I write for a local ministry's newsletter once a month. For awhile now, I've looked back through old writing and offered that for their publication, but this month I wanted to share something new. Problem was, I didn't have any "fresh" contemplative experience to speak of (it's a contemplative newsletter) and I realized you can't force contemplative experience, you can only make yourself available. Sometimes, even that feels like it's asking too much.
In the end, I ended up sending this poem I wrote the other day. It seems that one key to contemplative awareness is the willingness to show up where we are, as we are.
Some mornings, it’s easier
I’d rather trim
So, I do.
* This piece of writing is 6 years old. Much has changed in those years and much has stayed the same.
All four kids took turns rummaging through the large metal pot that my husband uses to store old nuts, bolts, washers, and nails. After choosing their wares, they made robots, tiny friends composed of wing bolts and screws. They each made three or four and named them based on appearance and abilities.
I see wet swim towels and pancake batter going bad.
What more is there to be seen? What's there but not apparent at first glance? How does a wider lens allow a more deeply grounded sense of reality?
Sample Schedule (subject to change):
9:00 Arrive and Settle In (beverages and snacks available)
10:00 Open Retreat Time
1:00 Open Retreat Time
3:00 Closing Graces
Location: Still Waters Retreat, Carlisle, PA
Cost: $40 (please contact Kelly if cost is a barrier)
6 Spaces Available
Registration deadline: Monday, the week of the retreat
Quiet Days emphasize time for silence and solitude and will be held in a contemplative atmosphere. Though you will hopefully see and meet some new faces, the primary aim of the day is to offer time to connect to yourself and listen for the voice of the Divine. If you're looking for conversation or intellectual stimulation, these days won't be a good fit for you.
- a This Contemplative Life Community composition
I've started a small private community over on fb, connected to my business page. It's a slow space where participants are invited to take a "long, loving look at the real." Visit the link above to lean more and asked to be connected. The poem above grew out of members' responses to a question on this page: Where are you finding grace this summer?
I decided I would swim every day we were there.
That was Sunday night, after we arrived and ate dinner at the little cottage we were renting along a private lake. The kids hit the water that night, but John and I sat on the shore watching – grateful to have arrived, grateful for a moment’s distance between us and four kids.
Questions to Carry: Is there a change you long for, a baptism into something new you can't quite name? Is there some way you could pair your longing with a small, intentional, embodied practice - like swimming or sitting on a swing or gazing at a flower? Perhaps your perspective would be broadened if you committed to one small immersive experience on a daily basis - even just for a week.