What is Faithwalking: Transformation Journey?
Faithwalking: Transformation Journey is a nine-month transformational experience in community. This journey is designed to grow your capacity to give and receive love, which we describe as embodying love. The experience incorporates reflective practices and new ways of thinking in the context of a loving community, whose purpose is:
- To provide a safe place for you to experience complete acceptance and unconditional love, no strings attached.
- To challenge you to confront the things inside yourself that keep you “stuck.”
- To walk with you, offering coaching and support, as you put into practice new “ways of being” in your everyday life.
All this is done through face-to-face gatherings, coaching calls, personal practices, and community rhythms.
We believe that the journey of embodying love requires growing in connection to yourself, God, and others. What does this mean?
- Growing in connection to yourself means understanding why you do and say and feel the way you do, why certain comments and situations and people make you anxious, why certain tasks feel impossible. It means being aware of these internal responses, knowing where they come from, and learning how to grow into different ways of responding and thinking and feeling, so that the way you “show up” in real life situations is more in line with the person you want to be when you are calm and able to think clearly.
- Growing in connection with God means having a lived experience of your belovedness, feeling the reality of your unique being, having the ability to still the internal voices of shame and anxiety so you can hear the calm, loving, guiding voice of the Spirit underneath. It means feeling connected to something outside of yourself, something beyond your own opinions and ways of thinking, being able to surrender to this “something beyond” and to receive life and power and love that can flow through you.
- Growing in connection with others means being able to sit and be present with someone, even when they are in pain or when they are expressing an opinion that differs from yours. It means being able to see things from another perspective, and feeling compassion for what is different, instead of judgment. You will grow in your desire to understand and love differences, instead of trying to fix or change others so that they conform to your views. You will feel a deeper connection with people from other faiths and backgrounds, and be able to find common ground that goes much deeper and wider than “shared beliefs.”
In total, this experience will enable you to love people more deeply, no matter what they believe or how they treat you or what you’ve been through, because, by growing in connection with God and with yourself, God’s unconditional love will increasingly be able to flow through you to others.
Matt Glenn: attorney, aspiring farmer, friend, son, brother
“A year ago,” Matt says “the future was a black hole.” As an attorney at his father’s firm, tension in his relationship with his father impacted both his personal life and his work life. On top of that, he was going through a painful breakup. “I was in a tough spot,” he says. “I was broken, hurting, misunderstood. I had a lot of anger. I was lonely.” He started his Faithwalking journey knowing that something significant needed to change… [Read more of Matt’s story here.]
Vera Padilla: single mother of four, daughter, youth leader
Before starting her Faithwalking journey, Vera felt stuck. It had been a year since her divorce, and she was still without a job. When she and her four children (ages 16, 14, 13, and 9) had to move in with her parents, she felt like a failure. “God, where are you going to use me?”
Vera says that the Faithwalking process is different than anything else she’s been a part of, because studies she’s done in the past didn’t lead to practical application. “You come, you study, you talk about it, and it’s just all surface level…I’m getting Scripture and I’m getting fed, but I have no release of it. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to share it. And it’s uncomfortable when I do.” She says she loves Faithwalking because she doesn’t feel “spiritually fat.” Getting in touch with her own brokenness has provided a natural point of connection with those around her, so it’s easier to be authentic and share what she’s learning. And people have noticed the difference! Friends have told her that she’s “living a more authentic life,” and that they can see God in her more than ever before. “I’m thrilled,” she says, “because that’s what I’ve been wanting to do – be a reflection of God.”
[Read more of Vera’s story here.]
We've had over one hundred people go through our process, and here is some of the most common feedback we get about the impact it has. People report that they…
- feel less shame and anxiety
- have a deeper sense of their belovedness
- relate to others with more compassion and less judgment
- are more authentic with family members
- can more effectively manage their anxiety in the workplace
- can hear God's voice more clearly, or for the first time
- are able to be defined and connected in difficult relationships
- have a clearer sense of purpose and direction
- feel hopeful about the future
When does it start?
The Transformation Journey begins with a weekend retreat, which happens every year in August or September. The retreat will take place at a home in Oak Cliff during the following hours: Friday 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Saturday 7:30am - 9:30pm, Sunday 7:30am - 1:00pm. Participants will sleep in their own homes at night, unless otherwise requested. If you do NOT want to return to your home at night for whatever reason, contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for other options.
What’s the time commitment?
After the August retreat, the cohort consists of face-to-face meetings roughly twice a month from September to May. Your growth and learning between meetings is strengthened by weekly “practices” and coaching calls. Meetings are under 2 hrs, and coaching calls are under 1 hr.
What do the meetings consist of?
Our face-to-face community is one of the things that makes this experience unique. There are many programs that offer distance learning, but we’ve found that there is no replacement for consistent, intentional, authentic community, in the flesh. During the time together, you will participate in a variety of conversational and interactive experiences, including reflective practices, one-on-one sharing, large group sharing, group coaching, and more! The meetings provide an opportunity to clarify and deepen your understanding of the written materials, and to experience the healing power of community.
What do the weekly “practices” consist of?
Each topic that we cover (e.g. shame, anxiety, emotions, dialogue) comes with a set of practices that help you internalize the concepts and immediately apply them to your life. The nature of these practices varies from week to week, but includes things like solitude, journaling, and having conversations with people you trust, as well as a few practices of your own choosing specifically designed to grow you toward a breakthrough you’re seeking. [For an example session, see here. The practices can be found at the end, p. 10-11.]
Will my coach tell me what to do?
The short answer is, no. Your coach is a companion to you on your journey, and his/her job is to help you reflect on your learning by asking questions, and to encourage and support you. This entire process is very self-directed, and you are in the driver’s seat! You get to decide what to share, what to take on, etc. Your coach may challenge your thinking, but will never tell you what to think or what to do.
What if my beliefs are non-traditional, non-existent, uncertain, in flux, etc.?
While Transformation Journey flows out of the Christian tradition and draws from ancient monastic practices, as well as wisdom from the life of Jesus, we believe that anyone can benefit from this process, regardless of background or beliefs. This is because the process is built on universal human needs (e.g. community, vulnerability, solitude, reflection), and does not depend on religious beliefs specific to any one denomination or tradition. The one “belief” that makes a difference, in our experience, is a willingness to be open to something outside of yourself. (Cf. to AA’s language of a higher power.) If you are even open to considering this idea, then we are confident you will have a good experience!
How much does it cost?
The total cost for the 2018-2019 cohort of Faithwalking: Transformation Journey is $1500, which goes toward the expense of two retreats (in August and January), the development of materials, weekly coaching calls, the facilitation of bi-monthly meetings, and individual pastoral care as needed. Payment can be made in a lump sum, or in eight monthly installments of $150 (after an initial deposit of $300 to secure your spot on the August retreat).
**Note that the amount you pay does not cover the cost of your experience, it helps to offset that cost. This experience is made possible in part by the generosity of donors who believe in this work and want you to be able to benefit from it at a reduced rate.**
That being said, if cost is prohibitive, we will work with you to create a sliding scale rate that fits your needs. We absolutely do not want finances to be a barrier to your participation if you are interested in this experience. Consider if you are eligible for any of the discounts below:
- Donors: If you are a monthly donor to Body Oak Cliff, you are eligible for a reduced rate.
- Couples / companions: This discount is not limited to married couples or even romantic relationships. If someone important in your life (e.g. friend, coworker, spouse) is interested in joining you on this journey, you are both eligible for a reduced rate! We offer this because we believe that the more your experience is integrated with your everyday life, the more impactful it will be. Therefore, we want to encourage you to consider if there is someone in your life who might want to join you on this journey!
- Need-based: If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, but still feel that the cost is out of reach for whatever reason, ask me about other options for lowering your out-of-pocket expense.
Whatever your situation, we will find a way to get you on the journey! Contact me (email@example.com) for more details.
If I do the retreat, do I have to do the cohort?
Attending the retreat does not obligate you to continue with the cohort. After the retreat, if you decide this isn’t for you, you are free to walk away with no further financial obligation beyond the retreat fee (which is the $300 deposit mentioned above). That being said, we’ve found that people who only attend the retreat do not see the lasting transformation experienced by those who continue. The retreat will give you a glimpse of what’s to come, but the ongoing work of reflection in community with the help of a coach is where the real power lies.
I’m still not sure if this is for me...what should I do??
If anything here resonates with you, but you still have questions and/or reservations, contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a complimentary coaching session (via phone or face-to-face). During our time together, I will answer any questions you have, and will help you explore whether Faithwalking: Transformation Journey is a good fit for you.