On My Way to Santa Fe.

May 7, 2023

On My Way to Santa Fe.

May 29, 2023

Five years ago, I made my first pilgrimage to MEA in Baja. I call it a pilgrimage because I looked up the word and found that it meant a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about themselves, others, nature, or a higher good through the experience. It can lead to personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.

I've made this pilgrimage every year since, much like the people walking along the road to the Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico, searching for an expanded meaning in their lives, or maybe in search of their true selves. My pilgrimages were never convenient, and I could never afford them, but I'm an 81-year-old man still in search of his true self and finding a little more of it each year at MEA.

I'll be making another pilgrimage in May, to the MEA Alumni Reunion in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to play a small part in introducing people to the new library planned at Sunmount. It's a great honor to be asked to serve in the voluntary position of MEA Librarian.

My first official act as the librarian is to ask you to help us consecrate this sacred place, during the reunion, with a donation of as many books as you’re willing and able to relocate to a new and beautiful home. What a beautiful symbolic gesture, to bring an offering of books to the chapel that will become the MEA library.

If you’re coming to the reunion, bring some books. If you’re not, stay tuned for instructions on how to get your books to us. Any books in the self-development genre and/or books that you’ve written will be greatly appreciated and will have a place on the future shelves as original occupants.

The dirt at the Santuario de Chimayo is believed to have magical powers. I believe libraries also have magical powers. They are filled with small objects containing white pages with black marks that can transform lives and transport us to exotic places in our imagination. They can bring back memories of those magical words, "Once upon a time," as we went to sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.

Perhaps the reason for silence in libraries is out of reverence and respect for the lives on the shelves that want to speak to us. This idea was captured beautifully in a quote from Susan Orlean in a recent article by Skyler Skikos:

A library is a good place to soften solitude, a place where you feel part of a conversation that has gone on for hundreds and hundreds of years, even when you're all alone. The library is a whispering post. You don't need to take a book off the shelf to know there is a voice inside that is waiting to speak to you, and behind that was someone who truly believed that if he or she spoke, someone would listen.

The library at Sunmount will be a sanctuary for learning and healing, a peaceful and beautiful place where you can read or simply sit and absorb knowledge through osmosis, surrounded by countless lives speaking to you.

I’m looking forward to using our imagination together to envision this space, eagerly awaiting the arrival of those magical objects that will bring this space to life.

Pat Whitty is a five-time alumnus at MEA and one of the moderators of our Corazon Third Act group. He was the owner of the Dale Carnegie Training franchise in South Texas for over 20 years introducing hundreds of people to the classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. He is currently working with Senior Planet/AARP teaching seniors how to enrich their lives by learning how to use technology along with a weekly online discussion group called Finding Purpose, Wellbeing, and Community after 60. He attributes his curiosity, love of learning, good health, and longevity to his involvement with MEA.

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