Easter blessings (a love note from your online Abbess)

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Spring Poppy

Dearest Monks and Artists,

Springtime seems to be breaking out slowly in the northern hemisphere, with its promise of renewal and new beginnings.  Here in Galway it has been quite cold and windy these last several days as we await the weather to begin to turn, to open toward the season of growing light.

But springtime is as much an inner experience as it is an outer one.

I am feeling this sense of opening within me.  My husband and I have been here in Galway for two months now, time to settle in and find our way, begin to make connections.  I am slowly falling in love with the city with its Saturday farmers’ market, the swimming pool I can walk to across town, the abundance of art, music, and theater opportunities, the promenade along the Atlantic where I can walk for miles, the wonderful places to eat.

With both our move from Seattle to Vienna last summer, and this time our move from Vienna to Galway, I have found it takes a good two months before I stop feeling so pulled between the old and the new.  Before I stop thinking so often of what we left behind and longing for “home.”  I have learned to be gentle with myself in this experience, to allow space for the grief and longing without judgment.  I have embraced this feeling of being a stranger, knowing it has so much to teach me.

I have learned that an antidote to the sadness that can sometimes swallow me, is to bring myself back to this moment.  To savor the gifts that only now can bring.

In my daily long walks along the edge of the sea, I release my own agenda, that is when I feel the most ease, the most delight.  When I let myself fully arrive here.

Then there are her closing words, which seize my heart, because they remind me that I embarked on this life pilgrimage in part to come to terms with some of the darkness in my family system.  Our six months in Vienna was largely an inner journey of reconciliation with my father who is buried in the central cemetery there.

I see that I have already moved toward the freedom that this kind of forgiveness brings, without even consciously being aware of it.  This noticing feels like a kind of resurrection.

Ireland has become a new chapter for me, one with different calls and challenges.  But this shadow of my father’s addictions has lifted for the time being.  I have not even thought of them in a long while which is its own kind of grace.

I go back to Vienna Sunday morning for two weeks.  The first week will be spent introducing my dear friend Kayce to the magic of the city I love so much, and then the second week our retreat pilgrims gather to let the city become both a palette and a muse.

So I will not be sending out another love note until I return. But in the meantime, you might ponder the ways to practice resurrection: Can you soften in your own being, finding a sweet gentleness toward yourself?  Could you walk without agenda, simply reading the beautiful book of the earth?  And might you consider whether there is an opening toward the forgiveness of a past hurt calling to you as the seasons turn?

Blessings in this threshold time.  May the slow blooming of the world around you be reflected in your soul.  May you experience your own resurrection this Easter.

With great and growing love,

Christine

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