Rhythm of the Day

A monastic retreat offers balm to a time-crunched visitor

By Kathleen Norris
praying hands image
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

Time is a curious thing: On a clock face it is rigid, but in our lives it is remarkably flexible. When I was five years old, time moved too slowly between birthdays. Time moves faster now. When it weighs heavily on me, because I seem to have either too much or too little, I need to pause and come back to myself, a process the monks call recollecting—refocusing my attention, drawing my thoughts away from distractions and preparing to enter a sacred inner space and time. Two core monastic values, gratitude and humility, help me here: being thankful for the time I’m given and knowing I will spend my life learning to use it well.


KATHLEEN NORRISis the author of The Cloister Walkand, most recently, Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks and a Writer’s Life.

Photo courtesy of R. Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock.com

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Originally published in the April 2012 issue

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