Monday, June 14, 2010

Silent Retreat at Dayspring

When I tell people I'm going on a Silent Retreat, I often get responses like the one I got on Facebook from a friend who said she could never deal with being quiet for so long because she's such an introvert.  I felt the same way before I went on one.  I made my then-boyfriend completely miserable with my pre-worrying.  He spent the retreat worrying about me while I was blissed out enjoying the natural world around me and loving the experience!  It was intensely freeing to not have to interact with anyone.  I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, in community (a nice plus), and not have to think about the daily niceties of making sure everyone else was OK (something I had to think about  a lot as a mom and teacher). 

Getting silent got me atuned to my inner soul.  I found her to be a very lovely Being.  I fell in love with her.  At the end of the retreat, I was experiencing joy like I'd never felt before.  Joy at simply being alive and conscious.  I had gone out into the field and explored a dying milkweed pod.  While there I saw a cricket and sat with it for unending moments as I watched it live its life.  I was reminded of Mary Oliver's poem called Song of the Builders in which she finds a cricket as she's thinking about God.

Song of the Builders

On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God -

a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope

it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.

from Why I Wake Early (2004)
I went to the retreat this weekend feeling anxious about my son's surgery and all the unknowns we were facing.  I thought I would probably spend the weekend thinking about it and letting myself have all my feelings about it - glad for the time to do it, but not looking forward to the pain particularly.  Within hours of arriving, I got the very strong message, "All is well."  It stayed with me the whole time, and didn't leave, especially when I began to get anxious.  My anxiety melted away as I instead spent time journalling, reading, painting, and wandering the fields, oh, and meditating.  We had time each day for Silent Worship when we all gathered to sit in silence companionably.  It was a good time to imagine my son bathed in white Light, surrounded by healing energy.  The retreat overall was wonderful and left me feeling refreshed and rested and ready for the journey ahead. 

Tomorrow I'll post pictures I painted while I was there.

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