3 simple truths on the path of intentional solitude

The Call to Freedom from Ourselves

I’ve struggled to write about my UK trip earlier this year. Not because it wasn’t memorable or noteworthy. Quite the contrary.

The trip turned out to be a key marker of my 3-month sabbatical from work, and a major milestone on my journey towards uncovering my purpose, healing and growth.

For the purpose of my varied audiences, I’ve decided I will make two separate blog posts from the trip: this being the first which is more reflective; and a second more touristy post on some of the highlights from my time in London.

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Entrance to St Beuno’s, Northern Wales.

Unbeknownst to most, the purpose of my trip was not merely for sightseeing. Nor were the 10 days I spent in silence at St Beuno’s College, Northern Wales, a simple detox from social media.

1. A Call to Trust

Rather, it was anchored on a call for me to trust. To trust that I would receive. Not because I deserve it. But simply because I am loved.

Sounds simple enough. But when you’ve been emotionally manipulated all your life, and carry with you the scars of brokenness from numerous broken relationships and friendships, trust becomes the very last thing you want to do.

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Roses and flowers have been a very symbolic part of my journey.

It becomes your greatest fear. And you learn (erroneously) to only trust yourself.

If you find yourself regularly second guessing the intentions of others, it is the greatest symptom that you are actually trapped in your own unfreedom.

Because living in shame and fear has become your way of life.

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Art Space at St Beuno’s. One of my favourite rooms!

2. A Call to Freedom

We are, all of us, creatures in need of liberation. We do not need to be visibly the victims of an oppressive society.

Some of us could be victims of dysfunctional families, or simply victims of our own poor choices.

As such, freedom could mean an entirely different thing from one individual to the next.

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Have you ever been completely alone in the wilderness, admiring the vast beauty of creation?

It could range from anything such as a freedom from guilt, to freedom from hate and unforgiveness, or freedom from our pride and ego that blinds us to our own flaws.

Perhaps to another it could be freedom from jealousy and envy,  freedom to express our authentic selves with the world  without the fear of judgment, or the freedom from the wounds that bind us and block out real love; preventing us from being healed.

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Artist at work.

Yet the greatest irony is that in order for us to reach new degrees of freedom in each of these areas, the journey always calls us into deeper waters.

We are constantly called to arrive at new ports, to encounter new truths that are way outside our comfort zones, and very often, that are way beyond what our finite minds can comprehend or accept.

And such has been my own journey of intentional solitude to date.

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For every mountain, there is a valley. Both are necessary.

3. A Call to Love

Among the multiple journey threads that developed over the 10 days I spent at St Beuno’s, the most major takeaway I had was an unexpected one.

I was expecting from the beginning a call to leave everything that I was doing, my job even, to serve in something that was deemed as more visibly meaningful, or more measurable tangibly in terms of “loving and serving” the community and others.

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Meditative walks in the Labyrinth.

Because that appeared to be the more common/popular path of those who have encountered a conversion experience, and been touched by unconditional Love.

But no, my call wasn’t to leave all that I was doing.

What turned out to be the most difficult thing for me to do, was to actually stay put and finish the work I had started in the face of regular judgement and disgruntlement.

A work that would take me through difficult paths and leave me feeling terribly misunderstood at times, but teach me what it really means to love.

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Listen to the silence, let it enfold you.

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