Images of a Retreat

Richard Rohr says, “To be a contemplative is to trust deep time.”

I spent last week on a silent personally directed retreat at Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center in Fremont, Ohio. I’m still processing and ruminating with my experience but wanted to share a few musings since I haven’t written in a while.

I try to do at least one week long retreat a year. I try to trust deep time and I long for it. While I set aside a day each month for extended prayer and reflection, I always look forward to a week of solitude and prayer away from the busy-ness and noise of daily life.

I spent this retreat in silence and met with a spiritual director daily. I believe my years of Zen practice make me more sensitive to sound so, a slam of a door and a clank of a spoon on a coffee cup seemed so intrusive into my silence. But, I leaned in to it, smiled and affirmed the silence within myself. Silence is not always about no sound. It’s our relationship with sound that matters.

We also used the SoulCollage® https://www.soulcollage.com/ process to delve deeper into our souls and spirits. The process of discovering images and doing a “mash up” of various images in prayer and reflection helped me to go deeper into my spirituality and bring that to spiritual direction each day.

I was fundamentally changed by the grace of this retreat. I allowed myself to fully enter into a slower pace and to trust the deep time. OLPRC is truly beautiful and is full of pine trees, oak, maple, sycamore, and others along with deer, raccoons and hawks and more. It rained several days and I managed to find a cozy chair to read or solitude in the intimate chapel for prayer.

I asked for a deeper relationship with the Divine and I set an intention to breath slowly, to walk contemplatively and to relax into the Love of the Universe. I tend to be one who is most comfortable in the world of thoughts and of the mind. I deliberately chose a retreat where mind could sink into the world of intuition and heart. SoulCollage® paved the way for me to live in the world of heart and spirit for a week.

I re-discovered we are Loved by the Divine by whatever name you like. It may be the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as that symbol which lets you feel in your heart, you soul, your very essence that you are loved. It may be the chittering of baby raccoons and their mama that lets you hear the love of the Creator. It may be the image of a silhouette of a couple in a cosmic starfield gazing for eternity into each other’s eyes that lets you see Love. Whatever your image, sit with it. And sit with it some more. Feel your breath move in and out of your body. Feel that breath down in your diaphragm. Rest there. Live there. Love there.

I recommend SoulCollage®. I recommend a silent retreat. I recommend Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center https://www.pinesretreat.org/ I highly encourage you to pause – daily – for at least 10 minutes and breathe. Breathe in Divine Love. Feel it in your heart. Feel it all the way to your toes. Know deep inside you are Loved.

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction or companioning is typically done face to face in a confidential setting. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual direction, or to experience group spiritual direction, please contact me. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for your prayers and support.)


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