I’m on the way home: not a great distance as the crow flies–south to north–but 12 hours the way airlines have us travel: from Santa Fe to Albuquerque NM (overnight) to Salt Lake City UT to Seattle WA to Victoria BC
Today, at last, a whole day on my own: sleeping-in, a leisurely breakfast (anonymous banter with server), watching dumb teevee (just because I can), visiting two art galleries and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (deeply stirring works: see sample image), and tiny moments of intimacy with shopkeepers, including a Tibetan woman demonstrating a new singing bowl, a Navajo silversmith explaining the “wild horse” stone in the broach I’m bringing back, and a gallery owner guiding me along walls of stunning (and very expensive) paintings that captured the grandeur of the New Mexico landscape.
Fact is, I prefer to be alone. The last nine days of dawn-to-dusk training offered few moments of alone-time. However loving and extra-ordinary my teachers and fellow-seminarians (and they truly are!), I grew weary of the public exposure in workshops and small-group tasks. I’m not as resiliant as I used to be. But I’m excited to learn and grow. In the long run, it’s not about me, but about service to others.
The late Thomas Merton, a monk for 27 years and one of my spiritual guides for the last ten, often wrote about solitude–
“It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say” .