Moments of reverence can arise spontaneously when the conditions are right, as in Andrea Hollander’s moving poem below. But we can also cultivate a way of being in the world that makes such moments more likely. We can learn to free the mind from its relentless self-concern and pay attention with openness and curiosity, with a sense of humility and wonder. Doing so, as Hollander’s poem shows, can heal the wound of separation and deepen our compassion for others, and for ourselves.

Alice and I feel strongly that we are being called, individually and collectively, to bring this quality of reverence to fruition in our lives. The stakes could not be higher. As Wendell Berry says, “We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.”

Being on retreat, stepping away from our daily routines and habitual patterns, immersing ourselves in spiritual practice, is a powerful way to cultivate reverence.

In our time together, we’ll practice:
—finding safety in the present moment
—creating stability through awareness of the body
—recovering our sense of wonder through poetry
—dissolving the boundaries that separate us from the earth and our true nature
—and more

We hope you can join us! Register here.


     Portland, Oregon, February 2012 

So I stepped off the streetcar
and walked to the bus stop,
marveling at the city around me,
and at the young woman I could never be
standing as if beautiful
with her tattooed neck
and metal studs through her nose and ears,
and actually she was beautiful,
singing a familiar tune, its notes of grace
filling the space between the two of us,
and suddenly too a limping man
with his cardboard WILL-WORK-FOR-FOOD sign
like the title of a poem and not his life,
but who was he then,
because he began to hum, and the woman,
teeth not yellow like his, smiling at him,
reached into the breast pocket
of her denim jacket while she sang,
and fluttered a five-dollar bill toward him
like some butterfly, which reminded me
of my mother, who sang on the bed of her death
as if song could keep her alive, or maybe
it was I who imagined this, a prayer
not for the dead but from the dying,
my mother in her purple gown
singing as if Death were not the name
of anything, but part of an overture,
her brown eyes earnest like those
of the woman at the bus stop in my new city
where I did not yet know who I would become
but now it seemed I was at least a singer
at a bus stop, for my own voice joined in
without my permission and the three of us hovered
in the mellifluous air on the darkening sidewalk
as the bus came to us and lifted us
together and away.


–Andrea Hollander


2 responses to “Cultivating Reverence retreat at the Santa Sabina Center, San Rafael, CA, March 23-27, 2022”

  1. Jack says:

    Very Nice Article

  2. Rohesia Hamilton Metcalfe says:

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