Living in the Layers:
Traveling Soul’s Way Through Poetry
A poem is an invitation into the many layers of soul through which we might discover our deep and varied selves, gain a greater understanding of and capacity for relationships with others, and cultivate a genuine correspondence with the earth. However, in a culture that has largely left the enjoyment of poetry to “experts,” many of us are reluctant to accept this invitation into unfamiliar terrain without a guide. Living in the Layers is such a resource: A method and curriculum for small group poetry education, this program serves as a soul guide through the world of poetry—that extraordinary realm in which we learn to discern invisible patterns and uncover buried riches that enable us to imbue life experiences with meaning.
Living in the Layers is ideal for small groups of individuals interested in gathering to discuss poetry in the context of life's deeper issues. With the guidance of a facilitator trained in maieutic (or midwifing) leadership, participants move together through a specially designed curriculum in which they encounter the layers—the themes, motifs, and stories—of a poem, and are encouraged to discover analogous layers within the world and within themselves. Uncovered, acknowledged, and examined, these typically invisible layers provide a basis for a more expansive and soulful response to life’s joys, difficulties, and uncertainties.
The curriculum—which includes both classic and contemporary poetry, evocative questions for discussion, opportunities for creative expression, and parallel materials (literature, art, film clips, and more that further elucidate encountered themes)—provides a unique platform for diving into the complexity of both individual and collective worlds. The course inspires shared insights among participants and offers an opportunity for the kind of personal reflection that leads to spiritual transformation.
Living in the Layers courses, which include facilitation and a downloadable curriculum, are currently available for small groups of six to fifteen participants. From single ninety-minute sessions to weekend-long retreats, we offer flexible meeting schedules, and can also customize curriculum themes to address specific organizational issues.