“Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around
someone of ease who feels they have all the time in the world.”
~ From To Bless The Space Between Us,
“For Someone Who Is Exhausted”
by Fr. John O’Donohue
Though time alone can be a sweet spot for retreat and renewal, a week off the grid with friends in North Carolina recently was especially good for my soul. Each of us traveled to Sanctuary Mountain from different parts of the country to rest in the company of each other… Tina from Georgia, Linnea from Florida, Christy from Pennsylvania, Kirsten from Tennessee, Catherine from Virginia, Kathy from North Carolina, and me from Colorado. We created prayer strands, walked a labyrinth, crafted prayer bowls, participated in sound bathing, guided meditations, Centering Prayer, and Visual Journalling. We designed books containing our personal longings, enjoyed an afternoon of admiring frescoes in the small local churches, and spent two evenings drumming in fairy costumes under the stars, around a fire, to mark the Fall Equinox.
All of these things were meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable!
And, for me, the most precious experience of our time together was the time we sat on the covered porch wrapped in blankets, or around the kitchen island, listening to each other share our current blessings and challenges. During these sits, we were present to each other without attention to a clock or a schedule. A pause in one’s sharing was not an invitation for others to speak, but rather a time to hold the space attentively. Silence that seemed to signal an end to one’s sharing was met with an on-going invitation, “And what else?”
My soul breathed deeply during those times. Both the sharing and the receiving of others was centering.
Deep listening can be challenging in our day-to-day lives. Alarms and work schedules, care-giving and must-dos are distractions that get in the way of fully receiving one another. And the very busyness in our lives that is spiritually draining can make it difficult for us to recognize and articulate what’s on our minds and in our hearts even when we do have an opportunity to share.
Do you have a person, or people in your life who you have learned to ”linger around?” People “of ease” who “feel they have all the time in the world?” (From the words of Fr. John O’Donohue above)
Think for a moment about who that is for you. Or who that could be for you. It may not be someone you have shared a past with or are well acquainted with. Or it may be someone who has been a part of your life through many seasons. The thing is, we each need these sorts of relationships. We each need to be heard, to be received in a way that helps settle us spiritually. By listening actively and without commente allow one another to speak without selectively sharing to meet an expectation or a standard.
I invite you to cultivate these relationships, or to return to those you have already cultivated. And to keep your hearts open for those who have crossed your path and may be searching for a spiritual friend.
If you are someone who is interested in joining a sharing circle, please contact me. I will be hosting a circle in my home in the months to come.
Pleased to be on the journey with you,