As you may know, I have just returned from an extended stay and silent retreat in Southern California —my "second home" near the ocean's heartbeat ... the ocean as Divine Mother who opens us and restores us.
I am still processing much of what I experienced there and will continue to do so slowly, holding near to me that which is most Sacred. Some things are meant to be held more permanently (not shared) and kept close to the heart for safe-keeping. But because many of you, my lovely friends, have asked, "What happened there?" here are some early thoughts on my retreat.
We never know what will happen to us when we embark on such a journey. My highest hope for an in-venture like this is that I remain agenda-less, truly allowing the Sacred to take me where She wishes me to go. She, better than I, knows the inner recesses to which I should travel ... to release anything that continues to hold me back from from living as my truest self in God ... to embrace more of what will carry and keep me there. And thus it was for me.
I entered without a plan, only to receive that which was gifted to me from Graciousness. Admitedly, I was taken by surprise when I found myself struggling greatly the first 24-hours of my silent retreat. Perhaps I had anticipated showers of blessings. What emerged was an overactive ego and a sense of irritation. Nothing was "quite right." There I was in a womb of stunning beauty and I simply could not relax. I wanted to let go into Love and couldn't.
But I kept walking. Sitting. Praying. "Trying" to meditate.
The stillness rubbed against me like a burlap coat. I could not sit. It was inwardly painful. I had to walk out my angst. So walk I did. I walked and walked.
Every path led to the sea—to the Great Cosmic Mother whose roar can startle us open—open to the Vastness within. Whose gentle murmurings of waves wash upon the shore of our hearts to soothe and welcome us. Whose reflected sunsets affirm the Great Soul. And ourselves as soul beings.
In the Ocean of Bliss we remember that we are not separate. Ocean and waves are one. Earth and sky are one. "He She It", "You Me They", are only surface (and human) distinctions. In truth, we are united in the vastness of here, now, and there. The Vastness of This, Always, and Forever.
Holy embrace. Resistance gone. Remembering attuned. Spaciousness found. Humbly crawling on my knees into Vastness.
I am at Home in the Eternal Now.
May it be so for all beings everywhere.
©2013, Janice Lynne Lundy.
Photos by the author. Self-Realization Retreat Center and Meditation Gardens, Encinitas, CA.
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Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.