“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” – Ram Dass
I’m sorry that my blog has been a little quiet for the past few days. I’ve not been neglectful, I’ve just spent the last few days on a silence retreat on the grounds of a convent in Indiana. With all of life’s recent changes and transitions, I really just wanted to let the dust in my brain settle for a bit and sort some things out.
It was surprisingly difficult to cut off most communication and social media for a few days. Fortunately a miscommunication with the convent during my booking cut my visit a day shorter than I’d anticipated.
Don’t get me wrong — it was time well spent. I enjoyed the quiet and the chance to think and relax.
I also enjoyed my horse and alpaca neighbors.
This cat hung out with the alpacas every evening. He seemed to be BFFs with one alpaca in particular.
The grounds were beautiful…when I was able to see it.
It seemed that I brought storms with me when I came to town. It rained practically the entire time I was there. Not. Even. Kidding. Any plans to hike the trails were totally dashed. And frankly, being stuck indoors with only my thoughts for company was more than a little challenging.
Okay, it drove me nuts.
Fortunately, I’d taken a mandala workshop my first day there. I had no idea how valuable this mindfulness tool would become during this visit. When I was confined to the four walls of my little cabin by the rain, I created a number of mandalas.
This was at the center of the room at the workshop. I just thought it was gorgeous.
These were two examples of my instructor’s mandalas. Suffice it to say, it’s going to take a lot of practice before mine look like hers.
This was my first mandala that I produced after the workshop. My goal was to reflect the rainy view from my back window.
But every now and then, the rain would stop, I could put my pencils down, and I could take a few pictures — including one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve seen in a long time.
Even when it drizzled, I went to mass and explored the grounds when I could.
There were shrines, grottos, statues, and beautiful things all over the place. It was like an Easter egg hunt.
This was the cathedral ceiling.
And this was just the chapel. (!)
There were also two tiny chapels on the grounds, including what was called the “shell” chapel and a log cabin chapel. I’m not sure if they are used for anything.
The Sisters are also buried on the grounds — this is just a small portion of the cemetery.
This was my favorite photo I took during my visit.
This was a close second.
My cabin was very simple, but it had everything I needed.
Obviously the grounds were very beautiful and well kept — but it was in total contrast to its surrounding community. I was actually taken aback by the widespread disrepair in the area. Maybe the dilapidation was confined to this particular end of town, but I’m not sure. I never ventured far from the grounds.
Even places of worship were crude. I’m not complaining or judging — still just processing it.
It was a good trip, and I’m happy to be home with a few more days left to reflect and relax.