Discernment is done daily, not only in monastic formation, but beyond. It is extremely important on those days when prayer does not seem to flow, when I don't want to do the Offices or lectio divina. Yup, monks and nuns sometimes get like that; surprise: we're human too!
Being part of a nontraditional community brings many of the same questions about the monastic life, yet some different ones as well. I live in the world and that changes the dynamic quite a bit, causing focus on other concerns traditional monks and nuns simply don't face. And what of vows?
All vows flow from those made at Baptism. Religious life of any form is simply a more one-pointed focus of those vows, no better, no worse. It does not guarantee holiness, though, sadly, some Religious would like to think it does. Monastic men and women are simply no different than anyone else striving for transformation, but our lives are called to witness to this. So, then, why bother, if we're all called to live out our Baptismal vows, why do this?
Simply, because, ultimately, it's not up to me. For whatever reason, the Beloved calls me to this life of witness as a hermit-monk. Ironic, that, since it is a call rooted in hiddeness, but that doesn't take away from whatever God chooses to do through that, often without my awareness.
Thankfully, I have a mentor in the Community of Solitude, who walks this journey with me, as well as a spiritual friend and mentor, who has been a hermit for over thirty years. They do not tell me what I want to hear, but, rather, serve as mirrors and reflect back to me where I am. I have also been blessed with my brothers and sisters in community, as well as other Religious who share their experiences. For all of them, I am grateful.
So, when it comes time to petition to make Profession, will I do it? I have no idea, since today's what's important.