Notes on Courage
Inner work for outer action.
This past week, I returned from a 3-day silent retreat at a local hermitage run by the Franciscan order of the Catholic church. After over two years of non-stop going, I knew it was time for me to disconnect so that I could reconnect. Before I was left with myself in the hermitage, I was asked if I had any specific prayer requests (they pray for all hermits during their stay) and simply asked to get what I needed.
A lot of what I needed was space to re-center. I got that. I was also looking forward to diving deep into the writing of my book. I got that too. I painted, I walked, I sat, I slept. It was glorious. During my stay, I had multiple encounters with deer. At one point, I was standing in front of what the Franciscans refer to as the "window to God's creation" and off in the distance saw a patch of brown that didn't look like tree bark. Wondering if it was a deer, I sat and watched patiently trying to attune to what I was seeing. I saw a movement that confirmed it was alive and made a request that it come closer. Within a minute of the ask, the creature moved closer into sight and I noticed a rustle of leaves behind it- a baby! I'm not sure how long I sat with them, the momma keeping fierce watch and the baby playfully scampering away and back again each time bringing them a little closer to my dwelling. No words can describe the absolute awe and delight I felt to witness a few moments of their life.
Before I left to journey back into the ordinary world, I paused to write about this extraordinary experience, asking for any remaining wisdom to emerge. The words above came through, and are the purest form of what I experienced during my stay.
The magic began when a scarlet tanager flew overhead to greet me and continued throughout my stay as I encountered deer, swans, frogs, snails, and, even mosquitoes. The magic didn't end when I handed in my key. I asked for a feather at the beginning of my stay (a big one that I could use in my healing rituals). I had forgotten about the ask amidst all of the other gifts, but there it was dropped into that stump (pictured above), just off the trail that led me to my car. I had asked for a final gift, but this was off the charts amazing! As I drove away from the woods toward the highway, still giggling from what I had been given, the eyes of a deer caught my attention. I stopped the car and said thank you for this new final gift. And as she turned back toward the woods, a rustle of the leaves behind her filled me with an abundance of love and gratitude- the baby! Just proving that the gifts are never ending if you take the time to see them.
About the blog:
This space holds thoughts and ideas generated from my personal journey of healing and recovery from trauma, co-dependency, and white supremacy culture. Opinions are entirely my own.