Hesychia: Tour of the Pathless Path

Just for fun, our group had an impromptu tour of the Pathless Path, a Buddhist retreat center on-site at Redemptorist. Here’s a little video so you can see the building, meditation path, retreat rooms, and meditation room.  We pass the big gong in the hallway.  A fun little almost-adventure exploring the building right next to the Hesychia classroom.  On Buddhism day, it was a fitting excursion.  You also get a glimpse of some of my group-mates as well as Father Greg who is leading the tour and our school.

Warning: it’s a little bumpy.

 

Hesychia: Day 5, Week 1

I’ve said all along that what I need most to pursue becoming a director are confidence and practice.  Well, today I got my first taste of one if not the other.

Here are some of my take-aways from the practicum session this afternoon:

  • Name and embrace the silence.
  • Sometimes the silence is more helpful/necessary for the director than for the directee
  • Stay relaxed.
  • Find your own style within the method.
  • Honor what you bring to the table as a director.
  • “I have a magic wand. Poof! You have exactly what you want. Now, what does that look like?”
  • Creating safe, comfortable, contemplative space is an important element of preparation for a session.
  • Set a chime or bell as a gentle reminder when there are five minutes remaining.
  • “I can’t answer for you, but I can help you think toward an answer.”
  • “Let’s settle into some quiet.”
  • “How is that for you?”
  • “What’s coming up for you?”
  • Be a gentle, encouraging, and supportive presence.
  • Offer images sparingly.
  • Invite; don’t direct.

Being the directee is one thing, but being the director is a whole other beast.  Here’s hoping by the time it’s my turn next week, I’ll have gained more confidence and be ready to explore what I bring to the table.

At least I’m not alone in the process.  All fourteen of us are wading through this jungle together.  Here’s to coming out as confident as natives on the other side!

God willing.

Hesychia: Day 1, Week 1

I’m stupid in the morning.

Everyone who has ever known me or especially lived with me can testify that my brain does not function in the morning.  This morning was no exception.  Waking at 5am for the third day in a row is tough enough, but waking to a seven-hour road trip (my first ever all by myself) is even tougher.  You’d think after all the weeks of preparation and careful planning, I would have been able to start off my journey to Arizona on the right foot.

Or at least in the right direction.

Don’t worry, dear readers.  I was only driving west for a mile before my handy navigator app finished loading and alerted me to my gross error.  Thank the good Lord Jesus for technology, or I’d have driven at least 40 miles before I even started thinking about when I was going to need to change interstates.   God has my back, even when I have morning-brain.

So I drove east.  And east.  And more east.  And kinda south, too.  But mostly east directly into the rising sun.  Good morning, world! I listened to every CD I brought at least twice and listened to the digital recording of the prophetic word I received last night from The Well more times than I can count.

It wasn’t until last night when I heard myself say “I’ll feel better once I get there” in answer to a question about whether I was excited about this trip that I realized (again) I am also stupid many other times of day.  After all my practice at learning to experience the journey, I find I’m right back where I started as a destination-oriented person.

I’ve been wrapped up in all the logistical details of planning a work trip to Pasadena plus a school trip to Arizona while getting as many big projects completed or at least started as possible and reminding all the people I work for that I’ll have weird work hours for these two weeks and trying to coordinate staying with friends-of-a-friend who I’ve never met who live in a town I’ve never been to that I have to get to by driving a route I’ve never used and reminding the retreat center staff of my super-fun dietary restrictions and reading all the required reading for the classes and gearing myself up for the kind of energy it takes for introverted-me to be  around a bunch of people I don’t know all day every day for two weeks while also being away from my husband for the longest we’ve ever been apart since before we started dating and even missing his ever-important-day-to-celebrate-his-one-and-only-birth and getting the car in shape for such a long trip and packing and repacking and making a last-minute Target run for incidentals and packing some more and driving to Pasadena at the crack of dawn directly into the rising sun and working loooooong hours for two days and catching up with good friends and hearing babies and puppies cry in the night and sleeping on couches and receiving prophetic ministry and trying not to succumb to the ever-nagging doubt that I’m just not cut out for this program and I’m wasting my time and our money and and and and and —

And I haven’t been able to relax enough to think about what I’m doing and what it all means until now, sitting in a stranger’s home on a strange bed in a strange room surrounded by strange boxes and gathering my energy for a final push on a work project before I collapse and try to get more than five hours of sleep tonight.

I’m already here. I’ve been here in Tucson since 2pm today. I’ve already met my teachers and classmates. I’ve already wandered around the retreat center. I’ve already met the chef and eaten my specially prepared dairy-free dinner.  I’ve already unpacked (mostly) and settled into this rent-free spare room.  And I still feel like I haven’t “arrived” yet.  I still feel like I’m trying to “get there” and that I can’t relax until I do.  This experience has already started, but I’m still stuck in go-mode.

I need to get unstuck.  I need to downshift.  I need to be in be-mode.  I need to be here. I need to be here.

The first step is recognizing there’s a problem, right?

Hi. My name is Laura.  I’m a do-er.  I’m destination-oriented.  I’m anxiety-ridden.  I’m caught up in the daily details and missing the chance to sit at the feet of Jesus.

I’m trying.

Dear Jesus: help!