Here's the low down on my life the past weeks since retreat...on your mark...get set...GO!
Retreat was wonderful. I had the most perfect weather, a great director, and I worked HARD! Dawn was fantastic as ever...she's so good at reading people, perceptions, and gives good (challenging, but good) homework. I spent the week reading some poetry and two "folk tales" of sorts that she gave me which really profoundly related to some of the things we were discussing.
I spent time with the folk tale, "The Snake Who Lost His Hiss"...moral being: "Don't hurt anyone...but sometimes you have to hiss". Hmmmm.....I'm still having reflection on that story. Dawn's that good...let me tell you!
The memorable poetry lines that are still vividly with me were:
From Mary Oliver's When I am Among the Trees
"When I am among the trees...I would say that they save me, and daily...never hurry through the world, but walk slowly, and bow often...and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine."
I spent most of my days outside walking, walking, and more walking by Lake Michigan. I loved this image of walking slowly and bowing often (um..yeah..two of my retreat themes was "Slow down" and "be good to yourself") and I love the image of being filled with light and to shine!
The other poem that I loved was also a Mary Oliver entitled: Messenger; here are a few of my favorite lines:
"My work is loving the world...Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still land learning to be astonished...which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy...telling them all, over and over, how it is that we live forever."
WOW...my work is loving the world...that was a neat image. The still not "half-perfect" hit me between the eyes. Hmmmm....
Dawn also gave me another poem to begin the week, which I hated. Well..ok...I didn't hate it...it was actually a beautiful poem. But I did hate my reaction to it; and in retreat land...that means "ooooh...struck a chord..HA..." In formation land...someone would ask you then, "Gee...your reaction to that is significant..what's underneath that?" Ick...that's all..it's just plain ick.
Finally...to relish my "FUN" and "PLAYFUL" side...I was given the book There's a Hair in my Dirt by Gary Larson (the Far Side dude). IT WAS HYSTERICAL...one of the best things I've ever read. It's all about interconnectedness from an ecological framework; however I believe the point my retreat director was trying to convey was that the matter in which we deal with things (or not deal with them) affects the "ecosystem" that the "issue" is connected with. I'm tellin' ya...I've never worked so hard on retreat! That spirit was on overtime!
I did quite a bit of mandala journaling too. I even have a couple that are kind of pretty! I was proud of myself because I really let go and used that creative space for a release as well as a way to let the spirit speak to me...AND SHE DID..no question about it. I'm not always that open; but when I am, great insights happen; so YAY for me for being open for a change!
How's that for an evasive description of the lessons of the spirit on my retreat??? It was a good retreat...I'm still processing it and trying to make some sense of these insights and how I can apply them for GROWTH (man oh man...I can't believe what I type sometimes).
This past weekend we had our annual Spirituality Conference (we do this shin-dig every other year)! IT WAS AWESOME....almost 400 sisters and Associates gathered to listen, learn, and discuss God Centered Poverty. As one Sister I know who is making vows in approximately 18 days and 17 1/2 hours, really enjoyed it because of breaking open our call in relationship to the vows. Sr. Ingrid Peterson, a Rochester Frannie and Br. Bill Short an OFM were our speakers. Sr. Ingrid came to the novitiate and I just loved her then. She was equally as delightful and she and Br. Bill made a nice team. They were really playful and jovial...along with some pretty insightful information.
Some "quicks" I took away: Poverty is about giving to and for not giving up and away. We, by virtue of our vow...vow not to appropriate. We share LIFE in all aspects in common. This gives us a freedom. (Sidebar: Our vow formula is: I will be poor, so that I may be more free to give. oh yeah...we rock!) Several sisters raised the other vows like, "hey poverty's nice, but what about chastity and obedience?" Well Br. Bill and Ingrid had a good time dumping the answer onto the other person.
My reflection was, "If we don't appropriate...and this non-appropriating is at the center of the energy behind the vows, this can be translated to the other two quite simply. We don't appropriate in our relationships with others (chastity), and we don't appropriate in our decision-making (obedience). Franciscanism calls us to have our relationship at the root of our call/life together; non-appropriating draws us to deeper relationship with one another in a healthy way."
Anyway...I was all pumped...vows in less than 20 days...conference on vows...application to vows. VOW ME BABY.....I"M SO READY!
I sat at the most bomb-diggity table ever! It was me, Sr. Mary Ann, Sr. Rosemary, and Sr. Judy (whom I didn't really know...so that was nice to have someone I didn't know there too). THEN my two friends Sarah and Jen who are thinking about Associate Relationship (Well...Sarah is becoming an Associate in September and Jen is on her way too!). AND two women, Deb and Shemagne who are in various stages of discernment for vowed membership! It was great to get the different perspectives and experiences. Not to mention we were the fun table...laughing a lot and having a nice time.
I love the Spirit Conference. I think it's our Girls at our best. So many people come in...we pray, we play, we learn, we sing, we dance...it's fantastic. It was a wonderful weekend. Here's the link if you want to read more:
http://www.sssf.org/english/us-newsSpirituality.shtml They don't have pics up yet with updates...but hopefully that will be coming. Sorry I don't have pictures; sure did bring my camera...sure didn't take it out at all. Oops!
Well this is the primary reason I have not updated my bloggy-blog. I am in the throws of being a principal. In short: I LOVE IT and I'm EXHAUSTED. But exhausted in the best way; I guess. I'm trying to let myself adjust...I haven't been on a schedule like this for a while and EVERYTHING is COMPLETELY NEW...(remember that gentle, slow down stuff from retreat...yeah...it was great...for that week... ha ha). But I'm exhausted in a way that says, "Wow...this is really exciting. I'm nervous, but know I have support and good preparation. I feel like this ministry is a great match for my gifts. I think I can make a difference. And I'm so excited to learn."
I'm trying to get things prepared for school to start; I feel far behind, but my friends tell me I'm still ok. I'm working on the scheduling (OH MY GOSH...it's really a difficult task) right now. Then I will have to prepare for in-service and make sure the handbooks are up to date. It's a lot going on...and I am just SOOOO excited to have those kiddos walk through the door! I'll keep ya'll updated on how things are going.
And now...I must go to my Harry Potter book. For book 6; I stayed up until 2am to finish it the first night. Um...yeah...that's not happening this time...I'm savoring it...and loving every page. I love HP!
That's all I got for now...thanks for hanging in...in my MIA status!