Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Go Sit in your Cell,

and your cell will teach you everything.
Abba Moses. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.




Hallo again.

I know its been a while and I've no excuse. I've been a little bit too happy and a little too lazy.

Anyway I'm still happy but in my post-greenbelt glow its time to write once more.

Not sure about what or if anyone is even still reading blogs. Perhaps best to start with a child's description of the sky over Dakota.

The Sky is full of blue
And full of the mind of God.

Its from the book of the same name by Kathleen Norris. I've been inspired as I sit in my small plain rented weekday room in Manchester where I'm working at present. She describes how she had to travel across the state to teach poetry in various tiny rural schools. Often she stayed in terrible motels whose grim surroundings initially overwhelmed her.But she decided to embrace the surroundings by learning from the desert fathers. She began to view her tacky cheap motel room as a monks cell full of the gifts of silence and solitude. A place to read and write - to be in the desert and watch it bloom. As she describes it....
"I had stumbled on a basic truth of asceticism: that it is not necessarily a denigration of the body, though it has often been misapplied for that purpose. Rather it is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person. It is a radical way of knowing exactly who, what and where you are, in defiance of those powerful forces in society -alcohol, drugs, television, shopping malls, motels - that aim to make us forget."
Kathleen Norris. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.

I love that she see's shopping malls and television as being as dangerous for our soul as drugs and alcohol. And I think she might be on to something.

I plan to explore that idea for the next year- during the week I'm in exile from my love and from my home. But I want to embrace this cell and see if I can learn from the experience. Lets see what happens.

3 comments:

aine said...

Welcome back - it's been too long

Feminine Feminist said...

whoop!

Janet said...

great piece Mark. Thanks for the thoughts. I love that she thinks that shopping malls and tv are so dangerous for our souls. Look forward to more thoughts.