When I was a hospice chaplain, I attended a week-long retreat on death and dying. The purpose of the retreat was to take what I learned and to offer it to others. One of the exercises we each did was Sand Tray to explore our own personal experience with death and how it informed our life and ministry.
I fell in love with Sand Tray. I have to confess, seeing ALL of the fascinating objects I could choose from was like being a kid in a candy shop. BUT the directions were not to choose an object because we thought it was pretty or we liked it; instead we were to take our time in silence and "Let the objects choose us." Initially, I thought "What a strange thing to say." But as I stood quietly looking at the many objects from feathers, to stones, to plastic figures of men and women, children, to angels, religious symbols, butterflies and on and on, there were some objects that stood out for me and I found my hand going toward them. These were the objects that "chose me." Then there was the placement of the objects in sand, moving them around until their position to one another seemed "right." There were insights I gained from my introduction to Sand Tray, but there were other insights that came days and weeks later. There are many ways to pray. I often think that when Sand Tray is approached prayerfully, it can become a prayer.
As a result of my experience, I developed workshops for ministers, chaplains, and parishioners exploring the spiritual journey of dying. And I used Sand Tray as one of my exercises. What was so wonderful was people began offering me objects from from their life, from nature and beyond so that these objects might speak to others as they explore living and dying through Sand Tray. As a result my collection grew with loved filled items.
About four years ago, my friend and colleague, Rev. Michelle Walsh introduced me to the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. I knew after my first visit to the Peace Institute, I would return, and I have - offering my services where they are most needed. When I saw that Michelle had brought Sand Tray/World Play to the Peace Institute, I knew I had found a home for the very much cherished objects I had used over the years.
I hope people who come to the Peace Institute will take advantage of the opportunity to explore the meaning and struggle of their lives through Sand Tray/World Play.