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Reflections

Category: Abbess love notes

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Giving Up a Too-Small God

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Another reflection from the Abbey archives for you on expanding our understanding of the divine: Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the plowshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guests, an altar for an unknown God. — from Amiel’s Journal, translated by Mrs. Humphrey Ward John Cassian, one of the ancient desert

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A Canine Horarium: Praying the Hours with My Dog (a love note)

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, As I deepen into this time of rejuvenation during my summer sabbatical, I offer you this post from deep in the Abbey archives back when we lived in Seattle and our sweet dog Winter was in our lives. Some of you have been journeying with us since that time. Winter wasn’t able to travel with us to Europe because she was part pit bull, but she went to live with friends of ours who adore her and where she has lots of room to romp and play with other dogs. Praying the Hours of the

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Grief as Sacred Journey (a love note)

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Thank you for the very moving notes so many of you sent me from my reflection last week on chronic illness as pilgrimage experience. I am continuing to break my heart open to you here and offer another difficult journey, that of the grief of losing a loved one. I am grateful to Tara Owens at Anam Cara for sharing my guest post at her blog as part of the Soul of a Pilgrim summer blog book tour. Here is an excerpt: My heart sank when I stepped tentatively into my mother’s room. She lay

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Chronic Illness as Pilgrimage (a love note)

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I continue my blog book tour this summer and am delighted that Judy Smoot of Always We Begin Again is hosting a guest post from me as well as an interview (see interview details below). Here is an excerpt of my reflection on living with chronic illness as an experience of pilgrimage: I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 21 years old. The only other person I knew at the time with this disease was my mother and her body had been ravaged by the effects of deterioration, with multiple joint replacements

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Sing a Rededication of Your Life (a love note)

Now it is time to sit quiet alone with You and to Sing a re-dedication of my life in this Silent and overflowing joy. —Rabindranath Tagore, “A Moment’s Indulgence” Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I offer you this excerpt from my new book The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Inner Journey. These are words which have been coming back to me as I begin my summer sabbatical and offering me consolation and refreshment. May they offer the same to you: I received the poem above when I attended a silent retreat a couple of years ago at

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“We Dance Wild” – A Poem for the Abbey by Joel McKerrow (a love note)

Dearest monks and artists, We have had an amazing spring full of travel and teaching. In March we led a group of young adults on a pilgrimage to Glendalough. In April, I went back to the Northwest U.S. for three weeks of leading retreats and trainings. May brought us to Vienna to lead a monastic pilgrimage there, and in June we led a group of pilgrims here in Galway. The season has felt richly blessed. This work is at heart about relationship, and to spend time with so many beautiful souls in such amazing places feels abundant beyond measure. Summer

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The Practice of the Holy Pause (love note from your online abbess)

Dearest monks, artists and pilgrims, Modern life seems to move at full speed and many of us can hardly catch our breath between the demands of earning a living, nurturing family and friendships, and the hundreds of small daily details like paying our bills, cleaning, grocery shopping. More and more we feel stretched thin by commitments and lament our busyness, but without a clear sense of the alternative. There is no space left to consider other options and the idea of heading off on a retreat to ponder new possibilities may be beyond our reach. But there are opportunities for

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