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Make friends with sunflowers

Hello beautiful monk friends,

I have been relishing my summer sabbath time, savoring the sweetness of so many goodbyes.  When I chose the word “savor” for this year (or more accurately, when it chose me) I had no idea that I would be spending several weeks without a home or car, saying goodbye to many dear friends, and heading off on this adventure.  We are making our way slowly toward Vienna, stopping along the way to spend time with friends and family.  So many moments of unbridled joy tinged with the sadness of letting go.  I am making room for all of it in my heart.

There have also been moments when I just want to “get there already,” the impatience and anxiety that comes from living out of a suitcase and wanting to feel settled again. In moments of grace, the word “savor” comes rising up again out of my heart, calling me to remember to pay attention to this moment.  The monk in the world remembers that there is no “getting anywhere,” there is only “here” and “now” and it has enough to satisfy every longing.

The United States marks Independence Day this week.  The way of the monk invites us into an inner freedom – one freed from the tyranny of expectations and busyness.  Consider the places where you give away your freedom in service to some image of how you think your life “should” be.  How might you reclaim your independence from cultural messages about your value and worth or from the burden of caring for too many things?

This summer, make friends with sunflowers and wandering crows. Ask them questions about how to savor summertime’s gift and listen for an answer. Ask if they worry about what comes next or what real freedom tastes like.

Did a word for this year choose you back in January?  Maybe it is time to revisit it and see what wisdom it has to offer. . .

I have been missing you, my dear monks, and the Abbey is on my heart a lot, and so I was inspired to connect, even briefly. This summer space though is offering me the gift of open fields for pondering possibilities.  I will write more about those when I check in with you in mid-July from our new home in Vienna.

My email access will be very limited this week and I won’t be able to check email at all between July 6-14, so please be patient with me.  If you have questions, contact Eveline to see if she might have an answer for you and I will reply as soon as I am able.

If you want some more Abbey reflections on the gifts of summer, stop by my Patheos reflection from last year on Savoring Summer’s Sweet Slowness.

Just a quick note that due to popular demand, the fall session of Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist is now open for registration.  If you want to journey through my book The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom with a small group of kindred spirits and facilitated by two wise and loving souls, sign up now as space is limited.  The feedback I get time and again is that this is a powerful and transformative process.  I consider this class to be foundational for embracing the Abbey vision of integrating contemplative and creative callings.

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