Saturday, September 14, 2013

Practicing the Art of Being Fully Present

Note: This post also appears on my blog, Hortus Conclusus.

In July my husband and I stayed overnight in a luxurious bed and breakfast in Raleigh, NC. It is too bad we were there for only one night. It really is a place to go to spend a few relaxing days. After breakfast we walked around the gardens before heading on our way. I was reminded of our honeymoon. We drove up to Nova Scotia and stayed in bed and breakfasts and country inns. I found that to be a delightful experience. Since that time, which was 27 years ago, Bob and I often discussed owning a b&b in the country some day. Back home from the trip and tending to our gardens, I began thinking about how I could make that dream a reality today. No, it isn't practical to turn our tiny house into a b&b, but what could I do to invite people to enjoy the peace and beauty that I experience while spending time in my gardens?

I was also reading a book called An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor at this time. I found it extremely inspirational and life changing. Chapter Two, entitled The Practice of Paying Attention is what helped me to formulate the retreat.  (The seeds of which had already been planted last year while reading The Artist's Rule by Christine Valters Paintner, which is along a similar vein.)  I realized that I didn't need a fancy house and immaculate gardens in order to help others see and hear what I do when I am outside. If I love it, won't others as well? I took the chance and offered this one day retreat.
Yesterday, six wonderful women enjoyed their time here. They got to relax, reflect and spend some needed alone time. We did end the day with sharing. It was moving to hear what these women were able to experience from the assignments they were given and the time they spent alone in nature.

 I plan to hold this retreat on a monthly basis from May through September. The women encouraged me to add other themed retreats as they would like to participate again. Follow this link to view some of their comments here.

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