The song “Colours” by Margo Rey has been a favorite on my iTunes play list for quite a while now, but last weekend’s Christian Mothers’ Retreat in Syracuse was the first time I wove the song into one of my presentations. It was a hit, as I guessed it would be. Quite a few women came up to me after my talk and asked for the song’s title and artist. I knew it would tie in perfectly with a religious retreat despite the fact that it is a secular song because it speaks to the heart and to something I think so many women confront in their lives: learning to love themselves for who they are and to step into their own skin once and for all and be brave, no matter what may or may not be going on in the background or center stage of their lives, no matter how they think they’ve failed, no matter what the outside world pushes them to be. Read more
Headline says it all. It’s going to be one of THOSE weeks. Between my out-of-town travel for a weekend retreat and the holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I am totally thrown off. I’d like to put out a blanket apology for any appointments or events I miss today — or this week — because it’s going to happen. I will be one day off until next Monday. So here’s how things stand on this Twisted Tuesday. Read more
It’s amazing how the soul finds what the soul needs.
When I was on silent retreat last month, I sat in the dining room on our final morning, staring out the window at the peaceful, frozen landscape. In the front yard of the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna (yes, this place is becoming a perennial favorite in my posts) amid the many barren trees and evergreens was one lone tree still covered entirely in leaves — dead, brown leaves hanging ever-so-delicately yet ever-so-resiliently from its sprawling limbs. Read more
Sometimes losing our serious adult demeanor for a bit and doing childlike things can take us deeper into our spiritual center than any book on prayer ever could. Case in point: I spent Saturday armed with scissors and a glue stick, cutting and pasting — and praying. Although I’d done collages before on my own, back when I was working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I had never used the art form as a way to deepen my spiritual life. Until this past weekend when I headed back to the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna, my new favorite spiritual place, for a six-hour workshop called “Collage as Prayer.” I convinced one friend to join me and then met up by chance with another once I got there. We had a great group of women, probably about a dozen of us or so, led by Sister Ethel. The result? Two collages and a whole lot of insights into myself and my spiritual journey. Read more
My latest Life Lines column:
I was at the tail end of a silent weekend retreat a few weeks ago when I began reaching my silent prayer saturation point. Although the Dominican Retreat Center in Niskayuna, N.Y., was the perfect place for a spiritual respite, I’m used to taking my doses of silence in the summer when long walks on quiet paths or the rhythmic paddling of a kayak across a perfectly still lake help ease the what-should-I-do-now syndrome that sometimes sets in for me. Silence is not my natural habitat, so I need all the outside help I can get. Read more
For all those who heard me talking about our brokenness on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio this morning, here’s the original column that sparked this as a retreat and workshop topic for me. We are all “broken, beautiful, and beloved.”
If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-gray, large and sun-bleached, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that seashells do. Although I have one perfect channeled whelk shell that I purchased in Cape May, N.J., years ago, my prized possessions are broken shells of every shape and size because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more
“You Can’t Fail Lent: Learning to see these 40 days as journey, not a test.” That’s what I’ll be talking about on Wednesday, April 2, when I head to Darien, Conn., to speak to the Women’s Circle of St. Thomas More Parish. The event, which is open to the public, includes a brunch and will be held at the beautiful Convent of St. Birgitta, 4 Runkenhage Road, Darien.
I’m especially looking forward to this event because I get to spend the night at the convent, which overlooks the inlets of the Long Island Sound. I’ll try to post some pictures and spiritual reflections once I’m back.
If you would like to attend the event, please call Patty at St. Thomas More Parish at 203-655-3303. Tickets for the brunch are $40 per person.
Well, I didn’t plan for this confluence of events, but, as is often the case, the Spirit took care of that for me. Today I’ll be out in Canandaigua, New York, talking to 70 Catholic prison chaplains about “Creating Calm Amid Life’s Chaos.” Couldn’t have come at a better time, what with this week getting off to a somewhat chaotic start here at Not Strictly Spiritual. Read more
If you go on silent retreat, or spend any serious amount of time in deep and quiet prayer, you’re likely to find that some new synapses are firing. Suddenly it’s as if you’ve discovered a previously dormant channel in your brain. Read more