The Buried Moon Virtual Spiritual Retreat

Week Three, Day Five
     One of the most profound things about myths and fairy tales is that they focus on what is essential; in just a few words (The Buried Moon is only one and half pages long), they tell exactly the story they intend to tell. The celtic tradition holds three as a sacred number and Celtic monks of old practiced speaking in the rhetoric of three essential things; such as faith, simplicity, and generosity. Dessert monks and Buddhists also have long had adaptations of this spiritual practice. In Buddhism there are three essential truths: Annica-nothing is permanent; Dukka-suffering exists; and Annatta-no self. The number three helps us move past dualities of black and white, yes or no, and invites us to contemplate what is essential in a more circular, spiritual way. 
     Our society today struggles with discerning what is essential; instead it holds value in consuming as much as you can on a daily basis. Several years ago, I walked a portion of the Camino Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage trail in France and Spain, and one of the surprisingly difficult parts of that process for me was deciding what to pack. I had to carry everything with me in one small backpack but also have enough clothes and gear to last me weeks. I quickly learned the importance of knowing and affirming what is essential. Our creative writing practice this week will offer us just that: a chance to winnow away all that is ancillary and reflect on the three essential things that make us who we are at our core. 
Creative Writing: Three Essential Things
1. Light your Candle: Set this time and place apart as retreat space. Take a few moments to breathe and pull yourself into the Now, becoming wholly present. Holding your pen and journal in your hands, quietly set your intentions for this time of creative writing. 

2. Contemplate What is Essential: As distressing and tumultuous as this moment in history is, we find within quarantine an invitation to discern what is essential. When we are reminded of our own impermanence in this way, we often reflect on what is most important and live life with a new sense of appreciation and purpose. Christine Vaulter's Paintner writes in her book The Souls Slow Ripening, “Awareness of our own mortality can have a significant impact on what we come to believe is most essential...remember that our time here is not endless and there is a sense of urgency about letting go of the things that stand in the way of our saying yes to the truest parts of ourselves.” While this practice may seem a bit morbid, it can actually offer us a hopeful re-orientation for our very lives. Spend a few moments in the quiet candlelight now reflecting on the last several weeks and discerning what has been revealed as essential to you. 

3. Write Three Essential Things: Breathe deeply and journal on the prompt below
For what three things do you want to be remembered? 

4. Quiet Reflection: Lay your pen and your journal down. Take three deep,intentional breaths. Let yourself dwell for a few moments reflecting on how you might live into these three essential things moving forward. 
Final Sacred Sharing Circle 
Join us for our Final Sacred Sharing Circle this afternoon as we connect from our porches, bedrooms, couches, and desks, to discuss the entirety of The Buried Moon and share wisdom from our personal retreat practices. 
All are welcome to join - even if you haven't completed all of the retreat practices!
*We will meet today (Friday) at 1 p.m. EST*
Zoom Link is HERE
Gratitude and Closing Blessing
'Katahdin Super Moon' photograph by Paul Cyr

We would like to close this virtual spiritual retreat with some personal gratitude. Three weeks ago, we were stunned by how many brave souls were willing to jump into this weird and wonderful virtual spiritual space with us. Thank you for saying that sacred 'yes' to something that was new for all of us. We have enjoyed tremendously diving into this myth and creating daily content for all of you. We are grateful for how much of yourselves you have shared with us and with each other and to have journeyed together in creative online spaces.  With love and appreciation, we invite you to light your retreat candle one final time and read this closing blessing aloud. 

May you continue to recognize the sacred and secret signs which guide you to the place where the light lays buried within.
May you look closely for the shimmering slivers that exude from each soul you meet.
May you use all of your strength to unearth the compassionate, courageous Moon inside you. 
May you be bright and beautiful, stealing into all of the dark corners of your life and creating blissful clarity in your heart.
May it Be So. 

We have so enjoyed spending these last three weeks in virtual retreat space with you! Though our emails cease after today, you can revisit all of the content again and again by using the link in the central column below. 

Weekly Outline

Mondays: Listening Deeply with Lectio Divina
Tuesday: Spiritual Art Practice
Wednesday: Civic Reflection Journaling
Thursday: Sacred Aesthetic Experience
Friday: Creative Writing Prompt *optional Zoom gathering @ 1 pm EST
Sat/Sun: Time for rest, catching up, and integration

Previous Emails

If you would like to look back on previous emails of the retreat, they can all be found here.

Creating Space

An essential part of 'retreating' while at home is to create intentional space that feels sacred, designated, and distinct from your ordinary routine. This can be a small corner of your desk, a part of your shelf, a nightstand by your bed, etc. Objects you cherish can help create a special space.
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Bates Multifaith Chaplaincy · 163 Wood St · Lewiston, ME 04240-7687 · USA

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