Monday, October 13, 2014

be still

 It seems as soon as I step into Roxane's van, the chaos, the mess, the darkness, begins to fade into the dust being kicked up by the van and left in a cloudy trail behind us.  We talk the miles into oblivion until suddenly, I gasp, oh its the turn, already!  And an hour has evaporated.



We're here.  At the invitation of Mother Joseph, we're here at Carmel of Mary, a Carmelite Monastery, for a "retreat."  It's my third time here.



The light begins to shine as we turn to enter the lane that will take us to the Monastery.  Its a gorgeous fall day.






We drive past the chapel and work our way back to the guest house.  

We are greeted by these, poking through the rails, straining to face the sunshine.  Its a welcome greeting, Roxane and I both stop to capture in pictures.


We put away our things, but every window beckons with a filmy, gauzy, white in which the sun streams through.  I can hardly wait.


The "blue" bedroom is the one I always choose.  But I barely lay my bags down and reach for my camera.  I can't sit inside for long.  While Roxane, a writer and journalist, works, I head out.   My thoughts still, as my eyes open to the light streaming everywhere.





I walk outside and as my feet hit the earthy grass, I see a Guinea feather, left behind by one of the hens that inhabits the grounds.  I see them, far off in the distance.  Its the only sighting of them I have the entire time I'm there.


I walk past the gated areas, where the sisters live.  With 7 hours of their day centered around praying, I am quiet with my steps, not wanting to disturb the solitude around me.  


The gate, to their backyard, with the word "cloister," on top.  The word according to Merriam Webster means : a place where monks or nuns live : a monastery or convent
: a covered path or hall with arches that is on the side of a building (such as a monastery or church) and that has one open side usually facing a courtyard


The silence is both staggering and serene.



Its a long walk, yet, just like our ride, I shoot photo after photo, stepping carefully through the grounds.  There is something so sacred about being here.  I go to sit in front of Mary, and at long last my overflowing heart is unburdened.  



While the leaves are turning autumnal colors, and falling steadily from the trees, bursts of color stand out everywhere my eyes gaze.  Like at the feet of Mary, the bright red flowers, just beginning to wither, yet steadfastly facing into the light.



I soon get up to walk down and around the rest of the property.  The light dazzles everywhere and I am shedding my sweater, for short sleeves, just like my soul is shedding its burdens, layer by layer.


I walk.  I breathe.  My mind ever still.  About the only word that truly escapes my lips, is thank you, God, thank you.



While there are points of reflection in so many places, like the bench below, I simply wander forward.  My Fitbit steadily counting all my steps.


Step, after step, of gorgeous grounds, and nature in all its glory.  How can one not feel God?  I do not have any urgency to find Him, He is everywhere.  I just breathe deep.













I'm outdoors, walking the grounds for nearly two hours.  Its nearing dinner time and Roxane and I will be heading into town to eat our first meal on our own.  

But as if my first day, wasn't spectacular in every way, the next day doesn't disappoint in all of my new discoveries.  More coming… 






18 comments:

  1. pictures are beautiful. spectacular colors.

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    1. How fun to see you show up here Vicki! I pray you are doing well. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such kind words!

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  2. Vicky, I was about to transition and was thinking about gathering up my photos and posting, but alas, my day has gotten ahead of me again for various distractions and obligations that have come up (including timing my presentation). So I read this and I am thinking...Hmmm...I think I will borrow Vicky's post today. Why not? So, I will put up one of my photos, then link to yours, because you told it so beautifully. I can't wait to see what else you share. And by the way, this really grabbed me. So true! Thank you for gifting me with your presence. Also, I was thinking this was your fourth visit. I was misled, I think, with the one you had hoped to come to but had to pull back from. I am so glad this one worked! More soon from me too, but today I will share you, if that's okay.

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    1. I think its a great idea to link back- we will simply keep on sharing the experience :) Hugs friend- it was fun catching up with you earlier today!

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  3. What a beautiful, serene place.

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    1. Yes- so serene it takes me awhile to unwind and sink into it- but then hard to leave too.

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  4. What an exquisite, serene place to rest, replenish and restore. Thank you for sharing the photos and your transformational journey. It mirrors and supports us all in the innumerable challenges we face in one way or another.

    May the love in the bottomless well of your generous heart flow to every cell of YOUR being - strengthening and healing each one.

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    1. Great words Bonnie, precisely that. Such richness in your words- thank you for such a kind expression! I wish you well!

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  5. So much beauty and burden lifting in this.

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    1. Such truth in your words, Susan, I can only imagine the photos you would garner in such a place. I'd love to see it through your keen vision :)

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  6. What I like about retreat houses is that they are always so beautiful. I guess of course they are made for that atmosphere. They never fail to uplift my spirits. The views of nature alone does the job. Enjoy your stay. What a lovely place you are in.

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    1. Thank you- its so great to see you drop in here- I hope you are well! The retreat house makes me feel as though I am stepping back in time. It feels like my grandmother's house and the comfort in that alone is priceless.

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  7. Found myself wishing I could have gone with you to that pastoral setting. How inviting and refreshing and it was very warm and cozy recalling your previous visits as if I had been there, too. Oh, I love your writing and your photography. You're so gifted....and giving. XOXO

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  8. Oh sweet friend,
    Ahhhh...every photograph made me feel like I was on the retreat with you. The gorgeous trees, the retreat house, the grounds, the light coming through the trees. Suddenly I took a much needed "sigh" and started to breathe more fully.

    How perfect and timely that you went there...a soul restoring, mind easing, God knowing time. A reminder that no matter what... All is well and all shall be well. He has got this!
    So, so glad you had this time of reflection.

    Love you to the moon and back Vicky!
    Linda

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  9. SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Vicky I was praying for you today and I found myself saying "God is for Vicky"! Our pastor has the congregation say that often. "God is for us"! Sometimes I have to say it many times to get it DEEP in my spirit. HE IS for us!!! Kneeling with you daily...

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  10. Ohhh, I love being there with you! Exquisite pictures and I get such a peaceful feeling reading how you've strung your words together--like pearls on a necklace.

    You're in my heart, precious friend.

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  11. Lovely post, from beginning to end. I love it all, even the feather! And what blue skies you had!!

    I pray you keep that peaceful vibe, feeling in your heart and mind, keep it close. The Lord is good.

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  12. oh Vicky...I found myself reading and scrolling through these stunning photos and taking a deep breath as I just entered your moments...feel like I'm whispering to you now... sacred time and you've spilled out the sacred . Thank you xo

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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