highlighting silence...

It's almost impossible to describe all the gifts that I receive when I go on silent retreat. I do these twice a year and they are basically 4 - 5 days of self-directed Silence. Silence. Not necessarily quiet. Although beautifully located, the retreat house remains on a secondary highway and shares the waterway (Madawaska River) with several nearby homes and cottages. The Silence, therefore, is what I attempt to bring to the experience. Never an easy task, but always a worthwhile one! I'll borrow a page from my sister's blog and share with you some of the highlights of my most recent retreat.
  • Going out for a long run on Sunday morning along a dirt road and not encountering a car for an entire 30 minutes. At one point, I heard a rustle in the clearing and saw a flash of white tail. Finally! I had been seeing prints all weekend... As I stopped, so did the deer. We just stood there, looking at each other. That's when I brought my hands in prayer to my heart centre, bowed my head towards her: Namaste. I have nothing but Love for you, Deer. We stared a bit longer, then I turned away and continued my run. Only then did she jump into the forest. Bliss. Pure moment of bliss.

  • The food. The food. The food. I am so very well taken care of at Stillpoint. The cooks pay more attention to my special dietary needs then I do on many days! Phoebe had been experimenting with "sourdough pita" at home and looked forward to sharing it with me. It didn't quite puff up as much as she wanted, but it was delish nonetheless. And those tiny herb biscuits? Please!! Every plate of fruit I received was graced with a sprig of mint and tiny flowers - as always, food that is as enjoyable to look at as it is to eat!

  • Gaining new clarity regarding my chose spiritual path... i am enough... My path asks nothing new of me - no new skills, or knowledge, or training, or abilities, or anything! I have everything I need to continue living a life of sane and happy usefulness. In fact, I tend to carry too much and need to let go. My path is one of subtraction, not addition.

  • The loons! Is there anything more soul-stirringly Canadian than the cry of the lone loon echoing across the water?? (Don't you dare suggest this! :-)) Every evening, I slept with my window wide open so that I could hear the cry of the loons. What began with a single, mournful wail would often be followed up by a veritable toolooloo-ing chorus coming from all directions... a harmonious cacophony that had me smiling in my sleep.
All this, and so much more in four short days. Anyone who believes Silence is an exercise in deprivation has been sorely mislead.

-simply jag


the eyes have it...

Today is the day I see the world anew.

I'm scheduled to undergo corrective laser eye surgery this afternoon. After 35 years of wearing glasses, this represents a BIG change in my life. I am excited... and scared... and apprehensive... and giddy... all that, and more. Unless you've lived a life of blurr and have depended on an external accessory to function in the world, I'm not sure you can fully understand. And that's OK. I've never even worn contact lenses. Not a once. The very idea of sticking my finger in my eye on a daily basis just never appealed to me. Go figure.

As I allow myself to imagine life without glasses, I feel compelled to honour the role they have played. In fact, I kinda wish I had kept them all, as a "this-is-your-life-in-glasses" type thing... then I could hold a thank you & farewell celebration for them ALL!

Ah, glasses... you were:
resented as a child
in the way as a teenager
appreciated and accessorized as an adult
always, and always, miraculous.

As I get closer to the moment of clear, un-aided, eyesight, I offer you a heartfelt "see you later" and a few glimpses into "this-was-my-life-in-glasses".

My first year with glasses - 9 yrs old

Same frame, cooler confidence... 12 yrs

Ahh yesss, the 1980's... high school grad pic

Late 1980's, when lens makers must have charged by surface area... University grad pic

Skipping the wide variety of round, metal frames (mostly due to lack of e-photos) and getting to the uber-chic stage

Who would think that a piece of plastic, distorted to the perfect degree, could become such a part of me, helping to shape my identity? Who will I be without glasses?! I'm trusting that I will continue to be...

-simply jag