Forest surprises




In preparation for the day retreats we have been offering, Beth and I make a practice of walking the trails together. We talk through the various aspects of the retreats, what we have learned, what we want to do differently, etc. Invariably, after we have been in the forest for a while there comes a pause – first in our conversation, and often in place on the trail. It’s like the forest with her great canopy, the earth beneath our feet, and the rippling of the stream have finally got our attention and we are invited to just be present. Present to the natural world and how it speaks to us of a sustaining Creator, present to what really matters in our thoughts and conversation, present to each other and the intention we hold in creating retreats for others. Just present. I find it is these moments that sustain me when I feel overwhelmed in life. I am reminded by the beauty of the forest that I am a part of a much larger web of life. It is in these moments that I find perspective.

When we hike on the retreats, we invite participants to walk in silence for the first half. It is so rare in contemporary life that we are together with others in silence. For some it is uncomfortable at first, if feels strange and unnatural, we are so used to filling our world with words. The surprise is that in the silence we may hear a truth deep in ourselves that we could not talk our way toward. In these moments of contemplation we are often reunited with what matters most to us in the world which in turns affects the way we choose to live and be.

Choosing contemplation is an act of compassion. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, taking time away from life’s demands in an intentional way allows us to act with greater clarity and compassion in the heart of life’s most challenging times.

Consider joining us on July 14! Go to the registration page for details and to register.

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