Linda Courage – Selby/York
I am very glad to be a Regional Contact for Living Spirituality Connections. I got a lot from the organisation that gave rise to this new initiative, i.e. what was the Living Spirituality Network (LSN). The LSN newsletters were full of interesting articles, and I really benefitted from the annotated new books section. I was fortunate to hear Eley McAinsh (LSN Director) speak about the expression of contemporary spirituality in many guises at St Bede’s Pastoral Centre in York on a number of occasions.
A little about my own living spirituality: in recent years I have been drawn more and more to silence and the exploration of myself and the world through the use of expressive arts and poetry to release insights from dreams and tensions. I have withdrawn quite a lot from what fed me in church attendance and involvement – now I attend and lead contemplative services in my local church in Selby, and run occasional expressive art events.
For a long time, my church has been about people, and connections with whatever draws me on, and in. I am a ‘Monk in the World’, through belonging to the Abbey of the Arts, and am very at home here, in Living Spirituality Connections.
My work life has changed in recent years. I had relished a short commute on foot to a treasured staff nurse post in our local hospital, where I loved belonging to a small team. Returning to nursing was an important ‘gestalt’ for me – a completion of unfinished work from my early career.
Now I find myself on the threshold of retirement from this post. I’m sitting with the wisdom of resting, and waiting to settle into myself, and growing into new rhythms. It feels like priming a new canvas; putting foundational practices for this new period of my ‘one wild and precious life’ into place. Actually, I’m learning from LSC and the Abbey of the Arts!
I try to stay focused on just being a ‘creature’ on this planet. I love the night sky, and the thought of the galaxies makes my heart leap. I enjoy my home, garden, family and friends. I’m recently divorced, and lost both of my parents after eight years of caring and creating memories – mum had Alzheimers and dad was her main carer.
At one period my life all seemed to be about giving up, stripping away, simplifying, and staying local and small. Now I’m opening. I’ve travelled a good deal to mark my 60th year. Journeying to the fiords of Norway, and to Inis Mor off the west coast of Ireland, represent travelling to the East and West of my belonging, as revealed by DNA analysis. The archetypes of Warrior, Artist, Monk, and Lover are at home in me.