Over these past two years, many of us have become increasingly aware of our humanity - our fragility, our vulnerability and our mortality. Besides enduring the illness and loss of loved ones, there have been so many other personal, economic and global challenges we have had to face. For months on end, I was frequently reminded of the opening words of a prayer by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton who seemed to be speaking not only on behalf of individuals but for our planet itself.
‘My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end’.
But, as he goes on to remind us, we can continue to persevere to do our best in each situation trusting that we are never truly alone. It is in this surrendering that faith and hope frequently carry us through so that we uncover the mystery of what it is to be fully human, learning to live with paradox and embrace the huge opposites the experience being alive presents to us. Often, when the way ahead seems at its darkest, we find ourselves stumbling upon a new light, an unexpected insight, dawning wisdom and blessing. As R.S Thomas writes;
When we are weak, we are strong. When our eyes close
On the world, then somewhere
within us the bush burns. When we are poor
And aware of the inadequacy
of our table, it is to that
uninvited the guest comes.
Looking back over the past months I can clearly recognise the disguised blessings. Certainly, for Temenos, this was revealed in the outpouring of love and generosity during the worst of the pandemic as so many of our friends assisted us both financially and prayerfully to keep all our staff employed and their families fed. We are hoping shortly to build a wall of gratitude at the Retreat to remember the love that in so many ways ensured the continuation of this garden of the Beloved.
For me personally, a season of deep gratitude is gently replacing a season of deep grieving. Waves of gratitude for the presence in my life of the loved ones who have passed on but who will always continue to enrich and bless my life, not to mention all the love and empathetic support shown to me in a time of bereavement.
Further joy has come our way with the arrival of chef Christiaan Campbell, previously of Delaire and Boschendal, who will be setting up and running our restaurant at Temenos. Through a rather miraculous set of circumstances, he has joined our team to play a part in the writing of a new chapter in the restaurant’s twenty-three-year-old story. In his own words, ‘I see my role as bringing to the hospitality side of the retreat an even closer alignment to its beautiful, nurturing environment. Hospitality, dining and food are very much associated with nurturing. It will be my goal to procure ingredients that support our local community and economy first, ingredients that are produced using practices that are regenerative and that benefits people, animals and soil health’.
I feel sure many of you agree with me that the marriage of our garden with such an ethical vision for the restaurant is a reason for celebration.
At the same time Christiaan arrived, another welcome surprise was having Temenos friend Wendy Prevost offer to assist me in the refurbishment both of the restaurant and our cottages which, after the financial challenges of the pandemic, were deserving of a facelift. Her sense of stillness and clarity and care are evident in all that she is doing.
And so dear friends, as the season of Easter approaches this year, the gardener at Temenos can resonate with the psalmist who proclaims that “weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning”.
Whatever path or practice you follow, may this Easter be a symbol of new life and new beginnings for you too. There is a universal truth in the idea that as long as a seed remains in the dry, warm security of the granary, it will never reproduce itself. It needs to be buried in the cold and dark grave of the soil and there it has to die. Then, out of its wintry grave, the springtime will sprout.
We, gardeners, are shown this miracle over and over again.
UPCOMING AT TEMENOS
22 -24 April
RESTORE, RESTORY, REKINDLE
An embodiment Retreat with Johann van Greunen
“The body is the angel who expresses and minds the soul;
we should always pay loving attention to our bodies…The body is the angel of life.”
- John O Donahue
For more information, contact Johann 083 764 5978
29t April – I May
TANIA BOWNES RETREAT
The joy of Sound and the Sound of Silence.
Connect together in sound to share the joy of movement through NIA
Tel : 083 326 6352
13 – 15 May
The Wonderful; Synchronisation of BODY _BREATH HEART MOVEMENT
A weekend integrating aspects of T’ai Ch’I, Qigong and Alexander Technique
- For more information, contact Marguerite Van der Merwe 072 850 7292
We are offering our annual AUTUMN ACCOMMODATION SPECIAL for those who enjoy our glorious Autumn days in McGregor
Monday 2nd of May – Friday 6th of May R2200 (Single) for 4 nights R1800 per person sharing
Friday 6th of May – Sunday 8th May R 1240 (Single) R1500per person sharing.
STAY SUNDAY NIGHT FREE