, two questions or concerns you have about your life and “an open heart.”

Collins speaks highly of the retreat setting.

“It is a lovely, healing space in and of itself. It is a retreat center run by beautiful, devoted sisters,” she says.

Lunch will be provided during the retreat, and Collins suggests walking the grounds of Benet House during lunch or following the retreat. The Benet House is located atop a hill with views of a lake, woods and walking paths.

Collins has practiced alternative approaches to healing for 20 years and is a graduate of Western Illinois University, with a Master of Science in education in counseling; the Foundation for Shamanic Studies (Michael Harner’s School: The Way of the Shaman) and the Lynn Andrews School of the Sacred Art. She also studied Celtic Shamanism with Tom Cowan and completed energetic studies with Dr. Norm Shealy and Caroline Myss. 

For more information about Collins, visit kathleencollinscounseling.com.

The retreat will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 23 at the Benet House Retreat Center/St. Mary Monastery, 2200 88th Ave. West., Rock Island. Registration is $60 and includes lunch. To register, and for more information, visit smmsisters.org/retreats-and-programs.

Chris Cashion is a regular Radish contributor. 

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