This letter came from a past retreater. She said:
“I now live on a barrier island in Florida where, in the past, I could connect to nature as you taught us. My husband has now retired and I no longer find the joy in the sea. Any suggestions? How do I reconnect?”
After pondering her question this was my answer.
Just as we have to change up our exercise and dietary regimens, so we have to change up our routes to meditation. I suspect “the husband” being in your space has altered your freedom to seek whenever you please. I suggest a weekend alone every once in awhile…away from the home front or at least declaring the first day of each month to be just yours. During that day have an adventure…do something that is out of the ordinary…with art, music, working with your hands, visiting sacred places, sitting in a chapel, and of course walking on a beach you’ve never walked on before…then taking pictures of found newness…like soaring birds or unusual vegetation. One moment will lead to another and awaken within you something that is longing to be brought forward.
A friend of mine just emailed me from The Camino, a 500 mile stretch of road that goes from France to Spain. It is considered one of the great pilgrimages in the world and her various messages telling of her adventures have been entrancing. Today she writes:
I am wearing the turtle necklace that you gave me, feeling gratitude and appreciation for this journey because honestly, I feel like a turtle with all my worldly belongings on my back. I pack and repack my things each morning throwing away all unnecessary things without a second thought as each ounce counts, especially at the end of the day.
What a message! How important it is to lighten our load, not to carry around stuff that we don’t need to be holding on to. For me that would be worries, unfounded fears, and lingering grudges to name a few.
In Iona, when the women set out on various treks I encourage them to fill their back pack with rocks, each of which represent “baggage” that is no longer useful. They are to carry their “burdens” until they decide it is time to release them. Seeing women, standing on a shore, tossing such feelings into the water is always a triumphant scene.
What unnecessary things should you consider getting rid of?
In going through old papers and saved momentoes from my kids, I became nostalgic. In the pile of paper on my lap were greeting cards complete with tender notes, faxes sent from afar when they were each travelling the world, airmail envelopes with actual letters inside, and in the past few years emails that were so dear I copied them and tucked them away as well. These pieces of mail had made the SAVE pile because they possessed sentiments that were rarely said and as such, cherished gems.
But alas, as their individual lives have become chaotic and their families, work, and vocations keep them more than busy, the above mentioned communications have dwindled as have my connection to them. I recall my Mom walking out to her mailbox each day in hopes of finding the written word in one of the envelopes amidst all the junk mail and bills. “People don’t write letters like they used to,” she would say. “I love getting notes from the children. You can read their thoughts over and over again.” Now years later, I find myself as wistful as my mother. It seems letters were replaced by phone calls which have now been replaced by emails and even those are few and far between.
The next best thing to hearing from one of my sons is catching his runner’s blog. It’s not how I imagined to communicate, but I’m grateful for his heartfelt point of view which is more complete than a text. Ah, modern technology.