Saturday, October 15, 2011

Openness of being away

Listen to this post:

It's 7:15 Saturday morning and I'm back at my computer in a quiet house. Re-entry is difficult. Every time.

How do you process all of the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and memories of an extended time away? For me, it's like it's bottled up inside and must slowly leak out over time ... as I am ready. I'm often too impatient for that. I want all that I absorbed to transform me now, in a single instant.

I can, at least, discern these magical moments:

• Standing in the beautiful chapel of St. Catherine in Siena and getting shivers of recognition that I share some of her same purity of spirit. Catherine means pure and as my reminder, I purchase a rosary bracelet with her image. I want to recall the love of God she inspires.
Tad Barney photo
• Sitting on the rooftop patio soaking in the majesty of the valley below and feeling blessed to be in the company of such great beauty. Being reminded that I carry that beauty in my heart and don't have to travel thousands of miles to experience it. Returning to the golden carpet of fall and losing my breath for a moment ... here.
Tad Barney photo
• Pulling the warm, stiff clothing from the line, smelling the freshness and being linked to the legions of other Tuscans who have done the same over so many centuries; adoring the simplicity of country life as well as the connection that transcends time, culture and language.
Tad Barney photo

• Walking with my husband into see Michelangelo's David, being re-inspired at his response and my own ... again. Wondering how something so cold and hard as rock could be transformed into something so flowing, lifelike and soft and knowing God's hand guided the sculptor's.

• Getting away from the hustle and bustle of my daughters and aching for how much I love them; something that's hard in the thick of parenting. Appreciating their gifts and beauty, wanting to share every experience with them, yet recognizing this time is for me and my husband.

• Watching the moon grow fuller reach night and, with the expanding light, feeling braver to walk alone. Seeing that same light again early this morning and understanding it's always available.

Cathy Barney photo
• Re-remembering a time with my husband when I wasn't sure if we were one or two people. Life, family, roles and time often intervene, but a new space offers a glimpse.

• Racing through the Latin Quarter of Paris like a little kid looking for something, then being disappointed that it wasn't where I had thought. I was so sure. Finally asking directions, and understanding I had been right, it's just the name had been changed. Trusting my intuition.

• Reveling in the bevy of Venetian school children who descended on us to help with a scavenger hunt in finding the English names for Italian nouns. Feeling chosen, approachable and open to their joy.

Tad Barney photo
Travel/retreat allows me to become more of myself, opened deeper by the new experiences, which reflect my essence and often touch a buried memory that blooms again.

• Who am I when I am away from my daily routine?
• What reawakens?
• What is transformed?
• How does my perspective shift?
• How does God speak to me?

with gusto,
I want to grab the openness
that being away offers

hang onto it
and implant it
into the daily rhythm of my life

not forget the new or
close the reawakened

I desire to know God 
and myself in those
new-experience ways
every day

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