Saturday, October 3, 2009

Retreat Day and a Walking Meditation...

It was one of those glorious, sunny fall days where the air is crisp, the colours brilliant and the sunshine just warm enough that you almost forget Winter will be  here in a few months.

Today was our women’s retreat up at a charming country church on the outskirts of town, just far enough to feel as if you got away from it all, but close enough that the day comes without a long drive home.

Part of the afternoon’s workshop was to go out along the Sugar Bush trail behind the church for 40 minutes on a walking meditation inspired by the book A Walk Between Heaven and Earth .  Blank notebooks in hand, everyone set out to jot inspirations down.  Inspired to continue yesterday’s exhalation, I took my camera along with me.

Here is my walking meditation...

• A stump invites me to stop and stare.  It looks like a tiny tree troll, inviting me to stop and pause to listed to the faint roar of cars, distant crunches of footsteps on the path, the sounds of my own breathing... so why this restless urge to move on?

• A tiny owl’s face peeks at me from the patterns on a tree’s bark.  Would I have seen that before I started looking?

• Shadow trunks stand dark against fall’s glory, cascading greens, golds, oranges and reds.  Dark trunks thrusting upwards stand apart, yet branches intertwine.

• The texture of burrs catch my eyes...bane or beauty?

• Soft moss grows over rough bark... new life growing out of the old.

• Hidden caverns pecked into bark or twisted into wood over time.

• One tree slopes while others stand tall.  What caused it to bend?  In the end, this tree too reaches up towards the sky.

• Colours abound as seasons turn.  This is part of our familiar dance, but how can we keep from taking it for granted.  How do we keep from overlooking the wonder around us?

• Standing, looking up at the towering trees, I who am so tall feel small, lost in awe and wonder.  No words, no sketches, no photos will ever truly match the beauty I have just seen with my soul.

• Time to head back.  My head has been busy rather than peaceful, but my heart feels light.  Just for fun, I scuff my feet in the fallen leaves and I am suddenly a child again.

INHALE:  Today was an intense reminder of how much we need those retreats from our business, the breaks from our hectic schedules and the chance to put ourselves first.  To gather with other friends in fellowship is always a gift.  To have someone else cook a meal and take care of the dishes so that you can give yourself some time “apart” is a true blessing.  We should all find ways of doing this more often.

EXHALE:  Take a notebook and something to write with on your next walk.  When you see something that catches your eye, take a moment or two to jot down a few words, a thought or an impression then move on.  You can bring a camera along as well, but the fact remains that using our words to capture a moment in time can be a powerful thing.  Don’t worry about the grammar or sentence structure... just let the words flow.

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