Sacred Places

I never missed a year of camp. It was my life blood through adolescence…waiting each summer to have that glorious mountain top experience of playing praying singing with what amounts to hundreds of people over the years. Over time, the place itself took on a sacred meaning for me. There were the old timber tables that served as our crafts tables. The old shower houses that I helped build at work/study conference; The bench on the side of the mountain that was obscured by brush where we would go at night without flashlights in the darkness of a moonless sierra night.
 The experiences of people became so intertwined with the land itself that I could not discern between them…which had actually created the life changing experience? Was it the people or was it the place? And now, on this side of youth, we understand that it is both things. It is the powerful weaving together of experience and place that creates new awareness, inner growth, rest and renewal.
What does it take to deliver us one single day of the simpler, quieter life we have long been seeking – the life many, if not most of us, resolve year after year to create. In our lives, there is little room for rest, no provision made for the need to enjoy and connect. We have those places. Do we know what treasures we hold? Do we see what places of respite and health and beauty we have to offer? I believe the camps and retreats in UCCR’s care are much more than facilities that offer beds and breads. We are about offering a place, a service to a culture in need of such things…we offer the possibility of the life-changing experience for every person who comes to us.
So, get out. However you can. Go on retreat. Talk a walk in the forest or on a wide sandy beach. Gather around a campfire on a cold Autumn night and re-kindle the connection with the earth and sky. Thinking about simplicity just isn’t enough. Get the felt-sense experience of not having to move by the ticking of the clock or the news feed on the computer. Refresh. Revitalize. Get still and listen to the voice within you. So worth it.
Today I am heading to a camp for a night…yes, it’s for a meeting…and yet, there we will gather in the stillness and reclaim some part of ourselves that are hidden and masked in the noise of modern life. And I am grateful to have such places to put the phone and computer away and simply watch the wind in the trees for awhile.

~ Tina