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Archive for Personal Spiritual Deepening

Waiting for It to Clear

Today’s post is by Kathleen Moloney-Tarr

A couple of weeks ago I spent a week alone writing in the North Carolina mountains high on a ridge overlooking a wide valley and long mountain range beyond. The first day I settled in with my journal of the last few months and the intent to gather pieces of poems to my computer screen where I could work them over, print them, and revise until they became whole. I was looking forward to being in a creative flow and accomplishing a lot happily in one of my favorite places.

The first evening a thick fog settled in. Tuesday morning I was sorry to see it remained and thought, “It’ll burn off by lunchtime.” At noon, I hoped the view would clear by late afternoon. When I went to bed, the lights in the valley were obscured by a dense white cloud. Wednesday morning I was disappointed to miss a second sunrise behind the fog. Even though all the doors and windows were closed, the tiny squares of every screen filled with water drops. I could not see the mountain range or the valley or even a poplar tree. Surrounded by a blanket of white moisture, I felt a little uneasy and claustrophobic. I don’t like being closed in. I sleep with my bedroom door open and choose not to have curtains or blinds in my kitchen, living room and dining room. I like light, and I like to be able to see what is outside.

When I write I love looking up from the page to see what Nature is up to—the dogwood changing through the seasons, a hawk soaring, the blond squirrel scurrying up the lavender oak trunk or the native grasses swaying in the breeze. The very presence of the natural world keeps me company and settles me into writing. Often I rely on the external world to jumpstart me on to the page.

But in the fog, the only external presence was the cloud wall pressing against the screen and glass. For more than four days in this white world, I tried to keep myself moving to the computer or my journal. A dozen poems and a couple of essays slowly made their way onto the page. I was forced to stay internal, to notice what was happening to me as I experienced living in a cocoon. I was uncomfortable. I wanted out. I walked from room to room, made tea and took time-outs to read a novel.

By Friday I woke up and took charge.

Composting our Lives

by Rose Mary Dougherty* *Excerpted from her article, “Composting our Lives” from Shalem’s News, Volume 33, No. 1-Winter, 2009. The full issue may be viewed here. Several years ago, I was participating in a retreat (where)… we were to spend one day outdoors in the surrounding wooded area. Our instructions were to go outdoors, follow […]

What is Contemplative Spirituality?

Pulse aquí para leer la monografía de nuestro personal “¿Qué es la espiritualidad contemplativa?” en español. 여기를 누르시면 샬렘 선임연구원들의 논문 “관상적 영성이란 무엇인가?”를 한글로 읽으실 수 있습니다. Printable PDF “What is Contemplative Spirituality?” A generation ago, most people were uncomfortable talking about their personal spirituality. Now, however, people speak of it so freely that […]