Hi, I’ve been very lax about posting on this blog lately. I’ve yet to find my ‘voice’ in my spiritual journey but a lot has been happening.
Firstly, the only part of the Celtic retreat I haven’t written about is the creative workshop we had on the Sunday. Creativity was very important in the balance of life for the Celtic Christians and again, being a somewhat creative person myself, this appeals to me. However, my fellow retreaters and I were all rather daunted by the prospect of this workshop but we did amazing things. We sat the in the conservatory around a table and began to think about what we would do. Some already had a few ideas, some wandered into the garden looking for inspiration! I, like one other, had thought about this in advance and I’d written a communal prayer for midday prayers. As I had lots of time to spare once I had copied this out I decided to do something else. I grabbed some paper and wax crayons (going back to childhood!) and drew what I had seen during the meditation which was yellow light. I drew this around a goblet (communion cup) and wrote words like peace, and love with different coloured wax crayons.
After we had finished we all shared what we had done – there were thoughts, poems, prayers and drawings and one lady used scraps of material to explain a patchwork she’d like to make and used examples of Christ’s life and the patchwork of life. Our leader then pulled in all together in final prayer. It was wonderful to see how God touches each of us differently.
Since I have been back from the Celtic Spirituality retreat I’ve been reading more about it and practicing morning and evening prayer using the little pocket book I bought while I was on the retreat. I find this very helpful, the wording appeals to me and because all the Bible readings are printed for each day I can carry it with me. I realise that the ‘celtic way’ has been with me for a long time as over the years I have bought books about it now and then and nature has always been something I’ve cared about.
I spoke briefly before about the programme for that weekend, learning about and from some of the celtic saints. On the Saturday we spent four hours in silent reflection. This can seem a bit daunting if you’ve never been silent before but it was rather nice. There’s no pressure to speak to people and you can just relax. I walked to Branksome Beach during the first part of that four hours. It’s a twenty minute walk from the retreat house – but a lovely walk downhill through an avenue of trees then at the bottom there is this breathtaking view of the beach which never ceases to make me think ‘Wow’. It was rather blowy on the promanade so I walked up the cliff path and found a bench to sit on whch overlooked Branksome beach and towards Bournemouth. The sun came out and it was wonderful. I had to move when a shower came over but managed to find another bench under a tree which gave me shelter and also almost the same view! Time passed quickly. I used some of it trying to write a prayer to be used in the creative workshop the next day. Then it was time to go back as I wanted to be at the meditation at 4.30pm.
I have tried meditation before but not very successfully. The celtic approach was different. There was music throughout and our leader, David, guided us through exercises to relax us and then to focus using visualisation techniques which I found very helpful . Basically as I breathed in I visualised a yellow light like the sun coming into me and breathing out I visualised a dark mass. We then had a track of music with a short Bible verse repeated and this too I found helpful as the words seemed to speak directly to me. We tried focussing on one of the objects placed on the small table but I got distracted with that and found my eyes wandering from one item to another so I went back to the visualising technique. After we had finished David said we’d meditated for 40 minutes. I couldn’t believe it! Normally time drags and all sorts of things flit through my mind. I have since bought the CD The Eye of The Eagle by Dave Bainbridge, David Fitzgerald with David Adam (narrator) from which the track used on retreat comes. I have also bought Celtic Treasure CD by Liz Babbs and Simeon Wood. Liz Babbs writes poetry based on the celtic way
The more I read and learn about the celtic way the more I feel pulled towards it.
Next time I will write about the creative workshop I took part in on retreat.