Retreat Reflections

Our last guest left us Wednesday evening. Thursday and Friday I was back in the office trying to catch up with things left undone. Saturday, was the first day to pause and take stock.

Sitting in the garden,
Reading the Office ( a different kind of "office"),
Bare feet touching grass and soil,
Inviting the bowl to sing,
Qigong massaging,
Tuning again to the rhythms of Earth.

All that preparation before the retreat, then the event over in an instant—but so much packed in.
Congratulations to Sorche, ordained deacon and noviced in Lindisfarne. Grateful for Chris, professed, and Yanchy professed and received as a priest, both bringing so much in their different ways. For all who shared their lives, and journeyings, who listened and loved. It was an important time for all of us individually and together as a community.
In the garden today seemingly nothing has changed, yet everything changes. Nothing remains the same. Post-retreat, I feel a new connection with Earth. "Earth to earth" from the traditional funeral service has new meaning.  Earth is not be dreaded, but loved, cherished, for she is Mother. "Earth to earth" is to return home, to be at one with all that is and has been and will be.
But not to over-romanticize. Significantly a motif of the retreat was goose poop. The wild geese had been to Casowasco before us. As we connected with and appreciated Earth and trod gently barefoot, it was difficult to miss the messier side of nature. I discovered that it is easier to clean goose poop from bare feet than it is from shoes. I discovered that treading in goose poop didn't matter. (The squidgy-ness was quite pleasant when you changed your thinking about it.) As the last few of us were checking around the lodge to make sure nothing was left, the wild geese returned. Scores of them, with dozens of goslings. A sign perhaps? The wild geese of the Lindisfarne Community leave as the nature's wild geese return, maintaining presence, keeping faith with holy places.
Much work still to be done in the integration of body, mind and spirit, of Divine Child and Earth Creature—work we do together.
My heartfelt thanks to +Jane, who largely organizes the retreat, makes everything run smoothly, ensures no one is left out—an immense task. Post retreat twelve lots of sheets and towels to launder, while still working full time at school.
+Ab. Andy