Category Archives: prayer

The Space Between

Last weekend, I went on silent retreat, as I have for the past eight Decembers, at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, California. I mark the season of Advent—the four weeks leading up to Christmas—by fleeing shops and noise and email, by going inward, for a few days or an entire week.  Silence, of course, can have the effect of turning up the volume in our minds, of escalating the chatter of anxiety or doubts or second guessing—which explains, in part, why so few of us choose it on a daily basis.  If we get quiet, what might happen?  When I … Continue reading

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Airing the Laundry

I will be taking off the next three weeks.  My next post will appear Friday, October 21. I’ve never worried about offending anyone while writing.  Maybe it’s all those years of uncensored diary entries about mad crushes and revenge fantasies and how my mother infuritated me – but getting the words down about real people always came easily. The trick, of course, is when the time comes for those people to see those words.  Last month, Meghan Ward posted on her blog, Writerland, about the dangers of airing one’s  “family’s dirty laundry.”   Publishing words – however honest – about those … Continue reading

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Listening Anew

In found pockets of spare time – the five minutes before needing to leave to make an appointment; the fifteen minutes between emails – I’ve been updating my list of books on this blog.  I’m not sure too many readers want to know what I was reading back in 1998, but for me, going back and typing in my notes from that year brings pleasure.  Sort of looking through a photo album from a vacation taken a decade ago:  Oh, yeah, there’s that woman I sat with on the bus!  Or, Huh, I’d forgotten about that blouse.  Except that with … Continue reading

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Sounds of Silence

A little over a year ago, I picked up A Book of Silence.  The title intrigued me, as did the premise: writer Sara Maitland traveled into silence of the most extreme kind.  She leased a remote cottage on the isle of Skye and lived there alone.  In the tradition of the early desert fathers, she traveled into the Sinai desert to sit in solitude for days (and a few nights).  She forced herself alone into scary dark forests.  She found moments of fear and anxiety as well as great joy and elation.  She encountered a kind of porousness of self … Continue reading

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Do (not) Disturb

About ten years ago, I joined a writers’ group. One rainy night in 2002, I sat in a cozy, wood-paneled living room with seven other women and talked about writing. I liked the seriousness and camaraderie, the mutual respect and good humor, and I joined. Of that group that sat around the coffee table in 2002, only I remain. We’re eight again – a mutually agreed upon workable size for such a group. The new members have energy, insight, and opinions. Lots of opinions. How much of my own control have I invested? How much do I (and the others … Continue reading

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