In Honor of Carol-Ann
We could not know the level of pain and suffering she had endured, and she said it was a miracle that she was able to attend the retreat and manage her pain. She earnestly aligned herself with the work and went through the process of being in witness of her Life Journey. Her dedication to this inner work was timely, as shortly after the Retreat she went into hospital for an operation, and now a few months later, dear Carol-Ann is in the Divine Realm.
There comes a time in our lives when we need to just sit a while with our deep inner awareness and make inner peace with our Life Journey, and with all those with whom we have traveled. EXPERIENCING LIFE CREATIVELY is one such Journey we all need to take before the moment we leave from this Realm. It is a sacred Journey that helps us to awaken to our Spiritual Being. When we have come to sit a while with our Divine Aspect, then we know that we are Loved and in the Arms of God.
I am sure i say on behalf of all the participants on our last retreat that we are grateful for the Light and Love that Carol-Ann brought to the retreat. We are very glad that she was able to be in that space with herself and others who held her with love and admiration for all that she had been through and still emerged smiling. She obviously touched the hearts of many, for the priest told me the church was packed to capacity at her funeral. She will be missed but her sweet smile will remain shining into our hearts.
Carol-Ann wrote beautifully and shared her thoughts with us both during and after the retreat. Now reading her words again, it is easy to feel the Loving, Guiding Hand of God. She gave permission to share her experience and letters if it could open the hearts, minds and souls of others, which is what she dearly wished to do. In tribute to this brave and gracious lady, we now share these (edited) letters of hers:
I thank both of you for the two days of the retreat - it was pure gift. Lots of people have asked me what the retreat was like, and the only word that comes to mind is “the such-ness”, which of course no one understands, so I just reply “I got a lot from it”. When I wrote to Leela, I mentioned that it is not so much a lot of words needed to explain it, it is rather a state of “being” and in spite of being in pain and discomfort, I still have the peace that I received. Fear is a thing of the past, and what a pleasure to get rid of THAT companion!!!
Thank you for sharing with us how, using our breath in and out, to honor and accept our day and all events as being for our higher purpose. I believe that all my pain and discomfort is serving a higher purpose - although at the moment I don’t know or understand. One thing it has taught me though, is that when I pray, I not only pray for myself, but for all people who are in pain. I have begun to feel a sort of connectedness, and I pray with gratitude.
Maybe the purpose is teaching me gratitude - even in pain - because it has created within me an acute awareness of people who suffer every day with no end in sight, just as part of their daily life conditions (like my dear deceased husband Doug). He bore it so courageously, and I now see that it never touched his Spirit. Wow is all I can say, in the magnificence of it.
I have put into a frame the photograph of me as a child (that we used on the retreat). I was bowled over by what other people saw in that little face. I have typed it out, and put it behind the photograph to re-read from time to time to remind me never to let those qualities be buried in conformity by life’s events, but to draw upon them as my strengths! How many people get the gift and joy of that knowledge! After Doug’s death it seemed that I had lost my purpose in life. Now I know that I will carry those strengths into every situation that comes my way. How exciting that with the tools of mediation and reflection to be able to live a full life from now onwards day by day, and maybe even in loneliness, pain and discomfort and trying to find and learn a lesson there too.
I received another gift on the retreat: Chinky asked me to sit on the beach quietly at the end of the retreat, which I did. I just sat on the beach letting the sand sift through my hands, and when I looked up and became aware of my surroundings, I realized that I was sitting on the exact same beach that Doug and I had walked on, two weeks before he went into hospital never to fully recover. It then hit me that I had come full circle!!! and I let go with honor, love and gratitude. Haven’t I been blessed!!!
Thank you both with lots of love, light, & blessing
by Carol-Ann McMenamin
I woke up at 1.30am on the morning after the retreat, and knew it was a calling to mediation, prayer and reflection. I never went back to sleep again and with pen in hand wrote what I called my “Damascus Story’:
My Damascus experience began on 6th May 2004 when I was struck by a life experience of my husband losing all life and movement in his body in the blink of an eye. I was struck blind in as much as I would never again see or experience life as I had known it. I was catapulted into another life dimension within a heartbeat.
I lived this life of blindness until on the 26th October 2013 (date of our last retreat), the scales began to fall away and once again I could see ... I woke up to very different world from where I had come ... and yet in a strange way had always known.
I have found the mystery that I have been searching for all my life, even as a child. The Mystery is within me (always has been). It is not me, and yet I am it, and because of that it connects me to everything that lives and breaths ... It is the very Source of life itself ... known as God ... I have been called to live close to that Source, and take that gift of awareness to everyone I encounter. I do not know the way yet, but it will be shown me.
I do not shun that period of Blindness, as it showed and made me aware of strengths I have which I never knew I possessed until they were put to the test. I honor that period of blindness as a gift, and I welcome my new sight with joy. In the Source that created me, and lives in me, and becomes me ... for the world.
I cannot thank you (Leela) and Joy enough for the gift of the retreat - it has turned my life around 360 degrees ... I see everything now as gift, even the pain - not immediately of course! I look back with a sense of connectedness - I am not the only person, and I won’t be the last. The lesson I learned from it, is to be more patient and empathetic for other people in pain. It is difficult to be kind, or understand when someone is in pain, when you are bubbly and full of life, have places to go, and things to do, and they are down and depressed, (I experienced that as well). It takes a deeper understanding that comes from connectedness. Out of everything comes good, if you choose to see it that way.
Love, thanks, light and gratitude
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Eternal rest grant unto Carol-Ann,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
We are still accepting bookings for our EXPERIENCING LIFE CREATIVELY retreat / workshop this weekend. You are invited to join us for a weekend that will change your life through the grace of God in positive ways that you cannot conceive ... for with God all things are possible beyond your imagination ...