Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 26 - Space...the final frontier

So much to report and so little time this evening! Let me begin with all the details about my adventure last evening....

On Wednesday, I had the extreme privilege of being invited to a spiritual gathering at Silver Wings Retreat in Puryear, Tennessee. Situated on 60 acres of rolling hills just north of Paris (south of Murray), Silver Wings is the home and work of Theresa Wing, a certified natural health professional. The main residence is a gorgeous, completely "green," solar-powered home. It is surrounded by lovely flower and herb gardens and just beyond it lies the Center, a retreat which sleeps 12 (dormitory-style), and is neighbored by the Labyrinth walk....a maze crafted beautifully of stones. The Labyrinth offers each visitor an opportunity to make a personal pilgrimage of the soul. For me, it was an essential journey.

Within the Labyrinth, the pathways lead always to the center and back out again. Walking it is sublime...transcendental. It can be a healing, transformative, or religious event, depending upon the walker. Almost definitely, it is an experience unique to each individual who enters with an open heart and mind.

Over the course of three hours, I participated in my first drumming circle, native American chanting ritual, earth healing, meditation, listened to organic music played on native drums and wooden flutes, and listened in on the fascinating conversations of some of the area's top naturopathic healers, Intuitives and Reiki Masters. As a group, they covered subjects ranging from Arc Light healing to Raindrop therapy, herbs and energy work.

At approximately 9:00 pm (on 09-09-09, a date we won't see again for over 1,000 years), we ventured into the country night where I was met by an awe-inspiring sight - one I had never witnessed before. The sky itself was a vast revelation. I had never before been in the country, away from all the city lights, on a perfectly clear night. As I gazed up at the most stunning of night skies, I saw the galaxies, the stars in a totally new vision. Right there in the center of my sightline was the Milky Way. I must have seen a version of this at a planetarium years ago, but if I did, it was nothing compared to the real deal. Breathtakingly beautiful does not begin to describe what I saw in the sky last night.

Walking the Labyrinth accompanied by the music of group members playing their flutes and drums was, well, mind blowing. Still, I could not take my eyes off the beauty of the heavens. Above me, each star shone brighter and brighter. There were thousands of twinkling worlds, almost too many to bear. It struck me more than once that the stars appeared suspended directly above our heads, only just barely out of our reach. The reading I did earlier about visionary Gene Roddenberry and his fascination with space certainly added to my experience. As I reached the center of the Labyrinth, I felt a physical sensation as if I were flying into the night sky - just for a second or two. I could so easily imagine flying in that starship, as Gene imagined, long ago and far away. (Truthfully, I wish I could volunteer for a shuttle mission right now. Do you think it's too late?)

I realize this may sound silly to some readers, but I must share what a fascinating and ultimately, deeply moving night it was - for me. The things I was exposed to throughout this gathering were a combination of art, faith and beauty. The Silver Wings Retreat is a very, very special place.

A new day, a renewed excitement
I awoke happier than usual this morning, and attacked the social media assignment in earnest, completing the paper by noon. I attended an informative history seminar and the evening was completed with a visit to my father where we were (rather wildly) entertained by his new kitten. This precious pet was recently rescued and adopted through the local Humane Society, and it did my heart good to see her, and my dad, so happy and well.

Somewhere in all the bustle this week, I changed my mind about the focus of the history research paper I'm working on. I am pleased about this new direction and excited to get back into it over the coming weekend. (Note to self - thank Dr. Lochte for setting me on a more appropriate course.)

I leave you with a quote this evening, something simple but true that I noticed printed on the back of dad's Purdue Alumni Magazine:

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
- W.B. Yeats

Let's strike a match!

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