• Karen Murray Heffron

My Life at the Monastery

I recently experienced a 3 day silent retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. This was a dream come true for me as I have never been a fan of talking and couldn't wait to be encouraged to keep quiet! Knowing one of the Blue Zones included a community of Seventh Day Adventists who follow the Bible on its recommendations for health, I was curious how the monastery handled the diet of the Monks. It was revealed to me that yes, they also are required to follow the Bible's instructions, and they currently have a man in his 90s who runs 10 miles daily. They are allowed to eat meat 3 times/year - once on July 4 when they have hot dogs and beer!

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this retreat. My room was very simple containing only a bed and a Bible. We ate simple food, and attended 5 services throughout the day beginning at 4:00am. The time in between was spent communing with God. By the end of the weekend, I peeked at my phone and felt the messages/advertisements in my email were screaming at me. The peace and quiet was almost addicting in a completely different way.

The monk who was teaching our workshop stated when he visits his family up North occasionally, he has to find a place of solitude because he can't handle the noise and craziness of the world. We have so many distractions that keep us from what we need to be doing. I think we should all carve out time to be in solitude with no "to do" lists to allow our intuition to guide us with what we need to be doing in health and in life. This experienced has opened my eyes, and now I make it a daily priority. I hope to start waking up early to make it happen easier, but sleep is another temptation I have to work on!

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