Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Still waters run deep

PANAMA CITY — The river has long been used as a metaphor for life and love. We talk about its depth, its currents, its headwaters and tributaries, the sources and measures by which we understand it.

We imagine a full life as the river overflowing its banks, or an empty one as the merest trickle traversing a cracked bed of sediment. We gaze ahead over rapids and obstacles, anticipating the river’s ultimate fate, flowing into and becoming one with the vast and unknowable ocean.

Writers and artists in the midst of a productive cycle say things like “the work is flowing,” as if some fount of creativity has sprung forth to guide their efforts.

And that’s where River Readings comes in.

I’ve been invited to participate in the quarterly River Readings conference at Gulf Coast State College on Saturday. Founded by local author Michael Lister, the event is a day of presentations, panels and workshops on creativity, spirituality, health, wholeness, purpose, goals, dreams, love, life, compassion, parenting, environmentalism, growth and relationships.

“I’m always inspired by what is shared at River Readings,” Michael said. “It’s so helpful to hear how others are thriving in their creative and artistic endeavors, as well as in their relationships and businesses.”

The concept behind River Readings is “Checking Life’s Depth and Flow.” The event brings together writers, artists, counselors, thinkers, theologians, teachers, musicians and spiritual leaders in thoughtful discussion and insightful interactions.

“This year’s theme will be mindfulness and meditation,” said Carrie Fioramonti, an adjunct professor at GCSC, promoting the event on Facebook. “I usually present yoga and visualization techniques, but this year I want to share a new interest: mandala meditation. I have made many meaningful and lasting friendships at this conference.”

The event will take place in the Language and Literature building at Gulf Coast State College, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free (though a donation is requested to help offset costs) and all sessions are open to the public.

Michael said his intent is to provide visitors with inspiring, informative and enlightening in-depth discussions on how to have more productive, successful, and ultimately, happy lives.

(For more information, contact Michael at MichaelLister@mchsi.com or visit RiverReadings.com)

Paul McAuliff, a local musician and a previous River Readings presenter, called the event “one of the finest celebrations of the arts in Bay County. Check it out and nourish your soul.”

Peace.

Below is the schedule for the River Readings sessions:
9:15 a.m.: Living Your Quiddity: Michael Lister
9:55 a.m.: Mandala Meditation: Carrie Fioramonti
10:15 a.m.: Feeding the Brain New Data: Tony Simmons
11:15 a.m.: The Process of Becoming Great: Aaron Bearden
12:00 p.m.: Lunch
1:15 p.m.: Mandala Meditation: Carrie Fioramonti
1:30 p.m.: Hoop Dance Demo and Talk: Heather Clements
2:00 p.m.: Patience, Fear, and Uncertainty: Tony Buoni
2:45 p.m.: Mindfulness: Dave Lloyd, Lou Columbus, Lynn Wallace, Michael Lister, Carrie Fioramonti
3:30 p.m.: Integrity, Creativity, and the Daily Grind: Aaron Bearden, Tony Simmons, Tony Buoni, Lynn Wallace, Michael Lister, Dave Lloyd, Heather Clement


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