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I recently returned from a five day retreat at the Omega Institute in upstate New York. The retreat was based on the book, “The Soul’s Slow Ripening” by Christine Valters Paintner, the abbess of the online community Abbey of the Arts. It was five days of sacred space, for myself and the 13 other women who attended. Five days spent sharing, photographing, writing, walking, eating delicious food we did not cook and for me, sleeping in an unheated tent cabin. I’ll be unpacking my time there for a while, I know. For now, here is one of the poems I wrote during my time there. It’s titled, “Peregrinatio”. According to Christine, “peregrinatio” is a unique term for Celtic wandering, “the call to wander for the love of Christ. It is a phrase without precise definition in English and one that means something different than pilgrimage. This wandering is an invitation to let go of our own agenda and discover where God is leading.” (from the Soul’s Slow Ripening, chapter three). This poem, and this idea of wandering are especially relevant right now, as I discern what’s next for me. I often feel the path is unclear and struggle with the anxiety of not knowing.
And yet….I am reassured by the evidence of God’s continued presence along the way.

I offer this journey of days to you,
wandering along edges, familiar and unknown.
A woodpecker strikes echos through the forest
perched on gnarled and holy fingers.
Whispers of “Shalom. Peace my daughter.”
The wild and steady unfurling of a spiral path whose
end I cannot see.
A trinity of God, the woods and me.
-October, 2019-

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