From the frequency of my postings here, one might think I've cornered the market on doing nothing. Well, that might be true in the digital world as of late, at least with regard to this blog. I apologize. Facebook has syphoned some of my energies, and that is a pity on some levels and an absolute joy on others. *FB* has reunited me with kindred spirits from a planet far away. I am back in touch with friends from several former lives ago and it makes my heart sing. These are people who know ME. These are people who love ME even though they know me. These are people who have their umbilical connected to the same collective memory as me. What is not to love?
To those folks, I am indebted as they keep me honest and traveling forward with their support. I can't thank you enough. In my Windows world, you are my DOS.
Last weekend I went on retreat again. Silent retreat, and yes, I managed to find someone to talk to anyway. Usually it is a priest or a friend who is on the journey with me. We'll steal away into the conference room designed for such things and chat up our experience for 15 minutes or so as if we are criminals. We love it. Then, it is back to pulling "hard time" by keeping silence and walking the walk. We love that even more.
We pack wine and relax in the knowledge that we are not saints. That presents its own level of freedom, my friends.
I think at this point I need to disclose that I am in no way, shape, or form an "uber" Catholic. Far from it. If anything, I am what I term a Renegade Catholic. When even this level seems to fail my heart and head, I switch into "Rutheran" mode. This monastery doesn't force feed you beliefs or liturgy. It has a zen posture and welcomes everyone, regardless of your religious leanings. It isn't structured. You are on your own and welcome to take anything your little spirit needs in an effort to refresh itself.
Through the years I've gone on retreat a few different spots, but the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA has my heart. It offers me the experience I need and as I drive back out to the highway from the Revolutionary War era farm settling, I am, once again renewed, forgiven, and uplifted.
Try it sometime: http://www.hcava.org/ They also have other monasteries, if you are interested.
Coming here 25 years ago introduced me to my spiritual leader, Father Mark Delery. What a renaissance man. Physician. Psychiatrist. Poet. Author. Abbot. Funny Man. Mark passed earlier this year. I've been here twice since he moved to the pasture, literally, and God knows I miss him. His words are still with me and that is what makes the difference. His spirit is still very much here. One of the biggest honors was receiving his personal phone number. We'd call each other to say hi or talk about a good book. We were pen pals as well, mailing quick notes and ultimately moving that through email. It was a debate who enjoyed the *fun*Valentine cards more. His were religious. Mine weren't.
One of the articles I read this time is also available online. It is THE IMPORTANCE OF DOING NOTHING by Fr. William McNamara. Let me quickly add that you shouldn't let the fact that he is a priest hold you back from enjoying it. The fact that this man looks like he sees life a touch differently from the rest should prove appealing to many of you. He knows how to present an issue. He has many writings I've enjoyed through the years. They've helped smooth out some of the totally unrelated problems, challenges, and anxieties I wrestle with by letting me know it is okay to dismiss them, if only for a while. William McNamara is much older than the posted photo. He has enjoyed better health. The world will lose a great philosopher once he joins Mark.
Read his article...the entire article. Then do nothing. Give it a try. Do nothing. I dare you. Perhaps you scoff at the idea and probably think it is an easy thing to do. Do be hasty. It is one of the hardest things in the world to just BE. To sit and just think and watch the little details unfold without hastening them or assisting in anyway. I'd love hearing how you do and what you think of his article.
Until we meet again, stay out of the middle of the road. ;-)