7 Mar 2022

By Orla Beaton

Scottish Facilitators Retreat Reflections

by Orla Beaton

Here are some photos and a poem from the Scottish Facilitators Retreat which took place at Kilgraston School in Perthshire from Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th February 2022. Around 35 of us gathered together in this beautiful setting and the students kindly cleared their bedrooms for us to stay!

It was the first in-person retreat in Scotland since before the pandemic began and there was a palpable sense of relief, comfort and joy at being together again physically. Despite some initial Covid-safety niggles – are the windows open enough, do we need more space between dining tables – we quickly settled into the embrace of the Sangha.

Dharma Teachers, Murray Corke and Susanne Olbrich, guided us skilfully in the art of facilitating and their talks generated much rich discussion and sharing. We enjoyed a fabulous bell practice session, walking meditation in the snow, a be-in and lots of nourishing silence.

The organisers, Roland Spencer-Jones and Orla Beaton, would like to thank all those in attendance for helping to make the retreat such a success. We returned to our Sanghas with a new found respect for the art of facilitation. 

Safety in Numbers

There were stars on her ceiling

I lay awake with happiness

Wondering whose room this was

Wondering how it felt

To be so far from home

So far from family

How lucky I was to be

Reunited with my family

A spiritual one

In brown half-robes

Slippers and lazy clothes

No longer imprisoned

In Zoom boxes

Our freedom was physical

We sat upright together

On a wooden sprung floor

The theatre of a local school

Our breathing room for now

The building rambled

Disorientating level changes

Lack of light and endless corridors

There was continuous window adjusting

To ease Covid nerves

And yet the school held us

There was safety in those walls

Comfort, friendship and great relief

Safety in numbers

Never would we take


For granted again

© orlabeaton