The second full day of the retreat was very similar to the first. I sat all morning and watched the trees and the light, the birds and the bugs, the colors and the shadows. I let my thoughts drift on through. I let the muddy water of my thoughts clear and settle. I felt clearer and calmer than I had in a long, long time. And yet I did not have a string of brilliant ideas, a sense of “yes, that’s it! That’s exactly what I’ll do.”
I left the retreat center about 9:30 and got home a couple of hours later. I dealt with the two immediate emails that I’d promised to address with a tight deadline, deleted many of the rest. Slowly unpacked and put things away. Spent a lot of time petting Frannie and Nellie.
Then I went to see my spiritual director. I did not know what I would say to her when I got there but I could begin to feel, now that I was out of the direct experience, that something extraordinary had happened to me. Usually, Anna and I talk back and forth. She asks questions, she makes suggestions, and I respond. This time I talked for the whole hour. I do not remember all, or even very much, of what I said. But here is what I seem to have decided in those many quiet hours of the retreat while I was doing nothing and not thinking.
• I really truly do not want to be in a hurry any more. I want my life to be spacious. I want to do all things with attention, with care. I want to be in the moment and notice the moments instead of waking up on the first of each month and saying, Where did October go? Where did November go? Where did 2010 go? I want to know where the time goes.
• I want to answer the four questions that Wayne Muller posits in his brilliant book, How Then Shall We Live. Who am I? What do I love? How do I live knowing I will die? What is the gift I have to give to the family and community in my life?
• I want to work less. I want concerns about money and funding the future to play a much smaller role in the decisions I make.
• I want to write more and do more art. Every day when I can. Every week without fail.
• I want to find a good place to give the gifts I have and know that that is enough.
• I want rest, contemplation, silence to have a real place in my life, not so I can do more but so I can be more connected to myself and to Spirit.
• I want to love more deeply and trust without reservation.
It seems amazing to me now that so much came from doing so little.