Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Get Thee to a Nunnery
The phrase, "Get Thee to a Nunnery" was first coined by Shakespeare in Hamlet. When Hamlet laments to Ophelia that she should "get thee to a nunnery", he is expressing pent-up anger towards his mother, who he feels has been unfaithful and incestuous when she married his uncle. At the beginning of the play itself, we see a brooding Hamlet who seems almost more upset by his mother's marriage than by his father's death. He speaks of it with such bitter disgust: "She married, O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!" (I.ii.156-7) and is so upset with his mother that he pronounces a curse on ALL women, not just her: "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (I.ii.147). So, that curse includes Ophelia, and from that point on, he avoids her.
But the reason for ME using it here is the opposite - I occasionally seek OUT a monastery or "nunnery" for the purposes of filling my spiritual hunger and my longing for inner peace. Well, once again, last weekend, I had the opportunity to get myself to a nunnery and I can't recommend it enough. St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas is simply phenomenal therapy for me and repairs my soul like no other balm that exists on earth. Just spending a few hours in the rolling hills of the Benedictine Monastery reminds me of who I am, or want to be, my best self - in touch with the divine in me, and in others.
I haven't been there since September 2009, but I went there to meditate and to pray - to mostly seek out the Silence. Wow is that ever a powerful place, and not only are wonderful people already living and working there, but those who visit are very interesting inner adventurers.
At my request, I was able to lodge in my favorite Room Number 8. Ah!!! Back again. It's simple. It's stripped down of TV, radio, computer, all e-media. There's just a small bed, a small dresser, small desk, a comfy meditation chair, and that's it - a quiet room alone, with a beautiful view of the rolling hills of Missouri.
It was a strange, confusing journey there this time - because unknown to me, all the bridges leading to it on the Missouri side were disabled for repair. Ah hem. Nope I am not kidding. Symbolic, isn't it? I need repair, all the roads leading there are down - I need to forge a new route. Wow. But I did. I found it. Finally. And it meant all the more to me once I finally arrived.
Ah - peace at last, I found you. And just in time, too, because I carry this place with me, and mentally go there whenever I am feeling at my wit's end, which is all too often lately.
Thank you God for giving me a place to find you, because sometimes (like Hamlet) I really lose sight of all that is good.