A Poustinia is a place apart...
This Russian word for desert signifies a quiet, lonely place; or a little cabin in the woods. It is a secluded space where we can hear God and where we can experience the peace of God.
We live in a noisy world. There is clamor, uproar, unrest and busyness everywhere. If there is one place we can go to help rectify the defects we suffer from living busy, chaotic lives where every thing seems urgent and important, it is the Poustinia.
No one dwells forever in the Poustinia, but we can learn to visit there—to stay for a while untethered to the world and apart from the unceasing demands we face by being tied to emails, meetings, to-do lists and even the people we love and work with.
The Poustinia is not a change of place or pace. It is a holy space where one takes off their shoes of hurry and scurry and enters another time altogether. This is the time of encounter. This is the time of being alone or all-one. This is the space to listen. This is the space to be—not do.
Catherine Doherty says in her book Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer, “Sometimes we are so exhausted mentally, morally and physically that we can’t do much of anything. Going into the poustinia we just flop down. Well, to sleep in the arms of Christ is a pretty good idea. You don’t have to do anything.”
In the Poustinia, you are not wired—for there is no electricity. In the Poustinia, you go alone—for you anticipate that Jesus is there waiting for you. In the Poustinia, you take no book but the Bible for within these pages is everything we need. In the Poustinia your only companion is Jesus. There is one bed; one table; one chair and a simple space for you to truly be by yourself and with Jesus.
It was Jesus, himself who said these words: “Here’s what I want you to do. Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matthew 6:6, MSG)
The Poustinia at Potter’s Inn at Aspen Ridge is a symbolic place to help us learn to build an inner poustinia. We can take it with us to the marketplace and into our churches. In the physical Poustinia, we learn to build that sacred, inner space within us where we can go at any time no matter where we are. The pilgrimage to the physical Poustinia is symbolic of the interior journey we all must take to experience the love and peace of God.
Guidelines For Using the Poustinia
- A reservation must be made in advance through the form below. The cost is $25 for day use or $40 for an overnight stay. A maximum stay of two days and two nights can be reserved. During the months of November – May, we only offer day-use because of low temperatures at night. The wood stoves is small and requires tending every two hours.
- Only one person can use the Poustinia at a time. If you want a friend or spouse to accompany you, then please reserve a cabin or room in our lodge.
- Park your car at the Inn and walk the Prayer Trail up to the Poustinia which is beyond the Confession Bench. Prayer Trail guides are available at the Rec Shed opposite the water wheel. You pack in and pack out. Please leave your all electronics in your car.
- Bring 1 gallon of water for drinking and to make tea; perhaps bring a light snack or meal. But be aware the Poustinia has no facilities for food preparation other than a kettle on the wood stove. Bring your own mug and condiments and anything else you want or need. You may desire to fast.
- Please bring slippers and take your shoes off when inside.
- There is a port-a-potty nearby the Poustinia for your use.
- We provide firewood and paper along with matches to use the wood stove. Instructions on the use of the stove are inside the Poustinia. Please note the wood stove is small and will only stay warm for a couple hours. If you plan to spend the night, expect that you may need to get up every couple hours to stoke the stove or bring appropriate bedding for a cool cabin through the early morning hours.
- You may meet with Potter’s Inn staff for Spiritual Direction or Soul Care while using the Poustinia. Please make prior arrangements.
- For overnight stays or if you plan on taking a nap, please bring your own bedding or sleeping bag and pillowcase to use on the extra long twin bed. We provide a pillow but no sheets or pillowcase. If you would like to rent bedding for $10 per day please indicate when you reserve the Poustinia.
- When you depart, pack all your belongings. Leave nothing behind. Please sweep the floor and the deck as you leave so it is ready for the next person. There is no guest book to sign. Return to your car and go in God’s peace.
We pray that you will experience the peace of God, the love of Jesus and the companionship of the Holy Spirit while you are here.
To reserve your time in the Poustinia Cabin, please call our Reservations Manager at (719)306-5946 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.