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Practicum - Spiritual Retreat Reaction

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In doing this assignment, I was looking forward to becoming more appreciative of nature, and all that it has to offer us, wanting a better understanding of it all. It seems that we take all of the beauty of our earth for granted, we are spoiled and it shows. In completing this practicum, I hoped to return to a state of mind where everything I see has beauty in it, like a baby seeing things for the first time, when everything is so fascinating, that touching it in complete awe is all I want to do.

The Celtic appreciation of nature is what influenced the path I took with this day of reflection. The way they loved it as though it was their child, the way they respected it as though it was their mother, and even the way they feared it, as if it was their school principle (for lack of a better term). They held Mother Earth's gifts in such high regard, and that is what, to me, is so wonderful about them.

Throughout the day I told myself repetitively that, "The world was not created for us, but us for her." I felt that personifying earth was more appropriate, considering it's so alive with so many things that are, and possibly will forever be, unfathomable to us. This was my Lorica, I also wrote a poem that is at the end that meant a lot to me and reflects the way I felt while the sun was descending.

I referred a lot to the Thomas Berry video, recognizing the fact that his feelings are another inspiration for this day. He too, feels that we are way to ungrateful of our natural surroundings, and that we should alter our ways to preserve what is left. I also used an internet article by Carl McColman titled, "Celtic Spirituality: an Interfaith Approach - What is Celtic Spirituality?" he also describes the Celtic Faith as being:

"...earthy, natural, of the soil, of the clay. This is true whether your

particular flavor of Celtic wisdom is Pagan, Christian, New Age, or some hybrid thereof. Celtic spirituality is the spirituality of land, sea, and sky; of the rocks

and the trees and the animals; of holy wells and standing stones and windswept

tors. The earth is our mother; we must take care of her . . . this is not only a

native American sentiment, it is a truly Celtic sentiment as well."


I felt this was a wonderful statement, because it was what I was thinking the majority of the time I spent out there.

My original plans for this did not include exactly when, only because my schedule is, at times, very overwhelming and I was just not able to predict when I would be free, so the first opportunity I had, I figured I would jump on it. It was a Sunday, I finally had off, so I decided to take the 1.5 hour drive to my hometown of Poughkeepsie, NY for an afternoon/evening of pure relaxation and contemplation. I went to a place we use to go to when I was in high school that overlooks the Hudson River with an unbelievable view of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, it seems so close that all I would have to have done was take a step and I was on it. This place is called Kaal Rock, and also has a ground level to it that I spent the first half of the day on.

I planned on beginning on the lower level, because that seemed so similar to how life is, grounded. Then as the day progressed, I was going to take myself both physically and (hopefully) spiritually up to the top. A way of rising up to a new level, removing myself from everything that plagues me, and possibly being closer to "heaven," whatever that may be.

Well, in actuality, I went to Kaal Rock as planned, at around 4:00 pm. I brought a blanket, some water, and some of my "inspirational" music, and a notebook. I spent the first 2.5 hours on the ground, watching the water come to the shore, then just as quickly creep back, like it was frightened by what it came upon. I thought long and hard about a lot, and looked at everything I could. I absorbed everything, and felt that for once, everything was absorbing me as well. I moved my belongings and myself to the top of the cliff, and stared, long and hard at the sky, there were some clouds, nothing to large or threatening though, other than that, the sky was everything I could have hoped for.

In that time I realized a lot about myself, how the choices I have made have affected those around me, including myself. I noticed a lot of the things around me as well. I noticed things in objects I see everyday, that I have never really noticed, or paid attention too before, such as the sky or trees. Like the way the clouds seem to all mush themselves together at the end of the day, as if they were saying goodbye to each other, before they go their separate ways, similar to a last hug, or a team huddle. And the trees, they seemed like they were



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