Friday, November 16, 2018

Away to the Abbey

Image result for abbey of gethsemani gift shop
Abbey of Gethsemani

It is time for my annual Thanksgiving week retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, Kentucky. I have been spending the holiday week with the monks for the past few years, and I have been on retreats to Gethesmani many times over the past 30 years or so. 

Last year, because the Abbey's guest house was closed for refurbishing, I retreated to Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. Although I spent a pleasant few days there, there is nothing quite like the silence and contemplative atmosphere of Gethsemani.

I'll have a private room with bath, a bed, a desk, a comfortable chair, and days of unstructured time.

I am so ready.

Of course, my biggest decision is what books to take. I usually pack more than I could ever read in a few days, but I never know what I might be in the mood for. The guesthouse has a wonderful library and I usually end up plucking a book or two off its shelves to explore as well.

After much consideration, I'll take only two books with me.

I just purchased a copy of The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.  I have toyed with my own version of this popular way of tracking time and tasks, and although it might sound an odd choice to take on retreat, I want to give the author's ideas and suggestions uninterrupted attention.

This is the opening line:

The Bullet Journal method's mission is to help us become mindful about how we spend our two most valuable resources in life: our time and our energy.

Seems like a good choice for contemplating the upcoming year.

The other book is one I have had for a while but have not had the opportunity to fully examine: A Book That Takes Its Time - An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness by the editors of FLOW magazine. It is filled with essays on slowing down, living with intention, and all sorts of creative paper goodies - postcards, stickers, collage elements, and fill-in lists. I love lists! It is a beautiful book and I can't wait to dive in. Slowly, of course.

I'll also take a few basic art supplies, my journal, and an open spirit. There are always surprising adventures to be enjoyed in this place that feels almost as familiar as home - but without chores and errands and the constant interruptions of technology.

If you are in America and celebrating this week, enjoy your Thanksgiving however you choose to spend it. 

Image result for a book that takes its timeThe Bullet Journal Method : Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future


  1. Such a wonderful yearly tradition. I hope you had a marvelous time!

    1. I had a very relaxing time, Kathy. Mostly stayed in my room and read. Stared out the window. A little art play. What more could one want?