The plan to teach a course at The Mandala Center in New Mexico didn’t happen.  Not enough people signed up.  BUT Plan B, to create mandalas in New Mexico at a silent retreat Monastery did happen.  Yeah for grander plans than our own.  I really needed a quiet easy time to create, and I certainly got it.

My friend and fellow teacher, Kelly Larson, and I signed up for five days at Christ of the Desert in Abiquiu New Mexico.  We were joined by one of the women who signed up for the course.

The Benedictine Monastery is thirteen miles off the highway on a clay and gravel dirt road.  At the end of the canyon, on the Chama river sit the beautiful adobe buildings, gardens and majestic high canyon bluffs surrounded by Santa Fe National Forest.

The Monastery is silent in all areas except for a few designated rooms. The Monks sing Gregorian Chants during some of their church services.  Guests are welcome for personal retreats and stay in the guest house with no electricity. It is a five minute walk from the guesthouse to the main buildings.  The other buildings are powered by the largest array of solar panels in New Mexico.

The first day the silence bounced around in my head. After a few days the silence settled into my bones and my being.  I still feel it deep inside.

Hummingbirds – loud and fast- zoomed by, while insects filled the air with their calls.  At dusk coyotes called amongst themselves in high pitched voices echoing through the canyon. The view from the front porch glowed with red rocks of the southwest.  One day the loud sound of stone cracking along the high walls brought awe and fear into our eyes and hearts.

The bank of the Chama River was the perfect spot to create mandalas. My art supplies traveled to the river where bluffs, sky, flowing water and a surprise encounter with a baby rattlesnake were all inspirations.

My mandalas were mainly prayers and thoughts with simple circles and words from the heart.

The end of the journey was perfect with the wise eyes of an owl from the Santa Fe Raptor Center sharing an all knowing look as we walked into Keshi to find Zuni fetishes that would let us bring the coyote and snake animal medicine we received at Christ of the Desert home with us.

 

 

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