Surrender to Surprise

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I learned that from “The Brady Bunch” (or Math class).  11aMapQuest or Google Maps usually give a few  options, recommending the most direct route. But based on my own personal experience, it isn’t always accurate or logical.  It may seem more efficient to take a well-planned route, but it’s not nearly as adventurous. I find it so exciting to drive down a road that I’ve never been on before and sooooo boring to drive the same route time after time.

There are countless ways to get from one point to another.  And I plan to discover as many of these countless routes as possible between Lincoln and Schuyler, Nebraska. Just go north and west, 90 minutes. COUNTLESS possibilities– each one delivers something new with St. Benedict Center as the final destination. Continue reading “Surrender to Surprise”

The Right Book at the Right Time: A Divine Encounter

“Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth, what a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.”—Annie Lamott

I believe the right book comes along at just the right time.

As both bibliophile and believer in a God of surprises, how could I not? Whether at home or away, SolariumI always have a book, or ten, by my bedside. I like to have choices. I have dozens of books on shelves I want to re-read (and do) (and will). I also have dozens of books that I haven’t read yet. So when I go away, I pack 3 or 4 to choose from depending on my mood.  When I’m at St. Benedict Center, sometimes the books don’t even leave my suitcase; instead I let Serendipity choose for me. I go into the solarium, peruse the book titles and wait for one to speak to me. And the right book always presents itself. There is never a wrong choice. Continue reading “The Right Book at the Right Time: A Divine Encounter”

Benedictine Spirituality, Hospitality…and My Favorite Monks

I’m not sure how it really started, that I call the monks of Christ the King PriorymonksMy Favorite Monks”, but I’ve been calling them that for several years now. Once upon a time, I didn’t know ANY monks and now I have “favorite” monks. It was an advertisement in the Lincoln newspaper for a contemplative prayer retreat that brought me to St. Benedict Center (and the Monastery, across the street) in 2002. I am grateful to the monks who have shared their faith and wisdom through contemplative and guided retreats (dozens of them!), the Oblate program, Continue reading “Benedictine Spirituality, Hospitality…and My Favorite Monks”

Wise or stupid? A Journey to Wisdom

I am spending time this week preparing a retreat called Journey to Wisdom. Sometimes I am so sure I know what is wise and what is not-so-wi….well, stupid. I can be pretty quick about making that determination in a variety of situations. In educational jargon, I would say I am proficient at determining wise vs. stupid. I am particularly adept at examining the dilemmas or behaviors of others. Actually, I give myself an A+. I’m fairly certain, even, that I’ve done some not-so-w, well, stupid, things myself. I guess we can all have our stupid moments.  So what does it really mean to have wisdom?

Wikipedia tells us, “Wisdom (sophia) is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight, with good intentions.” Having knowledge presumes there is some seeking and hopefully, some finding. Knowledge and experience (according to my experience) come from learning, reading, living, asking questions, trying something new, keeping an open-mind, listening.  And insight can come from reflection, observing, asking, seeking, creating, listening, discussing, meditating and praying–I imagine not an exhaustive list.

Seeker1So can we ever have wisdom? Knowing all, experiencing all, understanding all–sounds more like the definition of God, than of myself. I do not know, experience or understand very much, truth be told. Yet still, I seek.

“The monk, a universal archetype of the search for the divine, represents everything in you that leans toward the sacred, all that reaches for what is eternal.” -Christine Valters Paintner, The Artist’s Rule

This seeking, as a spiritual journey, is never complete. And despite my accuracy in judging wise vs. stupid, I believe it is a journey of a lifetime. I will continue to search, to seek, to lean toward the sacred. So this is what I do with SoulFully You. I seek. I seek to know more about myself and God. I seek so I can share.  I read, learn, discuss, pray and create. I consult my inner monk and inner artist.

The inner monk and the inner artist are archetypes that we will explore on the Journey to Wisdom retreat. I will share more with you on a future blog post (after the retreat.) Sharing too much beforehand would not be wise…well, it would be stupid. 🙂

Card name: Seeker

Journey to Wisdom: Using SoulCollage® for Prayer and Reflection

journey

Awakening your creativity using the SoulCollage® process is just the first step in discovering parts of Self and Spirit. Images chosen to create a collage card hold a special place in the moment and time you are co-creating with God. As you are gathering images, cutting and pasting, rearranging and reflecting, your images will guide you to a new awareness and reveal a deeper level of thoughts and feelings. This is the birthing of a SoulCollage® card, but giving birth is just the beginning of a journey.

“You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you.”
-Heraclitis of Ephesus

Your creations continue to bring new insights and wisdom as you return to them in reflection. Think of your creation as the river with water flowing over it, bringing new ideas, experiences and God whispers from sacred listening.

Using one’s SoulCollage® cards for prayer, meditation and reflection is a process called “reading” your cards“The intention of a SoulCollage® reading is to provide a way that our personal and powerful card images can actually speak aloud to us about important life questions. Images have a way of bypassing the chatter of our logical minds and nudging our deep Soul wisdom where intuitive answers can be found and spoken. Doing a reading in a supportive, small group is especially powerful because Souls love the silent embrace of witnesses.”
~ Seena B. Frost

Using journaling, individual reflection, group interaction and “I am one who…” statements, you can deepen your spiritual life using your collage cards. Cards made during unique, special or difficult times of your life, circle back to bring you wisdom as you continue on your spiritual journey.

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