Monday, August 19, 2013

In Silence with the Monks

The first five months of this year was noisy. The hubbub of supporting my dad during the selling and closing of the home place. The cacophony of planning, coordinating, organizing and marketing an estate sale, finding my own place, and moving personal belongings strewn between my dad's and a storage unit. The din of a hectic work schedule demanding 100% of everything I had during February and March. The clamor of moving my dad into my place, then six weeks later into the Carmel Home. The racket of unpacking, sorting, de-cluttering, figuring out what goes where, what gets donated, and how to make it all fit.

When it was all said and done, I needed a break.
With intuitive guidance, and God knowing what I needed before I did, I scheduled back in January a silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown, KY for Memorial Day weekend. By the end of May, I needed time away from what had been my life the past five months. Every part of me knew I needed it mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even physically. I was exhausted in every way.

Ahhhhhh, the quiet, the peacefulness, the beautiful crisp air and sunshine, and the silence. The silence was the best. I spoke to no one, and no one spoke to me. I cut myself off from the world, my laptop, and my cell phone. Armed with a journal and a book called the “Power of Patience,” I temporarily escaped my responsibilities to spend a long weekend with the monks to figure out the “what next” in my life.

Gone was the noise of my to-do list. Gone was the phones ringing at work, people asking me to be here or there. Gone was the sounds of my Egoic Self yammering about what I should be doing, could be doing, or had to do still. My mind, body and spirit listened to the sounds of countless song birds singing their joy. I listened to the wind blowing through the tulip poplars, catalpas and majestic oaks. I tuned in to the whirring and buzzing of insects busy being bugs.
And I heard my own inner voice again.

In the three days and four nights of silence,
  • My Egoic Self confessed and expressed its grief around saying farewell to my childhood home, and that physical connection to my mom.
  • My Soul reaffirmed my love for my father, and my devotion and commitment of support to him for the balance of his life.
  • My Inner Child spoke up about her insecurities around a relationship, and communed with Spirit for healing. 
  • My Spirit Guides reminded me of how I thrived through all the countless changes the last four years of my life, and
  • My Higher Consciousness offered me clarity around my writing, and the infinite possibilities available to paint the blank canvas before me as I moved into the next leg of my journey.
In the silence, I relaxed my mind, my body, and my spirit. 
I rejuvenated my energy and Higher connection.
I reclaimed my personal and spiritual power, and my life.

I had no idea how depleted I was until I went on this silent weekend retreat. This realization deepened within my awareness the importance of taking time to center amid life's chaos. I gave in to the illusion that I had to go, go, go to get it all done. I gave over myself in order to serve others, which ultimately led to my breaking down physically and emotionally before it was all said and done. How is that being helpful to my father, to the people I serve at work, or to myself?

The most important A-HA was I gave up on God to see me through the storm of changes. I let go of centering meditations and daily prayers with excuses of exhaustion and no time. When I could have been looking to God Within for comfort, support and love, I looked outside of myself to my to-do lists, comfort food, whining and complaining, and acting the martyr for the burdens I had upon me. BLEH!!

God is my Shepherd within, and I wandered astray from my guiding support into the jaws of the Wolf, that Egoic Self that relishes in the drama, the misery, and the victimization.

In the sounds of silence, I heard my guiding Shepherd,
and returned to my Higher Self, restored.

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