We're on the verge of Autumn, now,
This is the sort of day that can only happen this time of year--hot sun, cool air, and the wild sky filled with light and noise, and all sorts of things--monarch butterflies, fluff, leaves, clouds, a vulture--dancing on the breeze. The only way to fully appreciate it is to plant your feet, brace your body, spread your arms, and lift your face to the heavens. Let it take you.
Summer was marked by lots of down time, writing, fun travel, and visits with family and friends. And a lovely three-day silent retreat (for me) in a hermitage on St. Joseph's Ridge in southwest Wisconsin, while Jack fished and played golf nearby.
The Ridge has acres of forest, miles of trails, an ancient cemetery, a gigantic garden,and an organic cornfield. Sister Lucy took me on a tour of the orchard--with a variety of apple, pear, cherry, apricot, and hazelnut trees, as well as several kinds of berries. I stayed in one of three secluded hermitages about a quarter mile down the lane from the main property; the only one staying out there. Moment to moment, I found myself immersed in the natural world with all its sounds, smells, light, color and critters. I spent my time on the usual: reading, writing, walking, silence, and found some meditative music in my room, including "The Silent Path" by Robert Haig Coxon. You may wish to check that out.
In the words of Terry Tempest Williams in a Facebook Post:, who articulates better than I can my own need for frequent retreat: "I contribute to this disembodied "content" (Facebook) daily. . .It also robs us of time, time spent engaging with a real world of flesh and fur and leaves and light, the gift of listening to birdsong among the wise standing of trees. I want to touch, taste, smell, hear and see the complexity of relations around me, both human and wild--I want to make peace with the world that surrounds us in real time and space. This is what I need to return to--awe and beauty. This is my personal act of resistance. I need to put pen to paper about the things I care about--This is also about doing the private work of reflection."
Following this time apart and away, Jack and I headed east to Green Bay, where we toured Lambeau Field, before heading over to Sturgeon Bay to explore some of Door County before turning south toward Milwaukee and Chicago. Touring Lambeau Field was a meaningful experience, even for a non-football fan like me. In addition to learning about all-things-Packer, it was fun when Jack was the only one in our group to raise his hand when asked who had attended a Packers game, and whether anyone in the group owned stock in the Packers!
Then there are These Three:
I'm not sure what it's all about, but for the first time since I've been in my position at St. Mary's, it was hard to return to work in August. Nothing huge, but I did find myself thinking I would really rather not work full time. There are so many other things I want to do, primarily spiritual direction, writing, and SoulCollage®. At the same time, I realize that my job is a context for doing all of these things, because it provides access to people. And I love teaching, too, and the stories and connection and experiences with people are all "grist for the mill" as writers say.
I sometimes have to remind myself to pay attention to my resistance. Often, if I am willing to work with it, pay attention to it, ask it questions, and push through, it leads me to places of deep joy that I wouldn't have wanted to miss. Try it.
and Reading. At long last, I finished Evelyn Underhill's fabulous book Mysticism. It was a long read, tiny print, dense writing, and took me at least a year. And it was worth every minute. Janell and I were both reading it and when I got within forty pages of the end, I told her, "Should only take me a couple more months."
This reading was followed with a repeat of Sue Monk Kidd's The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, as well as a novel or two, before turning to Angeles Arrien's The Fourfold Way on the four Archetypes that influence us: The Warrior, The Healer, The Teacher, and The Visionary. Very insightful, and good resource I'm sure i will return to.
Now it's Meditations on the Tarot, another one that's going to take a while, and I started A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara's great big novel,on Helen's recommendation.
I'll just finish up by saying the Ryder Cup was stupendous on our big screen TV, and we're grieving the loss of Arnold Palmer. It was a big week for Golf at our house.