Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lindbergh: The Moon Shell

We fill our lives “with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen.” —Anne Morrow Lindbergh

As I’m reading “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, I’m continuously reminded how our lives haven’t changed much since 1955.

The music and the chatter continue on, multiplied a thousand times. We seem to have continuous companionship, but how many “real” friends do we actually have?

Lindbergh’s lesson from the moon shell she picked up on the beach is solitude. The need to get away and be alone, even for just a few minutes, and how important that is.

I was talking to a friend about the appeal of going on a retreat and had she ever considered it?

She had, “but I have my studio here and all my supplies, so why would I want to pack all that up to make my art somewhere else?” Good point.

I think the benefit of a retreat is, as the moon shell suggests, solitude. No family interaction, no distractions, freedom from household chores, from noise, from domestic responsibilities.

Unlike me, my friend has a large family all living under the same roof, including young adults. Talk about noise and distractions! But maybe it’s those very distractions that go into making her art. Maybe without them, she might not be as prolific. Perhaps those seemingly mundane chores keep her grounded, keep her balanced. Maybe they're not distractions at all. Maybe they make her art better.

For me, a person whose only distractions are a loving spouse and a cranky cat, a retreat still sounds exquisite! To be alone, creating, sleeping, and eating and exploring whenever, sounds incredibly decadent, incredibly appealing.

The previous chapter in this book, a chapter called “The Channeled Whelk,” talked about simplification.

If I want to simplify AND have solitude, what do I need a retreat for? To simplify I need to make do with what I have, to appreciate what I have rather than accumulating more. A retreat would be just another acquisition, don’t you think?

I can easily create my own retreat here on the Oregon coast. Leave in the morning. Do whatever I wish. Then come home whenever I wish in the evening. Okay. I’ll give it a go sometime next month. I’ll let you know the results.

In the meantime, I’m just going to stare at this moon shell. . .

©Carol Leigh

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