The on-line class Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist is an incredible experience. I encourage exploring Christine’s blog and her on-line classes. This reflection is one of the projects for this class.
Yesterday I walked on a different beach; my parents are here for February so I’m staying with them for a few days before I return to Michigan (I’m working hard at being present to THIS moment rather than anticipating returning to cold and snowy Michigan and missing my daily beach walks…) The skies were heavy with clouds and I was found myself eager to be out in this.
I also found myself looking for cloisters ~ of which there were several. Ripples in the sand.
Birds (egrets?) perched atop posts. Or, as Christine suggests, monks lining up for lauds!
Another fishing pier.
I recalled a photo of the Monastery Cloister in one of our daily emails from Christine that so captured my heart. So I asked whoever was present ~ the sea, the clouds, the gulls, the Holy One: why might the designers of monasteries choose the architectural beauty of repetition? Does it somehow support their (our) vows? Then our class work with rhythms and seasons came to mind. Repetition. Rhythm. Does architectural repetition support an inner rhythm, repetition that is found throughout nature? Is Creation the first monastery? Hmmmm….
I found myself resonating deeply with these patterns and thoughts. A few weeks ago I read of someone speaking of feeling her center while at Chartres Labyrinth and I found myself feeling the same thing. Each thyme I walk the beach it becomes clearer, stronger.
My next station was a large gathering of seagulls. I noticed, as I had at the other beach, that many of them have only one leg.
When they flew up I watched for another leg and there wasn’t one. I saw one that was missing its webbed foot. To what extent are we, humankind, responsible for this loss? Further down the shore there were many large pen shells washed up on the shore.
More than I’ve noticed before. A neighboring beach walker commented that the unseasonably cold temperatures have affected creatures like the clams. Another loss.
By this thyme a different hymn sang its way through my mind: “O sacred head now wounded.” Oh, the Logos, the Cosmic Christ present at God’s first revelation, sacred creation, is wounded. By our lifestyles and choices, our intentions and neglect. We have much to learn.
I gathered up some of those pen shells, placed them in a holy circle, drew a spiral to the center, and opened it all to Love.
I found a shell that has a spiral although most of the outside has broken off. But the center is intact. It called to me, representing collective stories of finding our center, the Truth, and the brokenness of our lives that has taken us there.
I placed this shell in the center next to the shell that forms a heart and offered a prayer of gratitude and sorrow, of healing and hope.
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