about the gentle art of knowing
the gentle art of knowing offers opportunities for
any activity people, groups, organisations may request that supports people to deepen their understanding of themselves and their place in the world.
It was established by Pip Nicholls in 2006 primarily because:
Many of us consciously engage in meditation and spiritual practices and have been influenced by the teachings of spiritual traditions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Sufism. Equally there has been an exponential interest in teachers such as: Ken Wilber, Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti and the poet David Whyte. For some our lives are enriched by tai chi, yoga, walking, solitude, art, poetry, story-telling, reading, family, work, gardening, creativity, sustainability to name but a few.
However, life inevitably presents challenges in the form of accidents, changes in plans, economic meltdowns, addictions, relationship break-ups and illness, alongside more gradual transitions such as aging. As a result, sometimes we experience profound levels of living in the here and now, and at other times we may experience considerable dissatisfaction, sadness and confusion. Sometimes we need the support of another to see the way forward.
Is an opportunity to reflect, explore and listen to our deepest longings; the fruit of which is openness and compassion for ourselves, others and Life itself. Each person’s longing is unique and is experienced in the 'hills and valleys' of our daily lives. Spiritual companioning is generally done once a month face to face and it can be very effective via telephone or skype.
Nine Month Contemplaitve Programme
This programme has been running for six years and enables ‘armchair mystics’ get a comprehensive grounding in contemporary contemplative understandings and practices. The programme is a mix of materials, reading, reflection, spiritual companioning and deepening one’s own practices.
Retreats and Workshops
Throughout the year there are workshops offered on different topics. These generally take place within the Wellington area and Auckland. Pip is open to responding to requests from outside these areas as well.
Work Supervision and Mentoring
Sometimes we feel that our work place 'dries' us out and we run out of energy and ideas about what to do next. Supervision or mentoring is a reflective process to help us see the 'woods for the trees'. It supports and encourages us to maintain balance so we can sustain our work efforts to meet challenges and the opportunities contained within them.
Historically sabbaticals have been associated with universities but haven't we all at times thought they'd be a good idea for all work environments. Sabbaticals are two to ten days of individual spiritual companioning and allowing the space, time, silence and bush to also be your guide. Sabbaticals are located in the Waiohine Gorge in the Wairarapa.
about Pip Nicholls
Pip has had many influences in her life with not the least being cradled in the beauty of Wellington and the whole of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Other formative places, people and events have been the Erskine chapel in Island Bay, Germaine Greer's visit in 1972, being a member of the Aubert, Baxter, Merton, Kirk community in Featherston since 1975, a year in a Thai Buddhist monastery in 1979, meeting Thinly Norbu Rinpoche and Mother Theresa later that year, returning to Catholic wisdom roots through the teachings of Tessa Bielecki (now a hermit in Colorado) and the Carmelite Spiritual Life Institute.
In addition, she has worked for 25 years in within the disability sector and became a Spiritual Director in 2006. Since then she has completed a six month sabbatical and been on retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh, Br David Steindl-Rast, Cynthia Bourgeault and Gregory Kramer. In 2015 she completed the two year Living School programme in Contemplative Spirituality out of Richard Rohr’s Centre for Action and Contemplation. She is a member of the Contemplative Network, Aotearoa and the Spiritual Directors Association.
"In my early 20's I sought deeper contemplative teachings within Catholicism. I found little there at the time but did find plenty within Buddhism.
In the 90s I returned to small 'c' catholicism, as my experience has been that Life or God or whatever we find ourselves calling the 'Heart of Hearts' - knows no bounds and it is we who limit and discriminate.
However, culturally or by choice we will be drawn to different teachings and practices. When my brother died in 2008 I realised that life is short and it’s important we do the work required to free us from all the 'ties that bind'. I have met people who have gone through the 'fire' of transformation and they personify; clarity, simplicity, compassion and freedom while remaining even more idiosyncratically human as well.
I am therefore interested to sit beside people as they walk, stroll, run, dance, meander, stumble, plod, hop, trip, skip and sometimes jump into exploring what deeply interests and sustains them".