MfL reflection: Kerry O’Regan

Reflections on Meeting for Learning

It wasn’t what I expected. I don’t mean the structure, activities and processes; they were all as we had been told. It was my experience of them that didn’t go quite as I’d planned. I was approaching retirement and thought MfL would provide a space to clarify the shape and structure of that next phase of my life. It wasn’t till much later that I remembered that this had been my goal. I went off (was led?) in a totally different direction. From the first reflective activity, from my first dip into A Testament of Devotion, I realised that what I wanted was to experience the sacred in the secular, to bring the stillness of the retreat into my everyday life thereafter. And I found ways to do that; ways to do that found me. For months after, I couldn’t bear to turn on the TV or radio, and even now it’s just for little bits. It seems like so much unnecessary noise and clutter.

The people were special too; getting to know one another in eternal things. And the time between the two retreats. Those of us from Adelaide who did the first retreat together continued to meet every two weeks to work through Quaker Basics, and then found a way to stay a group by becoming Quaker Learning Australia. Then my other group (supposedly my support group, but I refused to call it that); that was special too as we met through the intervening year. And of course the retreatants and facilitators. Special bonds were formed that light up when I encounter these folk at YM or wherever.

Somewhere in the midst of all that I happened upon the idea of walking the Camino, and what an adventure that turned out to be. I now live life at a slower pace; I do bits and pieces of stuff; I no longer have a car. My life is different; I am different. I don’t know how much of that is because of MfL, but some of it certainly is.

I’m happy to be contacted if you would like to explore these reflections further.

Kerry O’Regan
kerry.oregan@adelaide.edu.au
0408 881 617

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