Tag Archives: good fortune

On Retreat, And Other Thoughts on a Meaningful Life…

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A Retreat is the removal of one’s self from the day-to-day doings, and to enter into a sequestered environment for contemplation and prayer and sometimes…work.  I just made up that definition, because that is what it is for me.

In 2012, I learned of a women’s retreat, where others came together, and contemplated, prayed, and bonded.  I wanted that.  I needed that.  And I was able to make my own Retreat in 2014.  It was everything I thought it would be, and even more.

I loved it so much, I went back again in 2015, this time as a Team Member, because this type of retreat, a person can only make once.  I worked in the kitchen, after saying, “I’ll do anything, but kitchen duty.”  (I’m great with that sort of thing.  Saying no to what I most need to have or be.  I need to wise up, and quit that.)

Of course, that was where I was needed, and I’m glad I didn’t let pride get in the way, but said, “Yes.”  The work that weekend was so exhausting, physically, that I cried the last day from it.  It was a good cry, though, and I loved it so much, I went back again last week.

This time, I wasn’t asked to work in the kitchen.  I was asked to help set up, be on call, and break down the facilities.  I can truly say, without any hesitation or  exaggeration (something I am prone toward), that I was just a exhausted and wiped out as I was from kitchen duty.  I didn’t cry, though.  When I got home, I took a long, hot, epsom salt bath, with a refreshing glass of wine, and basked in the release of pain from my feet, legs, and body.  I loved this past weekend so much, I’ve had dreams of it in some form every night since, and the “theme” song from the weekend is a constant ear-worm.

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And about the prayer, you may ask…well, that’s the whole thing, isn’t it?  Praying for the Weekend, the Team, the Candidates, and the Sponsors;  praying for individuals, for three months prior was a commitment.  Serving the women there, during the weekend. That was a commitment.  Praying during the weekend for individuals, and for my own stamina, was a commitment.  Prayer takes me away from my Self.

And thoughts on a meaningful life?  I have a quote by David Ellis on a slate, in my own tiny-house-kitchen which reads, “What is the best use of a lifetime, given this much good fortune?”  That quote reminds me daily that I have everything, and I have a lot of lifetime left for good use, and that I need to keep using my life well with all my plentiful good fortune.

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My heart is in a very different place now, than it was six years ago, and it is, indeed, a life full of meaning.                 And so, Amen.

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Counting Blessings…

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This is Holy Week, and I am trying especially hard to be spiritually mindful.  I haven’t exactly lived a charmed life, but I have always had much for which to be grateful, and I have always recognized that I am fortunate in many, many ways.  I am an optimist.  Remember, that’s my super-power.

So getting to the point, I have begun the habit of making sure I recognize ten things each day that I have considered to be blessings.  I began this some months ago, and I have realized that some days this habit has come more easily than others. 

I have thanked God for my sisters, living parents, my brothers, all family members, my faith, the Holy Eucharist, and my church community. I have been grateful for a good night’s sleep, a hot cup of coffee, my little dog and my kitty, a shower, my warm coat, a new pair of shoes, nice clothes, and the rain.  I have been grateful for my good mattress, clean sheets, a good television and a good PBS show to watch, NPR radio, and sufficient funds to pay my bills.  I have counted staying upright, yoga classes, friends on the other side of the Earth, travel opportunities, clean teeth, warm pajamas, my red stove in the winter, and a nice supper with a glass of wine as daily blessings.

I’ve told myself, when I felt as if I were searching, that it was ridiculous.  If I couldn’t easily think of ten things as blessings, then I wasn’t being very grateful.  So I kept going…good health, a nice car, a tutoring child, a good hair day, a darling house, a nice yard, a good neighborhood, wonderful neighbors and friends, my book club, the women who invited me to play cards and schedule the meetings on days I can come, my BFF who calls me every Friday on her way home from school, my Saturday morning coffee/faith group, and good books to read, my peaceful single life, flowers that bloom and birds that sing, and even more I can’t remember right now.

THEN, last Sunday, I saw a documentary movie about women in Nepal.  Hoo-boy.  All of my gratitudes are of the First World type.  So, this week, Holy Week, I have been grateful for windows and doors in my home, a wood-not-dirt floor, a flush toilet (and thank you, very much for Thomas Crapper, who invented it),  a refrigerator, an automatic washer and dryer inside my house, hot and cold running water, shoes period, food and plenty of it, an inside gas stove to cook such food by just flipping a knob, clean air, fresh water, a sink inside in which to wash dishes, soap and shampoo, American citizenship, toothbrushes, feet to walk and hands to work and eyes to see and ears to hear and lips to talk.  A good clear mind is also a remarkable blessing.

Yes, I am showered with blessings of all magnitudes.  Being able to count ten a day is another blessing, too.

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My tiny house, as view through my blooming Dogwood, blessings for sure.