Originally posted December 21, 2011, revised during the Coronavirus lockdown, March 25, 2020
In the Spring of 2011, I did a Zen retreat at a former catholic convent, the Angela Center, in Santa Rosa California. As I was unpacking my bag, I thought to myself that my “cell” was just a slightly less Spartan, more feminine version of the one where I was isolated from the outside world for two years as a Jesuit novice 45 years earlier, the same bland institutional architecture put up to accommodate the large numbers of men and women who were entering religious life after World War II.
I followed the schedule and brought as much of myself as I could to the practice. It was difficult.