Thursday, March 6, 2014

Taking the Ranch Home

One of the classes offered on the day before we left Rancho La Puerta was called “Taking the Ranch Home.” The point was to keep up the good things we had learned and begun to practice during our week of wellness. It was a great gift, and included encouragement to visit the Ranch's website to make use of its many tools and resources. 

We set our intentions in class, writing them down, along with possible roadblocks and ways to work around those roadblocks. Each of us wrote a card including this information, addressed it to our home, and left it with the Ranch staff. I'm expecting to receive this reminder at any time.

After we left the Ranch, I continued to read postings from

Sunday, Feb. 16
Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go. Louise Driscoll

Monday, Feb. 17
Prayer begins at the edge of emptiness. - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The message seemed to be: continue to keep it simple.

“Every day, we are given a natural way to reconnect with God. And it doesn’t depend on education. It doesn’t depend on getting a degree in philosophy or theology. Or what period of history we lived in. Or what our religion precisely is. It depends on really being present to what is right in front of us. Or, as Paul says, ‘God has made it plain.’”– Richard Rohr

The first months of 2013 brought the end of a path of cooperative work on a project which was very dear to my heart; letting go of that path involved shock, pain, bewilderment and a loss of confidence - confidence which had been carefully nurtured, and was growing tenderly after Katie's passing. 

I embarked upon another grief journey - this one compounded by my grief for Katie.

Though I spent much of 2013 working toward acceptance and equilibrium, I was unable to see a way forward with joy, until the Ranch provided a time and place of healing and restoration. While there, I met interesting, generous, intelligent people, who responded to me with kindness and respect - responded to me, my self - not to Katie's and David's mom, or Gregg's wife, not to a survivor or bereaved person, but to Karen. We shared genuine, heartfelt conversations of seriousness and lightness. I spent a week taking gentle care of my whole self, and now feel renewed peace, joy and purpose.
Taking the Ranch with me, I have begun a yoga practice, and am endeavoring to treat my body as the temple it is - with better food for fuel, and with more mindfulness, love and acceptance. I am also doing my best to be more spontaneous in my spiritual practice. I realized - in letting go of my regular practices at the Ranch - that I have a lot of habitual discipline, but not a lot of trust in letting go of those habits. What might happen if I lived my faith more spontaneously? I want to find out.
Thank you for this beautiful card, Carmela!
This time in a new place, seeking the presence of God in everything and everyone, has made me happier than I have been since before Katie got sick, and that is why it is so important to give thanks, write it down and savor it. I have been shown anew that God’s love is in me, and I am in God’s love; that His life lives in me, and I live in His life. I am blessed to do valuable work, and it is coming through God’s hands. My past, present and future belong to Him.
 “This is what God says…
‘Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is!…I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to praise me.’ ” - Isaiah 43: 16-21 The Message


Elizabeth said...

This post makes me breathless. Your words about discovering YOU, KAREN, resonate so much with me -- I struggle always to articulate what you've said so beautifully here.

Thank you.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my friend. How empowering is this new feeling? This renew of Karen? What a wonderful gift to yourself….how I love being on this journey with you.

Karen said...

Such a sacred experience. I wonder if heaven will be a bit like your week at the ranch? I love the quotes in these last two postings, and your Isaiah verses really spoke to me.
What a gift this trip will continue to be in your life.