Halfway through our five day residency with leaders from the community sector and the Ministry for Children and Families here in BC. Times like this, at middle of a five day retreat, we turn our thoughts to what comes next and we forget to be present. This is our day of practicing presence however, and later today we will be going out on the land and allow ourselves to be hosted by the forest, the rain and our island. This is the time for a fierce recommitment to the here and now.
My colleague and friend Annemarie Travers, who is on our hosting team and who leads learning in the Ministry shared a beautiful framing for our day together. She and her husband Geoff recently completed the Camino pilgrimage and she wrote dozens of poems during her journey. This morning she shared one that speaks powerfully to what it is like to be distracted by the near end:
The closer we get to the end of our walk, the harder it is to stay present
We think ahead to achieving our goal, beginning to be proud of our accomplishment
We have also started to think about home, and all that waits for us there
But we need to focus on enjoying these last few days as much as we dare
While we feel the Camino has given us both what we need
We know it’s not done with us yet, their is still more to come, indeed!
These last few days are characterized by more traffic on the paths
And as we weave our way through, some draw our wrath
Then we remind ourselves of the Camino spirit, and breathe deeply, just let it go
(Hopefully not while passing a farm – we are regularly assaulted by manure smells you know)
We forget to be grateful for the simple pleasures of the day
It was supposed to rain today, but the rain stayed away!
This all has the effect of limiting our opportunities for meditative walking
Our minds go to the usual worries, and we begin talking
About the end of the trip, and what we will do when we return
So we made a pact with ourselves with the intent to turn
The train of our thoughts, to focus on the here and now
Enjoy what this day brings, not the manure, but the beauty of the cow…
Such a beautiful reminder to remain present, to enjoy the source of everything that continues to work with us!