Many people ask me why I call this ’17 spaces.’ The reason for this is that for every Trappist Monastery I have traveled to, I have felt it to be a free space for me to explore, learn, grow, ask hard questions of myself and the world, and ultimately deepen my sense and understanding of love and the importance that holds.

I have found that encountering free space in my life has been the most enlightening provision for self discovery. With meetings of this free space, I am allowed to be fluid, to be right or wrong, to ask or not ask, to empty and fill my mind, to challenge societal imposed traditions, to grasp gigantic concepts in few or no words, to smile at the beauty of a stream, to ignore the rush of the cars, etc. To me, free space never tells one what is right or wrong, it simply provides the limitless bounds for one to discover what is right or wrong for them.

These photos are from the Monastery in Peosta, IA.

the lonely tree