The Strategic Monk’s Pilgrimage
It is my honor to introduce Greg Richardson (@strategicmonk) as my guest on my blog today. Greg and I are part of several communities on Twitter and share some interests and passions. Whenever I sign into a chat and Greg is there first, I am greeted with a resounding, “PEG!” It always makes me feel welcome. After several chats and “getting to know Greg” in the Twitter world, I became intrigued by his Twitter handle. I followed his website link to find out if there were any clues as to why he was a strategic monk. He in fact spends time at a monastic community. While on my restorative and sacred Harley trip this summer, I noticed that Greg was spending time at the Benedictine Hermitage and Monastery. I was intrigued. In an effort to understand what that meant and how Greg’s journey in life got him to that monastery, I agreed to a Blog Post exchange. Greg is a fascinating man who has had many journeys already! Enjoy his post and follow the link to his website to find some refreshing nuggets of pure wisdom and insight!
By Greg Richardson
I am not good at stopping to ask for directions. I want to figure it out for myself. I want to show myself that I can do it.
Besides, if I am lost I probably need to go faster to make up some time.
I am learning. More than anyone else, monks have shown me the value of stopping to find the way.
I am a lay oblate at a Benedictine monastery, New Camaldoli in Big Sur, California. An oblate is a person who lives outside the monastery and lives by a rule of life based on the rule that the monks follow in the monastery. Once each year, at least, I spend a few days there in silence and rest, finding the way.
The first time I visited New Camaldoli, several hours up the coast from where I live, I got lost. I needed to stop, go back, and find the way.
Several times each day, the monks at New Camaldoli and their guests stop what they are doing and gather for prayer. Even as I spend my time looking for the way ahead, I stopped to listen in a different way.
New Camaldoli is a place of beauty and silence. The monks live in a community of hermits. On the side of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the sunsets are amazing. At night, the stars are spectacular. Even the foggy days are stunning. There are deer and foxes, and condors fly in the sky overhead. It is a beautiful place to learn to ask for directions.
It is a challenge for me to put what I learn into practice. Though I stop to find the way when I go to New Camaldoli, I need directions more than once a year. Each day, I practice stopping to breathe and find the way.
Greg Richardson is a spiritual mentor, and leadership and organizational coach, in Pasadena, California. Greg has served as a criminal prosecutor, an executive, and a university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com.