Anne Strader

January 2012 (Vol. XXV, No. 1)

NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS, Dear Friends of Silence.  What is your deepest, most heartfelt hope for this year?  No doubt we all have many hopes and wishes as we usher in yet another new year.  It is traditional to make "New Year’s Resolutions" when the year changes, but what if we made a list focused on our hopes for the year instead of making resolutions?  What if we made only one resolution: to dwell in hope?  How might we (and the world!) change if we truly live in hope?  As we sit in silence daily, let’s reflect deeply on our hopes, for the world and for ourselves.  We may be surprised by how it affects our lives and those around us!

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December 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 11)

Warm greetings, dear friends, in this blessed season! As we journey through our lives, may we walk with awareness of our accompanying angels, knowing we may experience them in many ways. Angels may bring comfort when we are suffering, peace that calms raging inner wars, hope in times of despair. And during normal, everyday times, when nothing significant seems to be happening and we seem to be just plodding along, our angels, with their gentle humor, joy, laughter, and warm presence, can add a wonderful lightness to our lives. IF, that is, we remember to ask them for what we need! Be sure to include your angels in all your days; be open to their surprises, talk to them, ask them for any help you need, from the most mundane to the very important.  You may be amazed at what happens -- and don’t forget to thank them for always being there!

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November 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 10)

Warm greetings, dear friends! As the year draws to a close, the world around us seems to slow down, reflecting a drawing inward, a time of rest to rebuild reserves of strength, food for another active season of growing and producing. The earth lies fallow, while deep within, that which is necessary for life and growth replenishes itself. We would do well to observe and take in this valuable lesson from nature. We, too, need time to lie fallow, time to just be, to listen and dream and wait for the wisdom at the center of our being to make itself known to us before we enter again into a busy season of doing. In the silence we come home to ourselves, we remember who we are; in the silence we are renewed and strengthened for the seasons of our lives.

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October 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 9)

Greetings, dear FOS friends. Consider for a moment the conundrum of TRUTH. Every tradition and many individuals claim to know Truth, but the various belief systems can be quite different. Surely we cannot all be right, so...what is Truth? Picture in your mind a huge circle, with Truth sitting in the center and all the people of the world sitting around the circumference. Each of us is looking at Truth, but since we are all seeing it at a slightly different angle, no two of us will see exactly the same thing. How then do we know what Truth is? How do we recognize it? We can take our confusion into the silence and ask That which is deepest within us to help us recognize truth when and where we find it, for Truth is to be found within us. It is there in the deepest part of us, that place where a spark of God resides, just waiting for us to seek it.

September 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 8)

Autumn blessings to each of you, dear friends of silence!  It's hard to believe summer vacations are over and harvest time, with fall activities and duties is here.  As we return to our workplaces, consider Gibran’s teaching: "Work is your love made visible."   Adding consciousness and attention to the skills we bring to our workplace is demonstrating love visibly, and what a difference it can make!  For as within, so without: If we work consciously and with love shining, we are adding Light to our surroundings and others will respond to it.  That still point deep within can guide us from day to day, from moment to moment, and promote a more peaceful, cooperative atmosphere as we go about our duties.  So may it be for each of us!

July/August 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 7)

Summer Blessings, dear friends!  Vacation season is here and many of us are traveling in the literal sense during these months.  Opportunities for rest, relaxation, and fun are real gifts, and we enjoy visiting  new places and exploring unfamiliar surroundings.  As we travel in the world, our spiritual journey is ongoing as well, down at the heart of everything.  It's wonderful to have opportunities to  enjoy all we see and hear and taste and feel outwardly, but let us also be attentive to what is happening on the inner path.  Inner and outer often overlap, and we may become aware of marvelous cues and synchronicities in the outer world that offer opportunities for much growth and progress on our inner journey.

June 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 6)

Warm greetings, dear friends of silence!  We are having most unsettled weather here in Missouri in recent weeks, and in some ways it reflects what we must all feel at times in our lives.  You know the feeling: scattered, as though we were being pulled in too many directions at once and feeling too many claims on our time.  At such times, we may feel particularly unsettled and badly in need of healing, being knit back together into a calm serenity.  "Healing" can have many meanings, of course.   We think first of being cured of a disease, but there is a deeper and more holistic meaning of the word, too.  When we sink into the depths of ourselves in sacred silence, we find what we need to be truly healed, in ways our conscious minds may have not yet perceived.  May we experience the healing we need, in whatever form that may take, as we enter the silence together.

May 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 5)

We warmly welcome you, dear friends, to Still Point Mountain Retreat, the new home of Friends of Silence.  We hope you will come and discover the “still point” of your “turning world,” where in the words of T.S. Eliot there is “neither movement from nor towards, neither ascent nor decline,” and where “except for the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”

Nestled next to the 1400-acre nature preserve of Rolling Ridge, near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Still Point offers a secluded setting for personal retreat, families, small groups, and occasional special-topic retreats.  Still Point’s  3-bedroom, 2- bath log cabin, 1-room guest cottage, 2 teepees, and camping space offer sacred space to reflect, pray, relax, and enjoy the beauty of wilderness.

Check the new Friends of Silence website for information on facilitated group retreats, private retreat space, spiritual direction and other resources.  

April 2011 (Vol. XIV, No. 4)

Warm, Springtime Greetings, dear friends!  The changing of seasons always brings to mind that well known passage in Ecclesiastes, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."  Consider the vast meaning within so few words!  How does nature know?  How do those perennials we plant know when to begin to grow again, the trees to begin budding and leafing?  How do the birds know when to migrate back to their summer homes, to begin mating and nesting?  The will to grow and expand is directed by a life force beyond our human comprehension.  We can only observe in awe and gratitude the world our Creator has given us.  As we fall silent before such miracles, let us ask for help in caring for the earth and its treasures that they may continue to sustain us and all future generations in abundance and in beauty.

March 2011 (Vol. XXIV, No. 3)

Blessings of Wisdom to all of you, dear friends of silence!  The term "sophia perennis" (perennial wisdom) seems to imply that wisdom is always with us, and yet sometimes it seems to be so sadly lacking.  Emily Dickinson wrote about truth, "The truth must dazzle gradually or every (hu)man be blind."  Perhaps something similar is true of wisdom: it comes gradually, or it would be beyond our understanding.  But perhaps, also, we too often do not look for it, or even think about it.  For wisdom is ever with us, in the deepest part of our being, and all around us in the natural world, where we can see it at play if we but pay attention.  Internally we can find it by sinking into our silent depths and listening.  May Wisdom abound in the world!

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