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It seems like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2019) surfaced from the unconscious of Charlie Mackesy and left tracks of the Sacred upon my psyche. Years of professional writing, painting, and illustrating merge within this whimsical tale and enliven seekers; its twelve translations, its mini-adventure film in the making, its audio-book, its vinyl recording, its prints and posters, its study groups illumine another way of relating with others. Mackesy can do this because he’s a humble man. He’s been there.

The stark simplicity of Mackesy’s words interfacing his pin-and-ink sketches with occasional watercolors, serve to brighten four questing spirits: the boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse, each of them replete with symbolism. The ensuing dialogues, tinged with humor, feels like the gracious Voice of the Sacred almost giggling, because of finally being heard. Toward the book’s beginning, we find such a turn-around:

What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.

Kind,” said the boy.

Of little avail, is the Voice experienced in its usual sources, long discarded as irrelevant, but Mackesy’s message is the same.

Other outstanding features in this book include cursive writing rather than print, occasional blank pages for the reader to further reflect upon the import of what was just shared, and no pagination—one place is as good as another to start: Heartwarming wisdom is handsomely displayed within tracings of great trees and lakes and skies. Life can be fun in working relationships.

 The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse finds a resonance within anyone of any age and life circumstances. Its message to me is: You’re loved and always have been. Smile!

This morning’s dank chill feels like the inside of a sea-monster where the hapless prophet Jonah spent three days and three nights, in angst with Yahweh, over his disobedience. This image speaks to periodic descents into grief, and like Jonah, when I’ve had enough, Yahweh spews me upon the shore: my confinement is over, until the next time and the next lesson of letting go.

At 6 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

Available on Amazon

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