I just got home  from a two-day clergy retreat up at Shrine Mont. The presenters this time were two brothers from SSJE. Christ Church has a long-standing relationship with the brothers from SSJE, but in case you don’t know what that stands for it is the Society of St. John the Evangelist. They are an Episcopal order of monks and they are the most loving, coolest people I know.  Every year I make a personal retreat either to their monastery in Cambridge, Massachusetts or their country place called Emery House. Every year Christ Church sends a group of parishioners to the monastery for a retreat. Often we’ve had them come here to do a Quiet Day for us.

It just doesn’t get any better than Brother Curtis Almquist’s gentle nudging towards spiritual health. He’s like a Scandinavian Yoda in a monk’s habit. He was encouraging each of us to “dare to enjoy your life.” He was speaking to clergy, but it’s true for all of us.

Here are just a few of the things he suggested we do:

  • Watch the way children play
  • Hum
  • Hum a tune you know or make one up
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Wink at yourself in the mirror
  • Close your eyes and imagine flying like you used to as a child
  • Reread a book that changed your life
  • Read some good fiction, like a detective novel
  • Notice the way great architecture effects your soul
  • Remember your first love
  • Remember what brings tears to your eyes
  • Remember who brings tears to your eyes
  • Take nothing for granted
  • Take everything with gratitude


He suggested we schedule into our calendars something that gives us joy every day. I will take the dare if you will.