Future Exhibits and Retreats
April 1, 2017, River's Edge Conference Center, Rocky River, Ohio, Obstacles and Stepping Stones
Photographing the Light at First Light, Dawn, Morning, Dusk, and at Night--five different kinds of light, June 9-12, 2-17 Pendle Hill Quaker Conference Center, Wallingford, PA
An Antidote to Obstacles and Stepping Stones, April 1, 2017 Rivers Edge, Rocky River, Ohio
Rivers Edge Conference Center
(click on Rivers Edge Conference Center to Register)
3430 Rocky River Drive, Cleveland, OH 44111
June 4, 2016
1. Making Your Last Decades Count
This is a Retreat for Those Who Are Not Done Living
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Includes morning coffee and lunch
In our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and beyond, many of us now have the freedom to try out what we have not done before. We are living with more attentiveness. We are discovering parts of ourselves we did not know about until now. So much of this discovering, adventuring and creating we do alone with focused intensity. Then occasionally we wonder, what are others my age exploring, discovering, and creating? Let’s come together to celebrate all the creative people who continued to be innovative, take risks and do what they had never done before. Here you will be guided as you explore what has run its course in your life and what new things you want to try. John will share a variety of spiritual practices that can enrich your life even more, integrating music, poetry, journaling, reflections, evocative photography and discussion. There will be plenty of time for rest and quiet.
John Holliger comes alive walking the Lake Erie shore, slogging through wetlands, learning the habitats of forests in Ohio, the stories the rocks are telling, watching the movement from starry nights to the first light of day. A graduate of Oberlin College and Yale Divinity School, John is an Episcopal priest who served parishes in Connecticut and Ohio. Laying down that work at 58, John is a self-taught nature photographer with an animated curiosity for how potters, painters, poets and classic photographers approach their art—always on the creative edge, taking risks, asking “What’s next?”
Turning to the Light
one way to build a creating life June 9-11, 2017
Pendle Hill Quaker Conerence Center
A workshop from Friday night through Sunday noon. Email to schedule and refine this workshop for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org
For photographers, serious hobbyists and advanced photographers, who want to connect their love of photography with their spirituality of turning toward the Light.
Participants will experience photographing in the different light of the day and night:
the soft pastels of first light(5:30am-7:30am);
the muted mid-morning clouds or contrasting light/shadows of a sunny
the golden dusk(7:30pm-9:00pm), the full moon in indigo shining on the earth.
Gentle group feedback sessions with the photographer using the participant’s flash drive on the professional’s laptop; Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom.
On Saturday afternoon a schedule of two participants with the Photographer will experiment with every lens in his bag. When not scheduled, the afternoon is open.
One page about the spirituality of each kind of light will be given with queries for participant’s personal use.
Sunday morning will be an adventuresome conversation of the weekend experience.
Obstacles and Stepping Stones, a summary of a day workshop
Lakewood, Ohio October 29, 2016
Following a week of heavy rain, I am looking forward to the beauty of deeply saturated greens and the blackest of blacks in the forest trees at Conkle’s Hollow. I am “walking the stream” and come to the most beautiful obstacle. The stream is crisscrossed by several huge tree trunks that had fallen decades ago: a vivid red oak and a bright green moss covered maple soaked with rain.
Their beauty is enhanced by the absence of spider webs and a covering of old leaves—washed away by the heavy rains. I can easily stoop below, or throw a leg through an opening, or clamber over the top. The rains had so washed away the spider webs and leaves, that these CLEAN obstacles are exceptionally beautiful.
I walk the streams, meeting crossing fallen trees, snagging brush from spring rains. Other times I push back vines to go forward, stoop under, slipping into two or three feet of water, or scrape my way over obstacles. I become covered with burrs, sticky seeds, spider webs, torn clothing, scratched up arms, and itchy mosquito bites.
Obstacles in our lives can be just like that. But they also have something to reveal, hidden qualities.
They can divert us from what might harm us. At other times obstacles, like these stands of trees, have an inexplicable bonding from the start. They are strikingly lovely.
Obstacles crossing our paths have unique message for us that we will hear when we pause, and look to see what we have come through. Sometimes I ask myself, “What just happened?”
When I was a kid I used to build dams by tossing large stones into streams. My own children, growing up on the Tankerhoosan steam quite naturally built dams across their stream as well. It was great fun. There’s a fantasy of control and power for kids in gathering rocks and creating a dam which created a lake in the stream. In a way we are rehearsing what is coming later in our lives.
Once our day’s fun is complete and after a few days have passed, the rocks can appear to be stepping stones across the stream. But the passing hiker who attempts to cross those rocks to the other side of the stream could experience as wet disaster.
Rocks not tossed but deliberately placed as stable stepping stones to cross a stream are a great surprise to come upon.
Still, I approach such stepping stones with caution because I know the waters keep moving around and past the rocks here and there, destabilizing their original placement. So I tap, tap, tap, and test each stone before putting my full weight and trust on them. Even with those precautions I ready myself to adjust quickly how I step onto those stones and swing my hips this way or that to avoid a wet splash down.
Splash, just like that…I have found myself in the stream holding my camera high in the air with one hand and stabilizing myself in wet mud with the other. I am quite a sight to behold and worth a good laugh.
It takes daring to move our weight forward from one stone onto the next in any part of our life. In this Day Apart we’ll reflect on that daring nature within us, when we must take that next step; the moments we miss-calculated what was beneath our feet and apparently stable; and those other times when what looked really iffy, turned out to be immovable and stable. We were so surprised because the risk worked out.
Obstacles and Stepping Stones
Rivers Edge Conference Center
20 E. Winter St. Delaware, Ohio
"Spring in Nature Surrounding Delaware"
"The Spirituality of Imperfection, the Potter and the Sycamore," June 25 at Centering Space in Lakewood Ohio. Their link to register is this: http://centeringspace.org/
Thematic Fine Art Photographic Exhibits.
1. Elder Trees: Mystics and Poets of the Forest.
2. While You Were Sleeping, Dreamy Landscape
3. The Four Seasons, metaphors for our lives
4. Water's Race to the Sea
These may be booked by contacting
John Holliger at
ive workshop” revised 9 8 2015
The Ways of the Creating Life are often contradictory, seem to lead us in opposite directions, at times we are certain we are being led in the wrong direction. There are long curves, U-turns, sudden endings, unexpected openings. And yet as our life unfolds we become even more creative and daring with a deepening sense of a mysterious presence that is carrying us.
For example, clarity and murkiness can be lively presences in our lives at the same time, but we continue creating with an energy we didn’t know was in us, taking our hands off the handlebars, letting our imaginations lead us toward new horizons.
Using music, the poetry of David Whyte, and evocative photography, we will lightly touch two questions we can take home as we create a new story for our lives: What do we want to stop doing and stop saying (that old story), because it is keeping us from the creating which brings us alive?
What do we want to try, which we’ve never done before?
Bring a playful spirit, a journal, and an open, reflective heart and mind. You might just start writing a new story for your life.
John Holliger comes alive walking the Lake Erie shore, slogging through wetlands, learning the habitats of forests in Ohio, the stories the rocks are telling, watching the movement from starry nights to the first light of day.
A graduate of Oberlin College and Yale Divinity School, John is an Episcopal priest who served parishes in Connecticut and Ohio. Laying down that work at 58, John is a self-taught nature photographer with an animated curiosity for how potters, painters, poets, and classic photographers approach their art—always on the creative edge, taking risks, and asking “What’s next?”