Trusting the inner compass
Leading retreats has been a perennial feature of my work over the last twenty years. I really enjoy working with groups exploring various themes around the seasonality of our ordinary lives. My last retreat, just before lockdown, was for a community called Contemplative Fire entitled the Art of Noticing – exploring the inner and outer world. This is what one of the participants wrote about her experience:
‘I found Adrian’s introductory session on Friday evening settling and encouraging, and quickly relaxed into the silence. Over the course of the input sessions he used readings of poetry – his and other’s – alongside storytelling and anecdotes. His willingness to share his own weaknesses and vulnerability immediately make it possible for others to do the same.’
I have covered many and various themes in my retreats such as Dreams, the Natural World, Anxiety and Vulnerability, Writing Down the Soul, The Passages of Life and Working with the Seasons.
Poetry Sharings, Workshops and Writing Groups
I have done many readings and sharings. I am very happy to work with small groups or in larger settings such as conferences and festivals, in person or online. These are by nature occasional as I always try and remain faithful to my primary work of writing.
I lead two writing groups and we are always happy to welcome new members. These sessions are every couple of months and each group has between 6-9 people. A volume of Poetry from these groups called The Rivelin Writers Volume One is available on this site. The groups are being conducted online at the moment. I am at present a regular contributor to an online event called Men Behaving Vulnerably. I love to work in Cafes, both to write and perform and up until lockdown was involved in a project called the Wednesday Word Smithy at Cafe #9 in Sheffield.
I had my first photographic and poetic exhibition at the Art House in Sheffield entitled Sheffield As I See It in December 2019. I was booked for two other exhibitions in Sheffield but unfortunately covid intervened.
Acting as a guide to groups and organisations, on an occasional basis, has been part of my work for many years. One example of this was with an organisation called RODA (relatives of Drug abusers), I advised on strategy, supporting the staff and mentoring individuals.
I recently worked with ASSIST, a charity that helps asylum seekers in Sheffield. I completed a history project about the founding of the organisation, interviewing, photographing and writing poetry about the founders. This was presented at the annual meeting.
I have also recently been working with Aviva’s Corporate Social Responsibility team. I led two retreats for them, one in person and one online. I also conducted one to one explorations with some of the team. I try to use Poetry as a conduit to a creative and safe space to explore uncertainty, courageousness and creativity.
This is what the team leader David wrote about the work we have done together –
‘We’ve worked with Adrian for over 2 years now. He’s helped us facilitate deep personal and strategic reflection and development sessions on team away days, as well as really effective follow up 121 coaching. Adrian combines years of professional experience with a poets eye for the simple truth hidden in plain sight. By creating a unique safe but brave space he’s helped us explore a wealth of insight and opportunity that is both personally fulfilling and pragmatic in the workplace as we seek to grow our responsible and sustainable business. Many organisations are trying to find their purpose, Adrian’s knack is to use the often untapped power of art and wisdom to hold the mirror just so – so you can see what’s staring you in the face’.
I have found that there are four key skills that this work demands. I work with a commitment to a robust vulnerability – offering a space to explore safe uncertainty – an understanding of ongoing discernment regarding themes and archetypes – and an ability to read the field. These elements are ones I have sought to develop and continue to be guided in as I go forward. I have a series of reflections about these elements on my Blog Page.
See also the Spiritual Direction and Events pages of this section for more.