Saturday, May 8, 2010

Retreating to Iona

On Iona it is about 20 minutes past midnight. The evening session of Angela's writing retreat ends about 9:30. So, if I were there, I would be tucked in my cozy room reading or journaling or just happily remembering the day. From this side of the pond I wonder who is attending this year. There were so many amazing people there and I know I'm missing some of the wonderful writing they will be sharing. But I am there in spirit and this year that will have to be enough. Knowing that I will be there in 2012 helping organize a retreat with Beth Lodge-Rigal gets me through this nostalgic time of year.
This year Angela is celebrating her tenth retreat on Iona and I know she had some special things planned. I can't wait to hear about them. It never really gets dark in Scotland in the summer time so nighttime sojourns are quite easy and magical. Last year on our last night there, we went to the nunnery ruins and ready poetry by candlelight and shared a wee dram to warm us. It was magical.
And yes, Iona is a magical place and those who are attuned to that sort of thing have powerful experiences there. But Iona has lessons for us all. My lesson is awareness, awareness of my surroundings wherever I am. Appreciate them. Get the most out of them. Enjoy and learn from the past, but live in the moment. Some days I forget that and Iona taps me on the shoulder and says, "Look around you. Look at all the faces of the people you love, look at your beautiful little town of Bloomington, look at the words of others on the written page." Iona wants to remind me that she will always be there waiting to embrace me and welcome me to her warm shores and that is a comfort on this cool Indiana night.