No Habit Required

I promised some inspiring ways to invite the spirit of the monastery into your own life without getting tonsured or donning a monk’s habit!

For the spirit:

Following is a prayer written by the famous Trappist monk, Thomas Merton.  I have it pinned to my wall next to where I write.  It speaks so beautifully to the knowing of faith in the midst of the unknowing of Life. That is our reality.  Not one of us has a crystal ball or magical powers of clairvoyance to prepare us for our next breath.  Life is ultimately a mystery.  Merton’s prayer speaks to our vulnerability as human beings and our soul’s longing to take a leap of faith.

My God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face life alone.

For the mind:

Two books that I return to over and over again. Both were written by Thomas Merton while he was living at the Abbey of Gethsemani.


A Book of Hours is a beautiful collection of lyrical prayers following in the ancient monastic tradition of “Praying the Hours.” Merton was a gifted poet. His prayers, psalms, and spiritual reflections open the door to a deeper spiritual experience in the chaos of our busy lives. I often give this book as a gift to family and friends!


The Inner Experience is a jewel of a book that explores the practice of meditation and contemplation in pursuit of a deeper experience of life and God. What I admire about this Christian monk was his fearlessness to learn from many different spiritual paths like Sufism (Rumi) and Buddhism and then incorporate them into his own spiritual experience on earth.

For the body:

A Vegetarian Salad to celebrate Spring!



The monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani follow a strict vegetarian diet. Not only do they prepare the food, but they also wash all the dishes! I must confess, I was itching to sneak back to the kitchen and infuse a little creativity into their simple repertoire! Recently, I threw together this quick, no hassle salad that can stand alone or is a beautiful accompaniment to lamb, fish, or chicken, and makes a simple green salad sing!

1 cup of White Quinoa

1 can of garbanzo beans

1 cup of diced tomatoes (I used the mini San Marzano tomatoes! Any cherry tomato would work.)

1/2 cup of diced olives (I used the pitted Greek mix of black and green olives from the Whole Foods olive bar)

1/2 cup of dried Montmorency cherries (Trader Joe’s)

1 cup of chopped fresh mint

1 cup of chopped cilantro

1 cup of chopped basil

Think of the fresh herbs as your salad greens! The more the better!

Juice of 2 lemons or limes

Generous use of olive oil and Kosher salt & cracked pepper

*Diced avocado on top

Cook the quinoa and leave aside to cool.  Mix all the ingredients and then play around with the taste. Add lime, olive oil, salt &pepper until you are happy! This salad keeps well in the refrigerator as long as you don’t mix in the avocado. I have also substituted black beans.

Live in Hope!



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