For a number of years, I attended the Living in Grace Retreat at Asilomar, in Pacific Grove California in mid-December. I then attended online every year it was offered, including times it was held in South America. This year, as the weather began to cool slightly here in Miami, I found myself reminiscing and even preparing inside for Living in Grace once again. Given our pandemic circumstances and realizing the Living in Grace Retreat would not be happening this year, I looked within to where Living in Grace continues to be alive for me, now more than ever, and how I bring it forward in joy, comfort, and gratitude:
When I venture to the grocery store early in the morning in the “Safe Hours,” I look into someone’s eyes I’ve never met and might never see again and love them as my family because we really are.
I walk around my neighborhood daily in silence, feeling close to people whose names I often don’t know, nodding and waving in recognition of our oneness.
When my voice sounds too muffled from my mask, or I can’t hear someone because their voice is too muffled for me to hear, I smile with my eyes in the tenderness and strength of precious silence I learned from Living in Grace.
When I am free from my mask and at a safe distance, I offer a heartfelt “Good Morning” as I did when Silent Breaks ended and we shared aloud in relief and joy.
As I remember following in the sand footprints of my fellow Living in Grace participants, I take small pieces of coral rock and inscribe hearts in the wet cement of newly poured sidewalks in my community.
I spread my arms wide, feeling the tropical breeze against my skin, and envision myself strolling by the sand dunes, the Pacific Ocean’s cold, misty wind awakening me as I listen to the voice of the Traveler through my headphones, then and now.
I recall the physical closeness of over two hundred participants in a warmly lit retreat room, and I hug myself inside with the loving embraces we share so freely and confidently within.
As I remember the uproars of joy and laughter over shared meals and delightful stories, I find myself smiling, even giggling as I prepare another meal in the safety and isolation of my shelter at home.
When I hear the Sit-Down Music come over store speakers while standing in line to buy yet another Paint-by-Number for my self-care time, I smile inside, knowing I am tuning in to that divine presence that is always here, and I sway a bit, allowing my gratitude and joy to shine out into the world.
When I am feeling sad and lonely, which can happen so easily these days, I recall Grace massages and cuddles, spontaneous hugs and dancing, and extended arms of compassion coming from seemingly nowhere right when I needed them most, and I am happy and grateful.
Thanks for being on this grace-filled journey with me.
From my heart to yours,