You can take the monk out of the monastery but you can't take the monasticism out of the monk.
This is a clarity of thought which hit me this morning. Monasticism left an indelible impression on my life. While the monasticism is a friction between me and other people, I realize I like the monastic practices. I don't want to be a normal person. In fact, I never have. Before I was officially in monastic formation, I wanted and had deep urges for the practices.
Simplicity, silence, spiritual study (lectio divina), contemplation (practice of the divine presence), humility, chastity. Something about 4 years of monastic formation made an existential or ontological change in me. I can't escape this.
I think this is why I like working in the harsh conditions of chemical plants, and why the lonliness of the long distance runner appeals to me.
Excessive consumption, opulence, luxury bug me. And so I am in the throes of friction. No, I don't want to attend the Christmas party. I am truly against Christmas and I don't want to participate; yet, it still touches me and effects me.
I cherish my sobriety. Why anyone would touch as much as one drop of alcohol is beyond me; but I suppose people don't know how this changes their spiritual connection. Above all else, I cherish my spiritual connection.