My destination is locked in, sir. Come January I will leave the ice and snow of the Dakotas and make my home among the palm trees of sunny Southern California. Santa Monica is my specific destination. It’s on the coast, still a part of Los Angeles county.
To me honest, I’m not much of a city guy. So, adjusting to the L.A. area might be a bit of a stretch for me. Hopefully, though, like a good yoga pose, it will stretch me in good ways.
Over the years, I have greatly appreciated the teachings of James Finley. Years ago, in the 60s, he was a monk at Gethsemane, the monastery where Thomas Merton resided. In fact, Merton was Finley’s spiritual director. Finley left the monastery in hopes of taking the contemplative path to those outside the cloistered walls. He became a spiritual retreat leader and a psychotherapist for trauma victims. He is now semi-retired, living in Santa Monica.
At this point, the primary thing that matters to me is walking the contemplative path. I’ve been studying the contemplative approach for the last several years and I have incorporated many contemplative practices into my life as spiritual disciplines. I am still pursuing pastoral ministry, but at this point, my strongest intuition is to seek mentorship in the contemplative way. I’m not sure how long my stay in L.A. will be. It could be temporary, six months or so, or it could be a longer term stay. I’d like to keep that a bit open-ended.