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At Home in House of Life


February 8 - 10, 2019 - Led by Victoria MacDonald

St. Dorothy’s Help Retreat, Occidental, CA




There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a

house with four rooms:

one physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.


Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we

go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired,

we are not a complete person.

Rumer Godden; A House with Four Rooms




Some commentary on "I was a hidden treasure,

and I desired to be known":


tear down this house.

A hundred thousand new houses

can be built from the transparent yellow carnelian

buried beneath it, and the only way to get to that

is to do the work of demolishing and then


digging under the foundations. With that value

in hand all the new construction will be done


without effort. And anyway, sooner or later this house

will fall on its own. The jewel treasure will be


uncovered, but it won’t be yours then. The buried

wealth is your pay for doing the demolition


the pick and shovel work. If you wait and just

let it happen, you’d bite your hand and say,


“I didn’t do as I knew I should have.” This

is a rented house. You don’t own the deed.


You have a lease, and you’ve set up a little shop,

where you barely make a living sewing patches


on torn clothing. Yet only a few feet underneath

are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.


Quick! Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.

You’ve got to quit this seamstress work.


What does the patch sewing mean you ask. Eating

and drinking. The heavy clock of the body


is always getting torn. You patch it with food,

and other restless ego-satisfactions. Rip up


one board from the shop floor and look into

the basement. You’ll see two glints in the dirt.



Self & Sacred Sanctuary Meditation

(reflection questions by Victoria:)

• The Front Porch: Do I see myself as approachable and welcoming?

• The Front Door: What kind of a door do I have?

• The Living Room: How is it I feel, and allow others to feel at home and

comfortable ?

• The Kitchen: What truly nourishes me; gives me substance and sustains me?

• The Bedroom: What gives me a true sense of rest and renewal?

• The Bathroom: What do I need to let go of, to feel like I’ve been given a clean

slate and a fresh start?

• The Attic: What have I stored away which may need to be re-discovered,

reclaimed and dusted off?

• The Heater/Furnace What are those things that provide burning enthusiasm and

motivation for what I do?

• The Front and Back Yard: What are the ways I continue to play and have fun in


• The Garage: How is it I transport or convey myself to others and the outside


• The Basement: What is all the stuff I’ve sequestered away, wanted to forget, feel

ashamed of, or have boxed away in the basement of my being? How can I begin

the process of going down there and really looking at what’s there?

• The Foundation: Upon what foundation is my home built? What are the principles,

values, and beliefs, which help me, stand firm?



This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where

I ask my friends

to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.


This is the temple

of my adult aloneness

and I belong

to that aloneness

as I belong to my life.


There is no house

like the house of belonging.                                     Excerpted from "The House of Belonging" by David Whyte



Prayer is not a stratagem for occasional use,

A refuge to resort to now and then. It is rather, like an embellished residence

for the innermost self.

All things have a home.

The bird has a nest,

the fox a hole, and the bee a hive.

A soul without prayer, is a soul without a home.                                           Abraham Heschel



When We Listen by Rachel Naomi Remen


When we listen, we offer with our attention

an opportunity for wholeness.

Our listening creates sanctuary

for the homeless parts within the other person.

That which has been denied, unloved, devalued

by themselves and others.

That which is hidden.


In this culture the soul and the heart

too often go homeless.

Listening creates a holy silence.


When you listen generously to people,

they can hear truth in themselves,

often for the first time.

And in the silence of listening,

you can know yourself in everyone.

Eventually you may be able to hear,

in everyone, and beyond everyone,

the unseen

singing softly to itself

and to you.



“Happiness doesn't lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless crap. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. It is a state of mind. A place of communion and unconditional love. It is where, when you cross its threshold, you finally feel at peace."                                                                                                                                   Dennis Lehane



“Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map.

It was wherever the people who loved you were,

whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment,

and then another, building on each other like bricks

to create a solid shelter that you take with you

for your entire life, wherever you may go.”                                      Sarah Dessen, "What Happened to Goodbye"


PAX - by D.H. Lawrence

All that matters is to be at one with the living God To be a creature in the house of the God of Life. Like a cat asleep on a chair at peace, in peace and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress at home, at home in the house of the living, sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire. Sleeping on the hearth of the living world, yawning at home before the fire of life feeling the presence of the living God like a great reassurance a deep calm in the heart a presence as of the master sitting at the board in his own and greater being, in the house of life.


A Brief Bibliography of Books:

• Barks, Coleman with John Moyne. The Essential Rumi,

HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street,

New York, NY, 10022, 1996.

• Brewi, Janice and Anne Brennan. Mid-Life Spirituality & Jungian Archetypes,

Nicolas-Hays, Inc. Box 2039 York Beach, Maine, 1988.

• Hollis, James. Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life,

How to Finally Really Grow Up, Gotham Books,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York, 10014, 2005.

• O’Donohue, John. To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings,

The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group,

Random House, Inc., New York, 2008.

• Rupp, Joyce. Open the Door, A Journey to the True Self,

Sorin Books, Notre Dame, IN, 2008.

• Whyte, David. The House of Belonging, Many Rivers Press,

P.O. Box 868, Langley, Washington 98260, 1997.

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