Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Retreat Installment #2: Whimsical Yo Yo

Profound YoYo (see Retreat Installment #1) had the spirit working over time in lots of intense prayer time...LOTS. Because the spirit believes that my goal for life is BALANCE...she surprised me my first afternoon of retreat (day after YoYo Ma) with a care package. I woke up from a nap and opened my door and voila! Here's what I saw:


A little context...My friend, Sr. Vicki, CSA is the proud owner of a Hoops stuffed animal. Hoops has been on retreat, around the US, and most recently in Ireland accompanying a group of Dominican students on a trip. Hoops missed having a buddy to join in the photographing fun...so he decided to surprise me with a Yo Yo care package to help balance some of the seriousness (or as my retreat director said, "You need a little whimsy!").

So I opened the door and laughed (I was totally surprised) and in addition to Yo Yo there was a coffee mug and a fun and thoughtful card. I now had an assignment...Yo Yo needed to have a retreat with me so he could share with Hoops all of the great things we prayed about this week.

video

It was a good diversion when life got a little intense, that's for sure. And it was fun to say, "Hey...Yo Yo could take a picture of this...and this...oh and this!" (Yo Yo is having way more fun on vacation! Just wait until those photos come!)

Well...folks...that is Retreat Installment #2: Whimsical Yo Yo. There is one final chapter to be unveiled...

Retreat Installment #3: Multi-Media-ing Yo-yo...stay tuned....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Retreat Installment #1--Profound YoYo

Yo-yo...blog readers!

Seems hardly fair that I can be sitting outside, on a deck, in the sunshine over looking Dell Creek on an 80 degree day in July (where my only frustrations have been: I have to keep moving so I can see the computer screen and just now, "Oh shoot the wind blew over my cheese and cracker). I thought at one point I was called to be a cruise director...maybe I should revisit that. :-) I love vacation!

Last week I was on RETREAT, my annual week-long, "silent" directed retreat. I knew I needed a retreat badly...(that's definitely a sign of "nun-culturation") and was looking forward to Q-U-I-E-T time. Sure...the externals were quiet--but inside "Katy-land" not so much. Retreat definitely slows the pace and gives good spaces for prayer, reflection, working through stuff, etc. Retreat can be hard work, too *insert look of disbelief and laughter (c'mon I've seen it before)*. My last two retreats were working retreats...but this one was like boot camp for the spirit-self. Unfortunately, for me...all wasn't in, out, gone by Friday either. It was more like "AHH...Ooh...NOO...ugh...I see...hmm....argh!....ack!....yay!!....what?...WHAT??...c'mon....hmm"

Yeah...it was that kind of retreat...I just kept thinking...oh PRAISE GOD that I have vacation afterwards for retreat recovery. Don't get me wrong...retreat did it's job and took me along for the ride; but it was definitely a bumpy ride with UPs and DOWNs and "Are we there yet?" isn't even worth asking, because you know very well that you're not there YET.

Funny I should mention UPs and DOWNs...the Yo-yo seemed to be a theme that came UP in three interesting ways: 1. YoYo Ma 2. Yo-Yo (as in best friend of Hoops www.hallmark.com) 3. yo-yoing So...welcome to my crazy world of retreat reflections 2009.

I have three needs for retreat: good weather for walking, water (as in lake, river, ocean, etc), and a director who likes a challenge (...and it's not my goal to be challenging). I've posted about retreat before...so I won't reiterate all of that stuff.

video

Anywho...night #1 I went walking with my mp3 player and this haunting cello (Well it was a symphonic piece, but the cello was highlighted throughout) piece came on.

**NOTE: I have the piece in the video above, if you want to hear it. The flower was just an aide to circumventing the "no music hosting on blogger"; that's the only image, if you want to keep reading**

I had been making my little deals with the spirit for retreat (more like begging...PLEASE...I WANT TO HAVE A GOOD RETREAT...C'MON spirit work your magic!) I've probably heard it a million times, but this time the music played right through me. I was totally drawn into this piece of music and the cello in particular. I still really don't have words to describe my reaction, but what ever IT was...IT was deep and profound. I don't really do feelings all that well, but if someone came up me and said, "well how does that make you feel?" I'd have given them my headphones.

Well...that set the context for my retreat for sure. I'd actually been struggling with "words" in my prayer and journaling for a while--F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G. Try journaling without words (and being a stink-o artist) for a few months and see. One of my learnings these days is to love the power of images (something I hated a few years ago) and allow other things (like music, movies, um...people :-) ) get "in", to get "out", and moved "on".

I came back to the retreat house and sat and stared out the window for a long time listening to this piece over and over (and over) and then started writing. Now...I'm not a write-er, I don't do stories or poems or creative artistic writing stuff. I can make up Haiku's, Quatrains, Limerick's, but they are silly and for fun. While listening to this piece was was just writing down the images that popped into my head...and this poem-ishy thing appeared in my journal:

The deep, slow drone
Draws her in--without warning.
Bowed gently, her subtle melody
Thoughtful and intoxicating.
Smooth and simple phrasing,
She feels the ache of each note.
Careful chording, haunting sound--
Tangled in her sad story.

Marveled by passion and intensity--
The cellist shifts focus,
Soft and serene,
Higher and faster--
She is fooled again; quickly returning
To the song's deep darkness.

A constrictor like melody,
The prey is right where he wants,
Almost teasing its victim.

The cellist releases the bow,
Family of strings begin;
Listeners, perceiving a resolution.
To this deep grieving song.

Lastly, woodwinds, in their rescuing ways,
Take most to a masked land, which doesn't exist.
All eerie dissonance resolved.

Except for the prey,
Longing for him to reach the final cadence;
Only to hear silence and feel peace.

Ok Spirit...you had my attention at least (AND THIS WAS THE FIRST NIGHT)...Welcome to retreat, Sista Katy...it's going to be a "fun" one!

Stay Tuned for Retreat Installment #2: Whimsical Yo Yo.