Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On Solitude

While our community was on retreat earlier this month, one day of the week was a "Desert Day" - a day devoted to silence and solitude. Mary Oliver writes this in the poem, Today:

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.


They're a pretty powerful combination: silence and solitude. And, I think this poem captures that pretty powerfully. Our retreat presenter, Bonnie Thurston, talked about the way that Thomas Merton's "ego-driven quest for God" eventually led to a self softening; his journey took him to solitude. I personally struggled quite a bit during our Desert Day because my ego had placed some expectations on the way I wanted to encounter the Divine. It took until evening, playing with some water colors, for my "voodoos of ambition" to finally rest. And what a gift it was - I actually felt myself just being, just letting God grace me with the gift of upholding. May we all have experiences like that in our lives - where we experience peace in our hearts at rest - true prayer.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Daylilies for days!

Prophets of Peace

We spent this weekend celebrating the Feast of Saint Scholastica, Benedict's twin sister. Each year the community gives an award called ...