So to begin, I want to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, 2011.
For me, as the New Year approached I found myself becoming increasingly anxious. 2010 was a rough year, my diagnosis of apical ventricular cardiomyopathy and subsequent four surgeries pushed me into unknown, and frightening territory. I wanted to make the end of 2010, and the beginning of 2011 meaningful, significant - thus, the anxiousness. So, it seemed like Divine intervention when I came across the article in The Star, Spending New Year's Eve with the nuns. And that's what I did.
I arrived at the convent, The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, at 10 am on the morning of the 31st and I left on New Year's Day at noon. My experience was everything I hoped for, and more. It was contemplative, restorative, inspiring, and gave me an intense experience of community. There were about 30 of us sharing a profound hope for a kind New Year. We came in all shapes, sizes, colours, ages, sexual orientations, and yet we all arrived with our experiences of 2010 seeping out of us unconsciously, begging for release. Sister Constance Joanna (CJ) guided us wisely, compassionately, through that release, and onto a vision for a New Year that expressed and embraced the hope that united such an unlikely group of individuals. During the retreat sessions held in the conference room our stories spilled out, but everywhere else in the convent, including meal times, we were committed to silence. A perfect balance. Silence and sharing.
Over the next few days I'll continue to write about the experience, share some photos, share the agenda of the retreat, and hopefully I'll be able to capture the emotion that we all experienced while walking the Labrynth, but for now, it's back to "MOM". My quiet time is over for today.