Posted tagged ‘retreats’

The Engineer and the Mystic

October 11, 2018

finalMy mother was a devout Catholic but she was also a woman with an intense curiosity about the world around her.   As a result, she cast her intellectual net wider than most Catholics.  For example, she became a fan of Jean Dixon, the self-proclaimed psychic and astrologer that many Christians loved to hate.  She passed her open-mindedness on to me, which I believe she came to regret because I eventually gave up Catholicism.   From my Dad, I got my rational side, in part I’m sure from genes but also because he regretted his choice to join the Army instead of going to engineering school.  My rational side won out and I became an electrical engineer.  But from the time I gave up my Mom’s religion, I also became a Searcher.  I often picture myself with my Engineer on one shoulder and my Mystic on the other, both of them whispering in my ear about whatever spiritual concept is intriguing me at the moment.   They rarely agree and for many years, the Engineer called the shots. (more…)

Mountain Retreat

October 9, 2018

trees.jpgFriday afternoon, my wife Muri and I packed our suitcases in the car and headed to Lake Arrowhead.   It was time for my Autumn Men’s Retreat at Arrowhead Ranch, and … as it turns out, our friend Sue has a log cabin home a few minutes away from the retreat center where Muri could visit while I retreat with the guys.   The retreat center is remote, Sue’s cabin is remoter.  Though it is only a few minutes from Arrowhead Ranch, it is up the hill on a winding not-quite single lane road through the pines.  I’m not sure I’d want to drive alone, I remember thinking as we followed her there.  More on that later. (more…)

The Real World

April 26, 2016

P1020197Friday afternoon, I drove to Arrowhead Ranch, a camp and retreat center in Lake Arrowhead, for a retreat with a group of about 40 men from my Thursday Night Men’s Meetings.   That is my official … if not totally genuine … reason for not posting since last Wednesday.   The truth is, nothing inspired me to write.   Yes, Jack London said, You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club, but since writing is my avocation not my vocation (avocation sounds so much more grown-up than hobby, doesn’t it?), sometimes I choose to just wait.   Or retreat, in this case.  But here I am, back again.  Did you miss me?

Monday Smiles 4/11/2016

April 11, 2016

blue lanternFor quite a few years, I’ve attended a fall and spring retreat with my Thursday Night Men’s Group … and posted about it here on Older Eyes, Bud’s Blog.  This year, for an assortment of reasons that shall remain private, I decided not to go.  I told my wife Muri that we should go away for the weekend and have our own retreat.  A week ago, I was checking for availability at the Blue Lantern Inn in Dana Point and found that their Tower Room was available as a last minute special … half price … for the weekend of the eighth, so I reserved it for Friday and Saturday night.  The Tower Room is on the third floor, overlooking the marina and Dana Point Harbor, one of my favorite coastline views.  Saturday, we had breakfast in or room while we watched a paddle board competition on the beach below.  Our friend Jackie from Solana Beach came by around noon and we spent the afternoon talking in our room, then went to dinner at a local fish house. (more…)

Monday Smiles – 4/14/2014

April 14, 2014

mission SBAnother Men’s Retreat is in the books.  Once again, I set off looking forward to the weekend but vaguely wondering in my skeptical heart-of-hearts if this is the year it’s just same-old-same-old.  The year I don’t write the dates for the next retreat in my calendar.  That feeling hangs around, whispering in my left ear, through a noisy dinner at which I feel a bit outside of every conversation … and through the first meeting at which I admit, out loud, that it takes about a meeting and a half for the retreat effect to kick in.  The place helps.  The mission is beautiful and the grounds abound with flowers of every color. (more…)

Friday Favorites 4/11/2014

April 11, 2014

If you’ve been dropping in on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog for a while, you may know that twice a year, my Thursday Night Men’s Group holds a retreat.  For many years it was held at San Lorenzo Retreat Center but several years back it became San Lorenzo Seminary.  Many of us love the place but not enough to become priests in order to keep going.  Then we spent a few years at Mission San Luis Rey in Carlsbad.  I rather liked it there but the majority took what we call a Group Conscience (called a Vote in secular circles) and decided to move to our current location at the Santa Barbara Mission Retreat Center.  You might get the impression these are religious retreats because we keep ending up at missions but your impression would be wrong … the retreats center on the 12-Steps and are spiritual but not religious.


Monday Smiles – 10/21/2013

October 21, 2013

park sunriseThe Sunday morning meeting of our Men’s Retreat is called the Spirituality Meeting because it focuses on the spiritual aspects of the 12-Steps.  It is usually my favorite meeting of the weekend because I have found a level of spirituality at the retreat that I have not found anywhere else.  But I won’t kid you … by Sunday, I’m also ready to be home with Muri.  I don’t go to meetings to learn that I’m more fortunate than most, but hearing how few men to have a significant other at home that they see as a best friend makes me ready to be at the side of mine, regardless what debris life is blowing into our lives at the time.  One of our older members, Larry … who is no longer with us … used to suggest trying to keep the peace found at the retreat going as long as possible as we go back to the real world outside the retreat center walls.  Our retreat center used to be in the hills above Santa Barbara, so we used to call returning home, coming down the hill. We don’t meet in the hills anymore but we still talk about coming down the hill.   Larry believed we shouldn’t share too much with our spouse or friends because it is hard for them to understand what happens at the retreat … and their reaction may take the glow off the weekend.  For Muri and I, though, going out to dinner to talk when I get home is a tradition, and I share what I can without sacrificing anyone’s anonymity. (more…)

Older Eyes …

October 19, 2013

Is On Retreat


Mission Santa Barbara

Friday Favorites 10/18/2013

October 18, 2013

retreat SBIt is that time of year again … time for our biannual Men’s Retreat.  It is a bit of a marvel that I’ve been going to this retreat twice a year for eight years now because, as Muri said the first time I went, Bud, a retreat is so unlike you!  And it was.  I’d probably say it still is, as is going off with The Guys for more than a few hours a week for my Tuesday and Thursday meetings.  I am a fairly solitary soul who prefers to spend my not-solitary time with my wife, Muri.  And yet.  Here I go again, off to the Santa Barbara Mission Retreat Center for the weekend with 40 similarly minded guys.  We are a diverse group.  Noisy.  Sometimes vulgar. There’s a fair chance that one or two will piss me off during the weekend.  There is also a good chance that in figuring out what pissed me off, I will learn about myself and get to be better friends with the men responsible.  At the retreat, controversy is sometimes a catalyst.  What brings us together is a dedication to using the 12-Steps as a means of improving our lives.  There as many opinions about what that means as there are men in the group, and in listening to each other, we learn, even when we disagree.  The weekend is sometimes intense, partly because I am intense, but it is also fun.  We eat together, we play together and we laugh together, often at ourselves.   It is a twice-a-year renewal and this year, it comes just in time.

Monday Smiles – 3/25/2013

March 25, 2013

I rolled in from this weekend’s Men’s Retreat at four Sunday afternoon, and as I usually do, I took a short nap.  Two nights of late meetings and late bull sessions … plus a three hour drive each way … wear me out.  I came into the retreat with no big issues to address … unless you count some depression, some anxiety and more than a little Feeling Old.   But being in a beautiful place … the Santa Barbara Mission Renewal Center … with this odd collection of guys talking about spirituality and a better way to live has surprising power.   I returned home feeling better with my enthusiasm for life restored.