Youth Report by Miriam Fiorentino
The Youth Program Committee of Pacific Yearly Meeting sponsored youth to attend the Western Quaker Mystics Retreat held on February 4th-7th at Berkeley Friends Meeting. Miriam Florentino reports:
The Western Quaker Mystics Retreat, sponsored by “What Canst Thou Say?” held at the Berkeley Friends Meeting on February 4th through the 7th was a special time of gathering of individuals who came to share, be encouraged, and experience the Mystic way. I was fortunate and honored to be able to participate, thanks to your sponsorship and assistance. I was in awe of the vulnerability, openness, trust, and deep listening that took place during this time together. I was reminded of how Spirit works and manifests in many different ways in people’s lives and grateful that Spirit moves and is ever present in our lives. I gleaned a deeper appreciation and importance of having communities to share and support in our spiritual paths. It was humbling to hear of folks’ stories and the courage they had in discovering, navigating, and understanding their mystical experiences and gifts. I felt the connection of ancestors laying spiritual groundwork for those who came after and appreciative of their faithfulness to listen and engage with Spirit. I was inspired while hearing these stories and felt held by the legacy of those who shared. It was profoundly meaningful to me to see the inter-generational nature of our gathering and the valuable asset of this shared space. The beautiful inner workings of these exchanges was grounding to my own experiences and a blessing to be able to see that I was apart of a larger community of mystics, however each person defined it. I felt heartened, as a young person, to continue to explore and be present in my own engagement with mysticism. I felt enlivened to convey and encourage other young people to share their spiritual stories and how beneficial doing so can open opportunities for growth and inquiry. I loved learning how Quakerism has a rich history of mysticism and felt that those who gathered were part of this heritage, though some of us came from various spiritual backgrounds. I graciously thank the Youth Program Committee for sponsoring me, along with a few others, to be able to attend this gathering. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and experience; I know it will be one that I cherish, reflect on, and continue to impact my spiritual journey. Attached you will also find an epistle written by another attender on behalf of all those gathered to share with the larger Friend community about the conference.
In Peace and Light ~Miriam Fiorentino