In 2010, during my second solo trip to Assisi, I was speaking with a small group who had gathered for fellowship. When asked, "Why are you here?", I could only say "because St. Francis won't leave me alone."
I had rented an apartment in town because I could not stay away. I didn't know what that meant, or what I was to do about it. Except, to show up.
A significant part of my spiritual journey has been to accept and express my unique embodiment of that energy which infuses all things. Some might call this my "soul print" or purpose. To respect that means, at least for me, to explore the things that call to me. To, as Rilke exhorted, "live the questions." Why Francis? Why me?
So, it came to me one night at dinner (yes, cliché, but nonetheless true), that I would create opportunities for others to join me in Assisi and live into their own questions. Thus, Journeys to Assisi was born.
And, Francis? His life, I found, illustrates many choices, struggles and questions that, though specific to his life and times, reflect universal themes that we explore together during this immersion retreat. And, since a wise friend reflected that you can't have Francis without Clare, her life is woven into our explorations.
Now, years later - having led 4 group retreats in Assisi, with the 5th this September - what have I learned? That my path is enlightened by the lives of Francis and Clare. That questions of attachment (material or otherwise) are very alive for me.
How is the question of attachment part of the stories of Francis and Clare? How is it part of my own? More in the next post...