My deepest most passionate longing is to create a place called SOULand where we pray 3 times a day everyday in songs, communion and silence.
Where we grow our lives in .a way that enhances the place and the beings in it as bees do. A place where discipline and passion are woven in its frame.
Where beauty and love...authenticity and wounds are utterly welcome... where? with whom? How?
Soul's needs for our species is vital and entangled in attention and affection.
No electricity for 20 years, no wifi, internet, mobile phone. They pledged poverty to not take from the already very poor. They make their flour with ancient wheat grown by a neighbour, bake their bread. honey, olive oil, sweet chestnut flour are from their land and sentient beings. Their vegetables are stored in old washing machine barrels to last as long as possible. Each day the 8 wildish sheep with large bells need tending. They help lessening the fire risk by eating the grass on the many terrasses made by the ancients of this land in the Ardeche in France.
Each week people from all sorts of background and walks of life, all pilgrims, come to pray and find a portal to spirit again. Some bring walnuts from their fields, butter (getting rarer in France) or chocolate from Carrefour. Abundance always seem to enter that space.
Hermits living near by take care of the flowers for the tiny dark chapel made of schist, stones and local wood...so dark it takes a minute to see the simple icons, the long candle and the quiet welcomed stove in a corner.
Two 'little brothers' live there in a tiny Monastery 'La Demeure notre Père'. One 'brother' arrived as a young man at 20 years old 43 years ago, Paul. He went for a week from Holland and never left. The other arrived 36 years ago and is now 73, Jean-Michel. They follow and are totally devoted to Jesus and to some books that are not easy to take in as a woman (an other post). ...yet my heart opened like a pear tree blossom in their company this last few days perched in a sweet little wooden cabin by a stream where I lived and prayed.
3 times a day there were set time for praying together in the chapel in communion, in songs and in silence sometimes. I kept staring at Marie, she looked dignified, beautiful and kind there. I needed that energy so gratefully. It has been a road of real mystery and quite humbling which I needed .
These people have been sharing their place with a hospitality, generosity and 'bienveillance' that as a non Christian I feel truly blessed by. Their openness to 'the other' has disarmed me...and taught me much.
Their impact on our earth is like the one of a honey bee... pollinating, creating beauty, living within mystery and of service to the greater whole.
That perhaps is the important element when setting up a place of sanctuary, that it is of service to a Divine entity. Creation, Pachamama, God, Jesus, Allah or anything else that connects us to the great mystery...then perhaps there is a possibility to get a glimpse at what being a human being could be and offer a place of rest and listening.
They fought, were grumpy, impatient and rough sometimes... They never pretended to be nor wanted to be perfect. Their humanity on their sleeves, knowing themselves, they fell down so many times and kept getting up to stand for life.
They work all the time through waves of elated exhaustion (63 and 73 they are) ~ welcoming a 'stranger pilgrim' and praying times always take priority. We prayed for two/three brothers to find their way there and stay to help out. And they want to keep working until the last breath...retirement? from what :-) they say?
Everything for them is borrowed and to be tended to. I think it might be love. They are to me the pioneers of tomorrow.
Feeling blessed to have followed my broken heart after the suicide of a friend, to share a moment with these beautiful sacred and scarred souls. Thank you! Azul