A lot has changed in me since I returned from the monastery. Yet in some ways I’ve fallen back into old patterns only to realize this and struggle to figure out how to break free. The true test of my ability to find time for solitude will come in the next two months.
For as much as I was determined to keep from adding logs to the fire and leave more space for solitude and spiritual reflection/worship, it seems I had a lot of commitments for the month of September and October lined up before I went to Mepkin Abbey and other duties seem to have piled on since then. Most of my obligations are ones I gladly take on, I should note, and are for humanitarian causes that I am especially dedicated to working toward.
Yet today, looking forward at my calendar and at my to-do list, I find myself with a growing urge to gasp for air. My body feels wound up inside, my neck hurts again and my thoughts are in a jumble.
From the weekend of September 12 until October 18 I have one free weekend. And by free I mean I haven’t yet decided among three possible options: 1. visit my Grandma, uncle and friend in Northern California. 2. spend it locked up in my house with my dog and out in nature with my phone turned off. 3. wait until that weekend to decide what I need to do, because there’s bound to be some urgent thing.
If I am not careful, I will become so frenzied by my busy schedule that I will again accidentally block out my worship/spiritual growth time and solitude time, which can be one and the same. If any of you pray and feel the urge to do so tonight, I would welcome a sentence thrown in for my minor concern and a request that God will strengthen me.
Tonight I think I’m going to go home, take the dog for a long walk and pull out my bible and some other books and read in silence (no music, no computer, no movies). Maybe I’ll take a long bath.
I can feel my body thirsting for solitude and quiet it as if I’ve run a marathon and I see the bottle of water held out by a volunteer just a few feet ahead. Only in my case the bottle of water is time at home, and the few feet ahead is a metro and bus ride. I just pray that my apartment is not full of noise from people that live nearby tonight.