Silence, Listening, and Connection

 In Spirituality

img_3931I spent last week, and our Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, on silent retreat at a beautiful center outside of Tucson. I spent my mornings in meditation and yoga practice, listening deeply to the voices of spirit, and the afternoons hiking and connecting with the saguaro cacti, desert rats, mule deer, birds, and other plant and animal life in the adjoining Saguaro National Park.

The contemplative community at the Desert House of Prayer supported my retreat with delicious meals, massage, and space to move freely in their community and participate in their prayers as I chose to.

The retreat was a precious opportunity for even deeper silence and stillness than is possible in my daily life, and for rest and reflection that also created space for clarity about the ways I want to share my work and live my life in the upcoming year.

I’m crazy about the saguaro cacti. These magnificent beings shared so much with me about their perspective on their ecosystem, their relationship with each other, the soil, the air, the birds who make their homes in their bodies, the planetary energy fields and their consciousness of much that is “outside” of their physical forms.

There is a labyrinth at the retreat center, created as a gift by a Native American woman from the Yaqui Tribe, with volcanic stones that had heard the prayers of her people in their sweat lodge. As the stones did their work and become too small to use in the sweat lodge, she collected them and placed them with reverence and prayers in the labyrinth, where they continue to hear and hold people’s prayers and intentions.

img_3920As I walked the labyrinth each day, I held in my heart’s intentions and prayers the interdependent, interspecies communities of our precious Earth. I left the retreat with renewed inspiration for the importance of sharing and deepening our interspecies connections as effectively and widely as possible.

More than ever, I know that the work that we do together in expanding our awareness of our interconnection with all beings, human and non-human, has the potential to create a new story, a new paradigm, a new way of living and being that comes from a deep understanding of our relatedness, and the importance of living from the reality of connection, rather than separation.

What can you do in this holiday season, season of darkness, of reflection, of stillness, to create space for silence and deep listening to the calling of your own soul and the voices of the souls around you? How can you create more connection, more awareness, more understanding within and without? We are in this together…each of us a vital part of the whole.

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