Source: writings – Jonathan L Steele
St Placid Priory, Lacey, WA
Here at St Placid Priory, my ongoing discoveries in the contemplative enterprise have been eye-opening, soul-expanding, and at the risk of hyperbole, even a little mind-blowing. And, although I will never grow appreciably better at navigating these things, they are the stuff of life’s best acquirements.
But, for all that, I admit I’d likely not make a good career contemplative. Those brave and hardy souls who risk it all to face God so closely, so regularly, are a breed unto themselves. The monastic experience is so rich and good – for a time.
However, I also need my present reality – a corner chair at a local Starbucks. This lively interchange of strongly felt opinions (poorly considered in many cases), postured pretensions, all with a sprinkling of social anxiety, is just as real. Equally fraught with the beautiful danger of God-among-us. In true Celtic fashion…
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St Placid Priory – Lacey, WA
Six miles of damp, spongy pavement pounded out this morning. Running – the healing constancy of deep, rhythmic breathing. So good in this environment. It’s little wonder that Portland, Oregon is America’s running capital. Every back road, trail, and alley is afoot with runners. It houses Nike corporation and its disciples, of which I am, apparently, one of the faithful. I’m a committed convert to the marriage of time, distance, and pain.
Baffling to non-runners, it is, in its own way, contemplative space. And, these days in particular, as I struggle once more on the longest road, the one leading toward daily sobriety, it becomes apt metaphor in the slow process of change.
Hanging like a shadow over it all are those who would pooh-pooh this whole sober-running enterprise, suggesting in my case that it is classic avoidance – the via negativa of…
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I’ve just returned from a short time away. A fuller version of my silent retreat at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington is forthcoming. Until then, may this Friday be the kind of day where the scale tells you a fairytale and not the truth, you are complimented at least once, and nothing rides up.
In short, where everything brings you joy!
Dear Rob, I love your line, “The imagination is an essential tool of the mind, a fundamental way of thinking, an indispensable means of becoming and remaining human.”
It only serves to confirm the notion I have held to for some time now… we are not necessarily human beings seeking to become more spiritual, rather that we are spiritual beings seeking to become more human.
Our imagination is one tool we can lean on to accomplish such a gargantuan sojourn. I luv ‘yas, Bro’!
Speaks directly to the heart – heart language, extraordinaire
You turn and look at me
maybe for the first time
or the tenth, or the thousandth time
only to see what you knew you’d find –
a man looking back, whisker’d, aging,
eyes a little dimmer but still aimed at you.
I smell your morning breath
and think to myself how perfect,
how expected, how perfectly normal
and good and welcome.
The first kiss is always best
in its unnoticed awkwardness –
maybe because of it.
The shear warmth of your body
reminds me of our shared need
for presence and company and comfort
unattainable in the strivings of our days
but remembered in uncounted moments
spread over time and times and time again.
Our sagging bodies remind us of life
lived under common skies, the unexpected usual –
and it settles into me
in a kind of daylight reverie to what is.
We make love or something like…
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