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
THE PICKAXE - Rumi
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
• 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
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,
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.