Drinking from Poetry’s Well: David Whyte and Dr. Catherine Meeks

Hendersonville, NC
Oct. 10-12
Event Title
Drinking from Poetry’s Well: David Whyte and Dr. Catherine Meeks
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Kanuga – Register Here
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Drinking from Poetry’s Well: The Search for Freedom, Hope, and Healing” invites us to begin an inner soul journey leading to sustainable life and peace. When we allow ourselves to search for common ground rather than being overly focused upon our differences as humans traveling on this island home trying to make sense of the journey, we find amazing pathways to freedom and wellness.

The 2023 Lansing Lee Conference welcomes two major thought leaders, Poet/Philosopher, David Whyte and Racial Healing, Wellness Advocate, and Mid-Wife to the Soul, Dr. Catherine Meeks. Both will share from the rich well of experience that has taught them about freedom and well-being. The Rev. Winnie Varghese will serve as chaplain.

In our time together, Meeks and Whyte will share from their understanding of the meaning of this inner soul journey for themselves, with the hope and intention of encouraging participants to continue or reimagine the way forward as pilgrims on such a journey.

The lives of Whyte, an Irish/English male and Meeks, an African American female, began thousands of miles apart; however they have happily found that much of their way of thinking and being in the world intersects beautifully. Whyte has been a mentor to Meeks for more than two decades. Upon finally meeting, they realized their kinship as fellow human beings was greater than their physical and cultural differences.

Since early childhood, Meeks and Whyte have each been on soul journeys that—while staying present to their souls—have profoundly revealed and affirmed the necessity of discerning which paths lead to becoming more human.

This work is universal and defies all artificial boundaries constructed around race, class, gender, physical ability or inability, age, or intellectual ability, because the soul is not bound by such limitations. It is this universal search—guided by the heart’s hunger to be free—that has led Whyte and Meeks across many mountains, rivers, and valleys to this place of commonality defying the bondage of boundaries and demanding freedom’s release.

Though each is aware of and can celebrate their physical and cultural specificities, both have been open to the inner journey of exploring questions, fears, hopes, joys, defeats and all other invitations to seek truth. Identifying with one’s cultural narrative alone is insufficient to support the soul’s quest, and we must welcome the truth when it knocks on the soul’s door.

Dr. Catherine Meeks is Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. A sought-after teacher and workshop leader, Dr. Meeks brings four decades of experience in working to dismantle racism. The core of her work has been with people who have been marginalized because of economic status, race, gender or physical ability as they pursue liberation, justice and access to resources that can help lead them to health, wellness and a more abundant life.

Poet and writer David Whyte makes his home in the Pacific Northwest, where rain and changeable skies remind him of the other, more distant homes from which he comes: Yorkshire, Wales and Ireland. He has traveled extensively, including working as a guide in the Galapagos and leading trips into the Himalaya; much of his work chronicles a close relationship to landscapes and histories. He speaks to the suffering and joy that accompany revelation, and the necessity of belonging to families, people and places.

A national leader in The Episcopal Church, The Rev. Winnie Varghese is known for her inspired writing, teaching, and preaching. Before her current position as the 23rd rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, she served as Priest for Ministry and Program Coordination at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City.

The event includes intentionally designed space for respite, contemplation, prayer, and holy listening.