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This isn�t meant to be argumentative, Terri. Rather, I�m sort of following the Socratic method:

Because it's too simple?

If it�s so simple, then please describe it.

Because we don't want to recognize it?

If so (and I don�t disagree), then why do we often prefer a somewhat joyless life?

Because it's right in front of us, but we're moving so fast we miss it?

How do we slow down? What does it mean in practical terms to slow down?
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Terri, you could not have described the sacred place of "joy" any better. Smiler

Forgive me if I jumped in before you gave your response to Brad's questions, but I find that it is our other thoughts and other perceived desires that undervalues "joy", and seeks another way instead of being aware of the gentle breath of God's love expressed right now, right here.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Forgive me if I jumped in before you gave your response to Brad's questions

LOL. You�re making a BIG assumption that I can tell Terri to do anything. Wink But I hope she does try to answer those questions. If not, that�s okay as well.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Brad:
This isn�t meant to be argumentative, Terri. Rather, I�m sort of following the Socratic method:

Because it's too simple?

If it�s so simple, then please describe it.

That assumes one can (or should) describe simple. Wink However, I can give a few examples of what I'd term simple.

Breathing...for every breath is a precious gift.

A smile (whether yours or anothers)...because it lights up a face and brings a twinkle to the eye.

Sunrise...the beauty should speak for itself.

A breeze...because it is a caress from the Creator.

This moment...since it will never be this moment again.


Because we don't want to recognize it?

If so (and I don�t disagree), then why do we often prefer a somewhat joyless life?

Is it joyless because we really don't have any joys? Or is it joyless because we've been told what should be joy? Or even, do we secretly harbor some desire to be constantly looking for joy?

Because it's right in front of us, but we're moving so fast we miss it?

How do we slow down? What does it mean in practical terms to slow down?

That would depend, I suppose, on what we're doing. If we lead a fairly sedate and quiet life, are we actually taking in each little bit of the day for what it is? Or are we, even in our sedateness and quietness, racing in our minds?

If we lead a very active and somewhat chaotic lifestyle, what part is necessary? Can we be physically on the go while the mind and soul rests? Yeah..we can, but it can require practice (silly isn't it that we have to practice having a quiet soul or mind, nevertheless, we often do).

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection would have probably called it a "habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God."

Blessings!
Terri
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Freebird:
[qb].... but I find that it is our other thoughts and other perceived desires that undervalues "joy", and seeks another way instead of being aware of the gentle breath of God's love expressed right now, right here. [/qb]
I would agree completely. Smiler

Blessings,
Terri
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Brad:
LOL. You�re making a BIG assumption that I can tell Terri to do anything. Wink

Just try it bub Razzer Razzer ...lol.


But I hope she does try to answer those questions. If not, that�s okay as well.

Lemme know what your thoughts are! (Like I could stop that from happening...yeah..rite Big Grin )
Blessings,
Terri
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lemme know what your thoughts are! (Like I could stop that from happening...yeah..rite [Big Grin] )

Smart aleck. Wink

Is it joyless because we really don't have any joys? Or is it joyless because we've been told what should be joy?

I really like this thought, Terri. And I think it�s a very important one. And it�s a thought that has direct bearing on the struggles of someone I know in real life. But I don�t know if this person is ready or willing to take such a "hard" look at himself. And why should this look be so hard? Well, because I think it could very well be that we get it firmly implanted into our head what our joys should be and to go against these notions is to activate a LOT of guilt. I�m sure this is the case with him. I�m sure he feels guilty when doing things he truly enjoys. I�m sure that his inner woundedness has him constantly trying to justify and right himself.

I think joy can vanish so easily for exactly the reason you state, Terri. I truly think you�ve hit upon a large nugget of truth.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, because I think it could very well be that we get it firmly implanted into our head what our joys should be and to go against these notions is to activate a LOT of guilt.

Yes, our society, our family, our co-workers, the media, just whoever and whatever seem to bombard us with what should be conceived as joy..or even as a happy life.

It's almost like we're programmed from the crib or something. The other thing is that I think sometimes we're told what joy should be because the ones doing the telling don't really know themselves and are unable to admit it.

I hope your friend finds relief soon. It is sometimes hard to go against the flow, even if the flow is within ourselves.

Blessings,
Terri
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The other thing is that I think sometimes we're told what joy should be because the ones doing the telling don't really know themselves and are unable to admit it.

Well, from one perspective, we can hardly blame someone for this. We�re taught from childhood that there are chores and duties that we must perform before we can go out and play. Life becomes a tangled web of chores, commitments, and duties that we take on, everything from our jobs, to our spouses, to our children. All this stuff is supposed to be our joy. And sometimes it is. But it often becomes the drudgery of life itself. That may reflect more on us than the others, but it may be true nonetheless. And if we find little or no joy in what we�re currently doing, then our first thought is probably to add some novelty to our lives rather than, for instance, to change our attitudes. The latter is hard. The former is quite easy. Take a drive. Take a trip. Get a new wife. Get a new life. Change jobs. Get a hobby. Join a club. Go bowling. Visit a strip club. (I had to throw that in for us guys.) Soon, I think our orientation to life becomes an addictive one. We just continue looking for things that will jiggle our brains in some way, that will stimulate us, that will knock us out of our dull boredom. And like any addiction, it takes more and more to get the same effect. And because most of us can�t afford those bigger effects (like a trip to Hawaii this month instead of California), we tend toward dullness and stagnation.

Probably the secret is just what you said, Terri, appreciating the so-called little things. Every breath. Each smile. A sunrise. A gentle breeze. The moment that will never happen again. But taking this from sweet-sounding poetry to actual real-world experience is a whole other thing, in my opinion. Sunsets are beautiful but may have a hard time competing with strip clubs. Wink And this reminds me of people who eat a lot of heavily salted and processed foods. You know they= kind. They�ll order a fine steak in a restaurant and then proceed to cover it with A-1 Sauce. They should have saved some money and just poured it over shoe leather. It would have had the same effect. Who can taste the meat through all that sauce? If we first wish to find beauty and meaning in a sunset, we first need to wean ourselves from excess. If we habitually heavily salt our foods, they�re going to taste rather bland if we season them lightly. And our souls, spirits, personalities, minds, and/or psychology can become superabundance-oriented. It can get so that rainbows and sunset are no longer noticed. The present moment, instead of being a miracle, is considered bland and dull. And I admit to needing as much salt in my world as the next person. I too need to learn to season lightly. I too need to learn to find joy in what is, not after having smothered it in A-1 Sauce. But this is obviously not easy to do.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But taking this from sweet-sounding poetry to actual real-world experience is a whole other thing, in my opinion.

It can be, or it can be an ephiphany of sorts. You know..one of those days when suddenly it really hits you that all these things that are supposed to be making you happy are really making you miserable...and wondering why you aren't happy! And just as suddenly, that moment or sunrise or whatever captures your heart, and you just know that THIS is what brings you joy. From that point on, things take on a new perspective. At least it did for me. I went the full circle from enjoying life, to being burdened with what the world was telling me joy really was, to being filled with joy at the things I loved to begin with.

So, I guess maybe it's another one of those things that's different for each person. That's not to say that we can't get caught up in the "things" again, because I'm sure that can happen (from experience). The good part is that the "flash" comes a bit quicker or easier at that point, or maybe one recognizes the syndrome faster.
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
It can be, or it can be an epiphany of sorts. You know..one of those days when suddenly it really hits you that all these things that are supposed to be making you happy are really making you miserable...and wondering why you aren't happy! And just as suddenly, that moment or sunrise or whatever captures your heart, and you just know that THIS is what brings you joy.
I like that answer, Terri.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dear Terri and Brad, this discussion is absolute joy Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi,

Yes, I have a retreat tentatively planned.

And, I'm finding joy in everyday life these days.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Ryan,

So where are you going on your retreat?. Just remember, one day at a time sweet Jesus, one day at a time. Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Freebird,

It is a retreat center in Pennsylvania that hosts 4 and 8-day contemplative retreats:

http://www.bethanyretreatcenter.org/homepage2.htm

It is still tentative depending on my getting off work. One of the staff will be on maternaty leave, still it will likely work, they say.

I know it will be lovely, but I'm not excited about it. Confused
Mainly, I guess (I'm not sure of my motives, but I'll say what I think at the moment) because of the expense and consumption. Ideally, for me, a real "retreat" would be a retreat from the world of spending and material comfort. Not that I begrudge their asking for money to cover their expenses. Theirs is a modest fee. It is just that the sun is free, the air is free and I get excited about being with those elements and passing on the rest for a time; living with a bare minimum of food and shelter.

PS. So much to be thankful for: A pair of Eastern Kingbirds, my first, in the back yard today. The first strawberries are ripe. I'm going to centering prayer group this evening, a monthly meeting that I've been participating in since '99. We meet in a home and share a meal.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Ryan,

It took some work and Heavenly guidance but I found the perfect place for you to go on a retreat. There is no charge for the accomodations and meals, only a donation, wow, that's super, don't you agree?. Do check it out.

Saint Vincent Archabbey
Oblates of St. Benedict
Latrobe, PA

http://www.osb.org/sva/obl/index.html

An Eastern Kingbird, what a treat, strawberries, prayer group and meal to share with friends, what a treasure and gift for you.

Freebird Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I know it will be lovely, but I'm not excited about it. Mainly, I guess (I'm not sure of my motives, but I'll say what I think at the moment) because of the expense and consumption. Ideally, for me, a real "retreat" would be a retreat from the world of spending and material comfort.

I think I understand what you're saying, Ryan, but if it's a well-run retreat it could be worth every penny. Consider it a crapshoot. It might not do any good, but it can't do any harm. You could be pleasantly surprised � or you could find out that your instincts were correct and you need to a retreat even from the typical retreat.

I found this truly enchanting spot in the deep woods about a couple months ago. In the middle of nowhere is this one-acre pond, and on the edge of this pond is a little hand-made wooden shack that sits a few yards out over the water on stilts. This shack looks like it was made by, and for, a Hobbit. It has a very quaint Robinson Crusoe style of architecture with a sloped sod roof and closely-spaced small, uniform-sized logs that make up the walls. It's about 8ft wide, 6ft deep, and about 8 ft. tall. The grass on the roof of this shack added about another foot of height. It doesn't look like the roof had been "mowed" in a couple years. It was a garden unto itself with grass, moss, weeds, and a few ferns sticking up.

Reaching from the shore and out to this shack is a 45 foot, very hand-made-looking wooden plank causeway that is raised about six inches off the surface of the pond. Along this causeway are pairs of wooden posts every eight feet or so to the sides. Their large, flat tops suggested to me that they were meant to hold candles or torches at night. The shack is attached to a dock that is about 8 ft. by 20 ft. The dock acts like the shack's front porch. There's a hand-made wooden latter at one end of the dock and an aluminum canoe stranded at the other. Nothing looks like it has been touched for at least a couple years, but everything otherwise is in very good condition. The whole thing looks like a scene from one of the "Myst" video games.

At one end of the pond is about a one-acre clearing that has a couple rows of what looks like was a thriving vineyard about ten years ago or so. The entire place looks abandoned. The only way to reach it is by rough roads through the woods. And so I sat out on that dock in the sunshine this afternoon and had a marvelous retreat for a couple hours. That little spot is too good to be true, but I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

Theirs is a modest fee. It is just that the sun is free, the air is free and I get excited about being with those elements and passing on the rest for a time; living with a bare minimum of food and shelter.

My brother (who is also a Merton fan) told me the other day that Merton was so in need of solitude and silence that he even apparently found the Trappist monastery to be too noisy and I guess he would sometimes sleep outside (or somewhere else) away from the rest of the monks. I can certainly understand the need to really get away from everything. Trust your instincts on this. Maybe the retreat is the first step. If that doesn't do it for you then you needn't get discouraged, you'll simply know that what you need is something else. Frankly, I'm not all that sure how much I would get out of an organized retreat. For me, if it's too well organized that sort of defeats the purpose. Ideally all I'd want to do is wander somewhere with a friend who has a similar need and a similar idea of where to go and what to do. But, wow, it looks like that retreat that Freebird found could be just the ticket. I wished I lived in PA! Wink
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Brad,

Your discovery of this truly enchanting spot deep in the woods is a gift out of the Neverending story. What a wonderful place to spend a few hours of retreat. I can just see you taking the aluminum boat out. Does it have oars?, if not, bring your own. How unfair of you to have kept this magical spot secret from us. How blessed you are Brad being so immersed in this joy of your being there. Smiler

Loved the movie. Smiler Made me feel like a child again looking through magical eyes.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Freebird:

"There is no charge for the accomodations and meals, only a donation,"

That's no better. It has accomodations and meals -- consumption -- and of course, if I consumed, I would want to donate.

I expect the sun to be free, but not accomodations and meals. Unless... I worked for my keep. In the past, I've done construction work at retreat centers in exchange for voucher's or retreat time. I've have an unused voucher for weeks at a Michigan retreat center -- I did over a thousand dollars worth of work -- but that is a long way away now.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think it is time I made a donation to Shalom Place Discussion Forum.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There is a vacant, neglected house next door that I have a key to. I have not spent much time there lately. That might be the perfect place.

That place you found sounds wonderful, Brad, Nice find.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Ryan:
[qb] There is a vacant, neglected house next door that I have a key to. I have not spent much time there lately. That might be the perfect place. [/qb]
That sounds great, Ryan. One thing this thread has reminded me is that I am truly blessed in being in a rural town. One of our pastures is right out our back door, and when I check cattle, I check at 5 other pastures out in the country. In essence, I get mini-retreats each time I go. I really wish everyone could have access like that.

God be with you,
Terri
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There is a vacant, neglected house next door that I have a key to. I have not spent much time there lately. That might be the perfect place.

That place you found sounds wonderful, Brad, Nice find.


Yes, I think I understand the need you might have, Ryan. Sometimes I may be quite deep in the woods and relatively off the beaten track and therefore very unlikely to run into anyone else. But it often isn�t until I go still deeper, to a place where it is highly unlikely that I should run into anyone, that my body and mind give a sigh of relief. I think what I am looking for is to get completely away from humans, if only for a little while. In your case you probably should honor and respect your desire not to spend even a dime on your retreat. You, too, are obviously looking to get away from something, and completely, if only for a little while.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi,

Yesterday, I sat in the vacant house for about 45 minutes recollecting. Later in the evening, I saw the video of Neverending Story for the first time. My favorite part was the cool hide-away in the school-house.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah. That hide-away in the schoolhouse was very cool. And that vacant house sounds nice. I was at the secret waterhole the day before yesterday. It was a beautiful day and, boy, did I get my exercise walking brisking there and back, squeezing that venture in after work.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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