Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quieting the Mind for Silent Meditation

On my way to lead the 7:30am contemplative prayer service at the last weekend retreat, I snapped this photo of the chapel. I loved the light, and the way it hit the door. There was something about the moment, the quiet, the long shadows, that reminded me of an early morning walk I once took in Jerusalem.

Our theme for the weekend was "Finding God and Oneself in the the Digital Age," and admittedly I felt funny carrying my iPhone with me. I wanted to time the contemplative prayer / meditation I was leading. The first time anyone does a silent meditation, it's good to start with just a few minutes. Quieting one's mind is a daunting task in itself, and even moments can seem like an eternity.

My little group walked up the stairs, up to the private chapel usually used by the friars. It seemed like an honor to be in the space, up above the kitchen. We sat quietly, and I led them through the practice of silent meditation. I thought about the many men who had sat here in communion, every morning, to spend time with God.

Clear your mind, pushing aside every thought.
If a new thought enters, acknowledge it, and visualize pushing it from the left to the right, sweeping it away. Welcome it, thank it for it's presence, and sweep it away.

Our group made it through the whole five minutes easily. I wished I had more time to keep meditating, but below us where the sounds of breakfast, and the smell of coffee. It was time to go, continue with our retreat, and get swept back up in the schedule of the day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happiness is Trying to Find You

Trying to Find You

"Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” - Hafiz

I took this picture back in 2007 in Edinburgh, Scotland. I'd met my parents there for a trip to celebrate my Dad's retirement, and it truly was one of those amazing trips. We laughed so hard, we drank some great Scotch, and we really enjoyed each others' company. I'm grateful for those trips, those special times with my family. I saw this quote by Hafiz and it reminded me of that trip, of us taking the time to be happy.

Sometimes it seems like we are so wrapped up in our day to day lives that we forget to be grateful. We forget that we are free to be happy. It is so easy to be drawn to the negative and the doubts. I love the visual idea that happiness has become personified, in spirit, and that it is running around just looking for us. As we trudge along blindly, it's hiding, ready to surprise us, ready to embrace us. All we have to do is look up and see it!

Here's the link to the image and quote in full size.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Annual Fundraiser Dinner at San Damiano

Last night was our annual fundraiser dinner. It starts with a silent auction, and then moves into dinner, and a live auction.

Here's a picture of our table, full of members (past and present) of the Young Adult Ministry team:

Back row: Father Rusty, Tammy, Ron, Rebecca, and Marc
Front row: Kevin, Paula, Sean, and Nancy

I'm also putting the finishing touches on my article for Yale's Reflections publication. I'm super excited; it's turned into about a 1500 word piece, up from an original 500 words. It's been a great experience!

We're also working on our next retreat, and you can read about it on the San Damiano site.