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Spiritual medicine from a wise Trappist monk

The past few months have been quite a spiritual roller-coaster for me due to an experience in early summer that pushed me past the breaking point. I couldn’t even bring myself to attend Sunday Mass, something completely out of character for me. My family would head off to church, and I would stay behind, feeling cut off, unable to rouse the slightest spark of spiritual connection. Read more

Take a weekend to nourish body, mind, and spirit

I’m guessing you could use a few days of peace and quiet, maybe in a gorgeous spot, where you have nothing to do but stare out a lake and let someone else do the cooking. Sound about right? If so, mark your calendars. I’ll be leading a retreat — Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid Life’s Chaos — at Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, New York, over the weekend of Sept. 8-10, 2017. Your spiritual getaway will include collage-as-prayer, journaling, silent breakfasts, meditation in motion, and prayer practices to help you discover the divine in the everyday, the miracles in the mundane. Plus, you’ll get delicious meals and free time to rest or hike or paddle a kayak across a crystal clear lake. I’ll provide the program; Pyramid will provide the spectacular setting, and you can do as much or as little as you want. The goal is to nourish yourself — body, mind, and spirit. Read more

One month of meditation. Does it make a difference?

One month ago today, I decided to commit — really commit this time! — to a daily meditation practice. I’ve been down this road before. Usually I don’t make it more than three or four days before the snooze button wins out over the sounds of silence, but this time something was different. I think it was the Cravings journey I’d been on with my tribe. Although the food thing remained a struggle for me throughout that journey, the principles and practices clearly benefited other parts of my life. Something was seeping into the cracks of my soul and pushing me forward. Read more

This balancing act called life

What does a balanced life look like to you? When I hear the word “balance,” I feel the word “peace.” In my mind’s eye, the two are inextricably linked. And on some deep interior level, I know that if I can just find a way to bring some balance into my life, peace is sure to follow. But balance is hard to come by in our all-or-nothing world, and so we have to strive to be counter cultural, to look for ways to even out the highs and lows we typically traverse, to learn to be present wherever we are, even when where we are isn’t so hot, and to find beauty there. Read more

Do you hear what I hear?

I woke up the other night to a fierce thunderstorm and the sound of rain tapping on the aluminum-wrapped windowsill, and I smiled as I rolled over. As I drifted off to sleep, I remember thinking in the back of my overtired brain that it was not so long ago that the same tap-tapping—a byproduct of our new-and-improved windows—made me crazy, so crazy we had to hang a towel over the sill and close the window on it to muffle it. But, over time, the sound became familiar and comforting rather than strange and infuriating. Read more

Way of Sorrow: Seeing an old path with new eyes

It’s amazing how different something can look when we are willing to see with new eyes, when we cast aside our preconceived ideas and our human need for “progress.”

When I was on retreat at St. Mary’s on the Lake earlier this month, my retreat leader, Paulist Father Tom Ryan, took a few of us on a hike across the beautiful property along stunning Lake George, including a long-abandoned outdoor Stations of the Cross path cut into the woods behind the chapel. I hadn’t even noticed it on my first two trips down to the lake, but there it was — overgrown, falling down, forgotten, sad. At least that’s how it seemed to me at first. And all I could see was potential. Read more

Disconnect, settle in, and just listen

If you missed my latest interview on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio, you can catch up by clicking the link below. I’m first up so just hit play. I’m talking about my five-day retreat and the need to disconnect from our devices and just listen to the silence and the Spirit.

What are your favorite retreat spots? How do you feel about sitting in silence for a few hours, or a few days? Some day I’ll do a weeklong silent retreat. For now, it’s bit by bit. Peace.

Summer vacation for the soul

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31

Today’s Gospel reading reminded me of my fabulous five-day retreat and the Life Lines column I wrote about making sure you take time apart to recharge your spiritual life this summer. I’ll be back in the days ahead with some reflections — and photos — from my stay at St. Mary’s on the Lake in gorgeous Lake George, N.Y. So here’s my column, which is running in the current issue of Catholic New York. Let me know in the comment section what you’ll be doing this summer to recharge. (That photo to the left was taken from my favorite prayer/journaling spot on a cliff overlooking Lake George.) Read more

On retreat: Finding beauty in our brokenness

I was so blessed to give a retreat day at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, N.Y., this weekend. A beautiful location with wonderful people. And great food. With seashells scattered around the room and prayer intentions overflowing our sea-themed bowl, we dove into the topic of brokenness and discovered a wholeness there. At least that’s what we were aiming for. And we did “collage as prayer,” one of my favorite things to do these days. It seemed to be a hit among the retreat participants as well. There’s something about cutting and gluing in silence that is soothing and centering. And it always seems to lead to at least a smidgen of self-discovery. Read more