I’m looking forward to our week together at Shadowcliff – to opening the windows of our hearts through the sharing of our stories and the building of community. Our retreat will be a chance for all of us to put down the burdens of our everyday life and look with fresh eyes both at what is around us in the eternal present moment and at all those events that brought us to where we are today.
Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister said recently in a reflection on the first images from the James Webb telescope, “science is my spiritual director.” Shadowcliff is a rich environment – a healthy ecosystem that we can observe and contemplate. As we take the time to delight in it, we might understand that here is Divinity engaged in incarnation. Looking within at the same time that we look without, we might also see our own breathtaking belovedness mirrored.
I hope that you won’t bring much with you when you come to our retreat. Something to write on and with, some pens or markers to color with, clothes that you can wear in layers so that you can take some off or put some on as the weather changes, a good hat, some walking shoes, some thick socks, and an open heart should suffice. We’ll spin our stories out for one another, and as we share them we’ll learn from them.
Stories are a wondrous gift. They are an important part of our legacy. If you have ever read a great grandparent’s writings, whether it be a love letter or just a list of things that got done in a day, you know what I mean. There is a magic in the most ordinary of things, and it is enhanced by knowing that we are related to the writer.
If you have never written anything about yourself before, no worries. If you have written a lot and want a retreat where you can devote your time to writing more, wonderful. If you know about spiritual autobiographies, great. If you don’t know what this means, it may become one of your favorite tools for self-exploration and sharing.
Come relax, ponder, observe, and enjoy. Shadowcliff is magic. And I am sure you’ll bring the magic of who you are to this place.
All the best, Laurie