by Roger Cramer
I came to Shalom Mountain in shambles, locked into work and expectations that totally exhausted me each day. If there was a key to get out of this prison, I had no idea where to find it. The therapist who suggested I go to a Shalom Retreat said that the work I would do and experience at the Mountain would be the equivalent of 100 hours of talk therapy. It would spring me forward in my spiritual and emotional journey. The thought of it scared me to death, – and yet, and yet what alternatives did I have? This dark cave of apprehension coupled with the urge to spring forth reminded me of Anais Nin’s words “And then the day came/when the risk to remain/tight in the bud was/more painful than the/risk of blooming.”
That was 12 years ago. And since, I have found the community and work of Shalom Mountain to be a delicious, deeply loving springboard into a new and creative life. The community that gathers at a Shalom Retreat or a Winter Mystic, or a Men’s or Women’s Gathering is profoundly supportive, loving and challenging. The processes used in the service of healthy life are stimulating and eye-opening, the leaders are charismatic and yet genuinely personal. Each gathering seems to be a labyrinth of energy in which the whirlwind of Spirit moves in daring ways and people come alive to their own essence in ways that are almost beyond imagining. It’s an amazing journey of self-discovery and self-love, where individuals and couples learn to honor themselves and find joy in the love of others.
One dimension of Shalom Mountain work that has been powerful for me over these 12 years is the Mystic Retreats, – Mid-Winter and Summer. I came to the Mountain feeling constrained by elements in my faith that did not seem to match both the Light and the Doubt that I was experiencing within. How could I give up beliefs, then crumbling, which had anchored me for so long, and been the legacy of my family, and yet were slipping away? What I experienced on the Mystic Retreats was permission to explore new expressions of the spiritual life, learn from other wise journeyers, dance my spirit rather than think it all the time, dive deep into the Holy Unknown, find comfort in the loving embrace of community. It has made all the difference in how my spirit grows today.
This next weekend, January 26-29, Nance McGee and I will lead a new Mid-Winter Mystic Retreat entitled “Gloriously made, yet stumbling toward home.” It will be another rich opportunity to plumb the depths of Spirit and Joy in our lives. Give a call, and come and join us. At the Mountain the daring dance with God is like bread for the feeding of all who care to gather.
Roger Cramer is an Episcopal priest, in retirement, living in the wild lands of his life’s transitions. A self-professed Mystic wannabe, for more than 30 years Roger has led spiritual processes and rituals, has been a spiritual director to many people, writes poetry as well as being a talented studio potter by avocation. Roger is a long time member of the Mystics community at Shalom Mountain and is delighted to continue to participate in this community through his leadership.
For more information or to register for the Mid-Winter Mystic (Jan 26-29, 2012) or Path of the Mystic (July 3-8, 2012) retreats, call or e-mail Shalom Mountain: 845-482-5421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.