Getting Settled

On a retreat like this one there are as many motivations to be here as there are retreatants, but there is a commonality about what happens in the first few days. One aspect of this is that when people stop and become silent their body lets go of all the little subterfuges it was using to prevent them knowing just how tired they were. So people arrive full of eagerness to enter the silence and start making headway on their inner development and find themselves falling asleep all the time. They would apologise if they were allowed to talk  but they just make oops sorry faces instead.

My spiritual director back in the day taught me to welcome this snoozing. The Holy Doze she called it. And so I pass her wisdom on to those who are coming to me on a day by day basis for direction. These first days will be about letting go and that includes letting go of the plans they have for how they will grow their souls over this coming week.

It's only been 24 hours. I know what is likely to happen. Sometime in the next 48 hours each will find a verse or a song or a line of poetry which bowls them over and they will head off down some entirely unanticipated path. My job is to have a daily one on one talk with some of them, to listen and help them refine what the Spirit is trying to tell them and give them permission to hare off down the new way when it opens up.

it's a quieter week for me. I was able to go for a walk this morning across the lumpy hills  in the clear Maniatoto sunshine, but even though I am keeping silence with the rest of them - except of course for the daily chats- it doesn't feel like a retreat as my attention is on the inner life of these others and not on my own and the days are actually quite long. But there is a different kind of reward and a different kind of growth in being here. It's work I love doing and hope for much more of it in the years ahead. 

Comments

Kate said…
Isn't it interesting. The difference in the passage of time, the experience of a place, depending on our agenda, our expectations, our plans. I think you'd be a very good retreat-leader.
Kelvin Wright said…
We have a little team. There's 3 of us and the others are vastly more experienced than me so it's great to be working with them.