Michael Tomlinson's
A Gathering of Friends
A Day Long Retreat of Goodwill,
Laughter and Conversation
Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10am to 6pm
Camp Long in West Seattle

"Welcome to A Gathering of Friends.Ē I love saying those words and have done so quite a few times over the years, greeting a roomful of new friends from around the U.S. Sometimes from Europe. People come because they feel a trust, they feel that something calls them to be a part of a friendly, good hearted gathering of human beings, and I have seen so many people be happy they attended over the years. I sing songs here and there, often to open up a conversation or emphasize something being talked about. Or just for the fun of it. We need to have some fun, my friends.

I think there is almost no one who has not been worried or troubled in this last year of our lives. We live in strange times and without knowing quite how we did so, we have often found ourselves painfully alienated from each other. I believe in my heart that that is an illusion. This day-long retreat is the opposite of that alienation; it will be a loving and kind one. And I believe youíll like the people there.

Of course weíll have great conversations. Weather permitting, weíll step outside at times to enjoy the springtime, wandering a path or staying right there at the lodge if you like. It is often in those clusters where you find yourself walking alongside a person or small group who you suddenly start talking with and discover that this is why you came. Because someone is going to say something to you which inspires you or you are going to do so for them. Itís the most common story of my retreats. I host them, but they are not about me. They are about human beings coming together in good will. Here is something I learned way back in the nineties when I would host two weekend retreats a year; Whenever people come together in good will, there will be stories that rise up which will change every life in the room. And inspire every person there. I have never seen it not happen.

I sing songs here and there to set up conversations or just for the fun of it. And by the way, about those conversations; you are never put on the spot at my gatherings. No one says, ďnow turn to the person on your right and look into their eyes and say . . .Ē Nope, never happen. People comfortably talk who wish to talk. And people listen who wish to listen. Itís all natural and enjoyable. I will say though, it never surprises me when someone who has not said a word all day, suddenly does and they leave everyone in the room with their jaw hanging over what they shared. It is true. When people feel safe in a group, they sometimes offer up the very most valuable gifts. You will feel safe at my Gathering of Friends.

Weíll have big lunch around 1-2pm and Iíll have something there that vegans and vegetarians and everyone else may choose from. And Iíll have some light snacks around that morning and tea, water and beverages throughout the day. At any time that youíd like to use your phone or check your messages, I ask that you step just outside the room into the foyer or front step or any other place that calls to you. If that sounds harsh, I promise that what we are there for will vastly outweigh your phone pleasure. Mostly, it will help us to be present and undistracted. Because isnít that what we are forgetting how to be?

Iíll guide a meditation at some point, probably fifteen or twenty minutes. If youíve never closed your eyes and simply breathed and listened and felt your heart slow and your thoughts calm down in a group of people, you will be very surprised at what happens. It is an extremely calming, peaceful feeling. In that quiet space feelings of loving kindness often flow in. Itís a real thing that you can depend on. And by the way, in case youíve forgotten, April 22 is Earth Day. I think itís wonderfully appropriate that weíll be at a Nature Center, where there are glorious trees and paths and ponds and flowers. Mostly, weíll be in the lodge, but everything is easy to navigate ó even with a wheelchair or cane. In these short times of wandering, youíll feel just as at home staying inside if that is what you like. On my last retreat Camp Long it was about half and half, some wandered the trails and gathered in circles here and there. Fifteen or twenty stayed in the Lodge or nearby and had just as good a time. Are you getting the idea that everything is going to be fine? Or hunky dory is how Iíd prefer to put it.

Well thatís it, podnas. Thatís my invitation to you. I hope youíll join us this Springtime in Seattle. I know youíll be glad that you came.

Your friend in breezy Seattle,
 ~Michael Tomlinson

TICKETS are $140/person  -   ORDER ONLINE
---Or---  Order by Mail 
Send checks to: Michael Tomlinson / PO Box 15248 / Seattle, WA 98115
   NOTE: email me the very day you are sending me a check and Iíll secure your seats
All Tickets will be emailed to you a few days before the event.

Please, No Refunds. However, if you can't make it,
give your tickets to anyone you wish, and we'll honor them at the door.
 ~Michael Tomlinson

LOCATION: Camp Long in West Seattle ~ extremely easy to find and get to. Iíll send you great directions. No one will get lost. There is parking for about 40 cars. But the camp sits just next to a neighborhood and there is free street parking as well. Please carpool if you can. If you would like to do that, Iíll forward a list of those willing to carpool and where youíre coming from. Camp Long is at 5200 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126  
Hotels: For you who may be from out of town.
   I recommend that you go to Google.com and simply type in ďhotels near West Seattle.Ē
Camp Long is about a 25-30 minute drive from SeaTac airport, taking Highway 99.
Itís ten minutes or less from Downtown Seattle.
Questions:  I have described in general detail what the day will be. I keep it flexible so as to be able to serve what comes up in the group. But if you have questions, feel free to email me. mt@michaeltomlinson.com
Iíll be sending out further info and directions and details.




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