Do you yearn for some peace and quiet? The kind that refreshes your spirit and fills you to your deepest core. Do you yearn for time to be still and ponder your life’s purpose?
For years I have put off “retreating.” There was always something else to do. My first exposure of a retreat was in a religious context and then when in the corporate world, I experienced retreat as the opportunity to get away for team building and/or strategic planning.
I gave myself a gift – 7 days of silence with a Spiritual Director at Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center in Marriottsville, MD. My intention was to come to a deeper awareness and assurance of my life’s purpose. Am I answering the call of the Universe was my discerning question for this stage of my life. What better gift than to retreat from the busy world into a space of stillness.
Change is inevitable and brings us to pause the question, am I following my life’s purpose. As for me, what I thought was my purpose in my youth is not the same purpose that I claim now in my maturing years.
While in retreat, I allowed the silence to embraced me. The beauty of the environment provided me the space to be enraptured with the stillness. I was affirmed that I was true to my life’s purpose to help others reach their full potential and to provide opportunities for women to gather for deeper transformational conversations.
I had a favorite bench that I sat on, and it was here that I wrote these reflections that I share with you:
Water ripples and flows.
Insects make their glorious sounds –
a symphony embellished with the honking sound of frogs.
The geese stand across from me at the other side of the pond
Each creature of nature with their sounds and presence is just here,
blending together in a picture of beauty.
The geese seem to be deliberate in their walking,
they leave their mark along the path.
When in the water they glide with no effort – gently.
The choir of frogs wants to be heard.
They sound their part in various tones and rhythms.
Bass, tenors, sopranos singing their part in delicious dissonance.
What are they saying to each other?
Wait – there is stillness – yet again their voices resound.
Only to be quiet for a moment.
I came back to my favorite bench…
I came to hear the music of the frogs
I came to see the family of geese glide through the pond
I came to ponder, in stillness.
I’m amazed at nature’s communication
Each bird, insect, and tree
Speak in a unified flow of God’s grace filled presence.
I looked for them this morning,
The family of geese that is,
They were not in the pond
So, I sat, and I waited
I turned my head and saw them in the distance
wobbling up the hill
Were they coming to see me?
~I think not.
But nonetheless I was joyed by their presence
Whether they know it or not ~ it doesn’t matter,
They were there for me.
I’ve grown attached to these waddling creatures
I seek them out as I sit on my favorite bench by the pond
One emerges from the water and then another.
Looking me straight in the eye
We have our moment.
No words shared
Just a brief stare ~ grace overflowing.
It only takes one bullfrog to get the conversation started,
Then as with permission, a cacophony of sound breaks out.
I think they need a director.
Only in stillness can I enjoy the bird songs.
Only in stillness can I hear the babbling water and observe its flow, its ripples, its movement
Only in stillness can I feel the breeze that surrounds me.
Only in stillness can I see the dragonfly perch softly on the reed.
Only in stillness can I see the butterfly nestle in the flowering bush.
Only in stillness can I hear your gentle whisper.
Oh, setting sun,
you shone for us today – your brilliance exquisite in all its splendor
Your rays filter through the trees.
When I look away from you
My vision is clouded,
So, I raise my eyes to look at you again,
As you drift in slumber.
Ode to the sun
You rise this morning in all your splendor and glory
Brilliant and dazzling does not give you justice.
Shine on all of us today
May we never forget that you are the
one who lights our way,
You are the one who nourishes,
You are the one who brings joy.
I leave this retreat in stillness…
May you find yours along the way.