As I write this blog Max is in hospital having surgery on his foot after an altercation with a chainsaw. No, not at Fosterton Retreat, (there he wears boots) but in Mayfield! I'm very thankful it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been, but: Max 0 - Chainsaw 1.
After surgery he will be in plaster and a boot for a few weeks. So, 2023 has begun with an unexpected challenge, which changes some of our plans. I'm also glad we took time out for reflection at the end of 2022, before jumping into a new year. I find it lightens my load as I begin a new year. I feel it in my body.
As some of you know, in December we offer a retreat called "Wrapping Up". It's a busy time of year, so we understand if numbers are low. One year just Max and I worked through the reflections, because we believe it's an important practice. "Wrapping Up" in December 2022 saw a group of us spend the day reflecting and looking ahead with reflective exercises, silence, images, and a labyrinth walk.
In case you weren't there, (or if you were and want to do some more) this blog has a few reflective exercises adapted from a chapter called 'The Road to Life' by Joyce Rupp (1).
We recommend you take at least 30 minutes for these reflections; some people like to do 15 minutes a few times a week. It includes some creativity, but you'll be fine. If you can use a pencil or a computer you can do it, but feel free to go all out artistic too! This is your life and your reflections, so there are no right or wrong answers and remember no one is marking it.
Draw a road: label it with 2022. Place some key events and experiences on the path. Name this road, using a name that describes the dominant view of 2022, e.g., Best year Ever, My 90th year, Pandemic year 3, or think of an animal to describe this year: snake year (hard to catch and a bit venomous)... etc.
Draw another road, labelled 2023. Write your feelings about entering this year. Give this road a new descriptive name.
Consider what kind of roads you've travelled on your inner journey this past year. Represent them on your road by drawing things like: hills, valleys, empty stretches, busy sections, road blocks, treasure, bridges you had to build.
Where were you refuelled or found rest areas? Mark these in colour on your road.
Consider the ancient story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt where they were in slavery. If you don't know this story there are some helpful online versions, (video and written), listed at the end of the blog.
Consider this story. Is there somewhere in their story you would you put yourself? Are there similarities / differences?
Where has or could help come from when you've been in difficulty?
Max is now out of surgery (that's how long writing a blog while fielding family calls can take) and they are confident it went well. I am SO thankful. Then I rang a friend to tell her what's been happening, and cried. I'm the person who gets a migraine at the end of catastrophe, or cries with relief when things have turned a corner. It can be hard to ask for a shoulder to cry on or for help. But I'd like to
encourage you towards an attitude of inter-dependence.
(Poster: see reference 2 below)
We need others, at various times in various ways. So ask yourself this question:
Do I need to reach out for help at the start of this new year? If yes, who to? Then make a plan, e.g., ring /email today after dinner.
Finish with a new year's blessing from Joyce:
"May your inner vision be transformed so that you can see more clearly your own journey with all humankind as a journey of peace, hope and bondedness." (p26)
If you think there is any way we can serve you on your inner journey, through Fosterton Retreat, give Max a ring 0490 663 228 (he's Mr FR) or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May there be many good memories made this year.
'Be nurtured in nature'
Fosterton House, Mountain & Valley View Cabins
Creative Nature & Creative Spiritual Retreats.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture, paying respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We also recognise we are only caretakers for future generations.
The story of the exodus out of Egypt.
"Moses and the Exodus| The Jewish Story| Unpacked" from Unpacked.
"Overview: Exodus 1-18" from The Bible Project.
"Story of Moses in the Quran" from Why Islam at
"Exodus Chapter 1" (links to all the other chapters are on this page) from Catholic online.
Joyce Rupp May I Have This Dance, Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1992, pages 23-24.
Poster illustrated by Macario Gómez Quibus. "Copyright © 1956 Paramount Pictures Corporation." - Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped from the original image,Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86976652