Be present at our table, Lord.
Be here and everywhere adored.
These mercies bless and grant that we
May strengthened for Thy service be.
And then arose a conflict in my head between the Norwegian ending versus the Swedish:
May feast in Paradise with Thee.
While breathing in love, breathing out love, remaining calm, I decided that both endings are good. As long as one doesn't think Paradise is only the place you go after you die.
We are here for both service and abundance.
My fallback meditation focus to "breathe in love, breathe out love" was particularly fitting for the space and the people this time.
The group of 18 retreatants from a St. Paul church had a scare Saturday evening when a woman from the group went missing. She went for a walk around noon and it was now nearly dark in the woods. Panic ensued on the part of some and the energy of the place changed drastically. A search both inside and outside was started. Some of us continued to eat, pray and clear the tables.
All's well that ends well, they say. The missing woman made it back at just dark, to her name being called. She stated beautifully: "it was so good to know someone would look for me if I was lost."
A vision quest, perhaps.
Most of us today give little credence to astrology, but I had to give some credit to Mercury retrograde this weekend. A large plumbing leak on Friday, a missing woman on Saturday, and a huge geyser of steam from a too-hot boiler shut down the outdoor wood furnace Saturday night. The resident community that runs ARC kept saying "this doesn't usually happen" and I kept thinking "Mercury retrograde". The full moon in Virgo of week past had already waned, after all.
Still, there was a wonderful feeling of "flow" and caring amongst the community, the volunteers and the retreatants this weekend. I had a beautiful time and felt brave enough to share a reading from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron at the Sunday lunch. I even added to it my own mystical vision of the bodhichitta--our wounded, softened heart. Someday I will write about that.
For now, as we say at ARC, thanks be.