What was the impetus for the Well?
The Well formed in response to the basic need to tend to the spiritual dimension of life. There is so much coming at us all the time — news, deadlines, emails, phone calls, texts — that we forget about the source of love and wholeness that exists in our core being. We become disconnected from that Source (that many call God) who exists within us and around us, loving us into wholeness. The Well provides classes and programs to help care for that neglected part of ourselves, wherever you are on your journey.
There is a specific quote by Mother Teresa that struck me to my core when I read it years ago. She described a poverty of spirituality in which people don’t know how to love, forgive, pray, or find God in their lives. When I read her quote, tears streamed down my cheeks, and I knew that this thirst was at the heart of the call to form the Well. Tending one’s spiritual life cannot be done alone. We need one another. It’s incredibly important work for our world. Imagine if we could each live with greater love and compassion? We could change the world, little by little, but in a profound way.
How has the Well grown since then?
That’s an interesting question because the “how” is a very important thing. We’ve grown the same way we formed: through discernment (listening for and responding to God’s call), cultivating relationships and community, and mustering the courage to go where we are led. This is counter-cultural to the way that most of the world operates.
In terms of size and scope, with the help of our donors, volunteers, and staff, we began by renting a small classroom, offering five programs in the fall of 2002, and have grown to renting a warm, welcoming Victorian house which allows us to offer a wider array of programs – about 17 in fall of 2015 and many more throughout the year. Nearly 200 people are participating in our programs this fall.
What do you wish more people knew about the Well?
I wish people knew that they are invited to attend our programs regardless of where they are on their journey. We have programs for men as well as women, for people who are just starting to explore spirituality and for people who have been at it for years, and for people who can’t afford to pay the full price of our programs. It’s important to remember that while some people’s spirituality is rooted in their religion, many others who come to the Well don’t have a specific religion that they adhere to. People come to the Well’s programs because they seek to live more meaningful, connected, abundant lives.
Why is the Filling the Well campaign so important at this time in the Well’s history?
As a charitable organization serving the community, the Well has always been and continues to be completely dependent on the community of donors to meet the budget and carry out its mission. Programs pay only 20 percent of the entire operating budget; 80 percent of our budget must come from private donations and grants. We have a plan in place to increase the proportion of program revenue, but our annual campaign provides the necessary funding for the Well. We are grateful for the many people who donate and support the Well’s important mission.
Which of the upcoming events would you recommend to people coming to the Well for the first time?
In December we are offering free Midday Meditation sessions for 30 minutes to help people de-stress during the December craziness. This is a great opportunity for folks to walk over from downtown Towson during lunch hour and enjoy some moments of peace. It’s geared for beginners as well as those who have tried meditation. The new year is also an ideal time to pay attention to a new dimension of life. We have an intro class called “Nourish Your Spirit 101” in January, our popular class on contemporary poet Mary Oliver, and some overnight retreats, including one on mindfulness.
What are your favorite hobbies/leisure activities?
Riding my bike, reading books (I’m a book addict), walking on the trail, and I especially love spending time with family and friends. I’m also a crazy sports fan who watches Raven and Clemson football and Orioles baseball. I love Cape May, New Jersey and being near the ocean.