Last September while leading a retreat, I felt a renewed call to prayer and contemplative availability. My work - leading Benedictus Contemplative Church, speaking and writing - is constantly inviting me to be sourced in a deeper listening and attending. I felt called to create greater space for this in my busy life.
I conceived the possibility of committing to a new weekly practice of a half-day retreat on Wednesday mornings. There'd be no agenda except simply to be available and open, to enjoy the world, and let myself dare trust that simply being present was 'work' enough for this time.
Immediately, I was arguing with myself. Who has time to spend a half day doing 'nothing' every week? Just because I 'could' make space for it, didn't mean I should. After all, most people I know don't have this luxury.
And yet ... once the idea had come, it drew me almost irresistibly. And since September, I've begun. Even days when I thought I didn't have 'time', somehow the day wouldn't let me off the hook. And each time, I've been surprised by joy. A deep sense of peace (shalom) comes as I let myself sink into it. I see so much more, when I stop to pay attention. And each time, I'm so grateful that I've let myself have this.
Here's a couple of photos from an early Wednesday.
A jetty I sat on for a while.
And here it is, closer up.
I have a sense that my 'despite myself' commitment to this time matters. Not just for me - but in ways I don't yet really understand - for others. For a culture stuck on treadmills of endemic busy-ness and distraction, for the planet, for creating openings to grace.
At the same time, I'm wary of seeking to 'justify' my Wednesdays in terms of their supposed high purpose. As Einstein famously remarked, 'Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted'.
At the moment, I guess what is true is that I feel called to this practice ... and I'll see where it leads. This blog is an offering from my Wednesday retreats. It's a place where I can reflect on my experience. I hope it may offer something to you as well.