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My quarterly self-care ritual has been to go to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. It is a place of renewal and healing for me spiritually–in every way, really. It is quiet, beautiful, peaceful, and a loving environment–just perfect for reflection and intention setting.monastery

My story is such that I have experienced much sadness, judgment, and hatred while being in church environments with Christians who espouse an extreme form of Christianity. When I come here, to the monastery, I have an opportunity to sit in a safe place that also happens to be a church. A place where God dwells, and I feel God’s presence in a healing and loving way instead of as the opposite. I meet redemption when I walk the grounds, when I sit in the cathedral, when I listen to the monks sing, when I hear the church bells ring out good news for my soul.

This particular visit gave me back some hymns I had to leave because they hurt to sing, but now redemption has spread over the old and made it new. Now I can hold phrases from “I Come to the Garden Alone” and I hear the voice that tells me I am loved. I am made perfect in my weakness. I just need to show up with my breath, my heart, and my soul:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear…

water on water The green on green the water on water speak my language–my love language.

I find God in the midst of the quiet and contemplation. The ability to be still opens up something in me so that when I meet the page, I am raw, ready, and capable to express all that needs the divine touch.light through the tree

What I want to say is: my self-care naturally includes healing. When I separate myself from my routine in such a radical way, I experience life in a differently–I experience words differently, more clearly. I hear what I am to hear, and I find what I am supposed to find so that I can go back into my life, back into the world refreshed and ready to witness others and to support them in their journey to wholeness through self-care, self-love, renewal, and connection.

my cross