I’m guessing there is a wide range of reactions to another winter event happening today. What a winter it has been. I hope that you can receive the gifts of the day. If your house is full, that you can include time for play and time for quiet. If you are alone, that you will reach out to a friend or family member. A day like this offers its own beauty and opportunity. I’ve offered a few suggestions as a P.S. at the end of this blog.

There was just a little snow falling on a recent Saturday morning as 20 of us gathered in the Sanctuary for an intentionally quiet day together. They came with little knowledge about what those six hours would hold, except the promise of a spiritual retreat that we were calling The Hidden Springs.

Lay Minister for Worship and Arts, Susan Bennett, helped me put together a program that invited participants into a slower pace, silent reflection and sharing to create meaningful connections. Readings, silence and sharing set the pace and rhythm for the day – all around these questions:

  • What is growing in me right now, waiting to be born?
  • What are my sources of wisdom and strength?
  • What will it take to nurture and encourage the seeds of growth in my life?

I felt so grateful for the slow day, the meaningful sharing, the quiet and the good food. (Susan’s kale salad was the most spiritual thing about the day!!) We were all reminded that we do not slow down often enough. That little retreats from the pace and fullness of our days make a real difference.

Sorry you couldn’t all be there. I am inspired to invite you to plan a retreat for yourself.

  • Ten minutes today during lunchtime to look out the window, no phone, no technology at all (Well, you could set an alarm on your phone to make sure you don’t miss a meeting …);
  • A half-hour tomorrow morning for meditation or writing in a journal;
  • A silent meal – eating with mindfulness, enjoying each bite, taking only one bite at a time, really experiencing the texture and taste of your food, your appetite, your relationship with eating;
  • A Saturday morning devoted to reflection on questions like those above;
  • A Sunday afternoon hike in the woods.

Slowing down, finding the quiet does not require taking a week off of work for a trip to Ghost Ranch (or wherever) at a significant financial cost. We can make room in every day for little retreats.

I hope that every time you attend services at UUCF you get a taste of this. A little change in the pace of life. A little music, a little reflection, an invitation to go deeper.

P.S. Some UUCF-related snow day suggestions …

  • Check out the Online Auction and do a little shopping to benefit UUCF,
  • Reach out to a UUCF neighbor or friend, especially one who lives alone,
  • Write a thank-you to someone who has made your life better,
  • Start a spiritual practice,
  • Listen to this fabulous TED talk that is not only about gaming but also about resilience,
  • Shovel someone’s sidewalk as a surprise,
  • Listen to a recent sermon podcast here,
  • Make hot chocolate or a hearty soup for someone you love.

See you in church.
Mary Katherine