Last weekend I headed out to Adams County for a retreat with a few women from my Creative Juice group. The goal of the retreat was to get away with other amazing, creative women and to create, sleep in, hike, cook, and connect. We did all that and more!
Our first project was a collaborative stop-motion video. Michelle is a talented singer songwriter and we used the lyrics from her song "When a Flower Meets a Butterfly" to make a video. Margot downloaded an app that allowed her phone to automatically take a photo every fifteen seconds so we had to work quickly between shots. We are still editing the video but below you can see a still from the project. I will link it up when it is done.
On our hikes we all collected various items that caught our eye. As you can see below Margot collected foliage for a beautiful flower arrangement.
We also collected a datura pod which I thought looked perfect on these bottles. The house where we stayed had all sorts of vintage bottles and antiques to hold our collections (Thank you Mal & Jen!).
One day we ventured out to an amazing antique barn off Tater Ridge Road. The owner, Herb Erwin, collects millstones which I am madly in love with; but to my dismay he won't sell them. I should have taken more photos of his giant warehouse full of antiques, but I was too busy oohing and aahing over everything.
I also kept coming across incredible textures like the ones shown below. I thought the patterns on this rusty barrel were beautiful. I am never disappointed when I stop and look closely at things.
Although the creative part of the weekend is fun, my favorite part is connecting with other creative women. At times I am so in awe of their beauty it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. There were also times when the connection was so palpable that it made my heart soar. There were tears, uncontrollable laughter, mysterious dreams, heartfelt stories, and food made with such care you could taste the love. When I got home I was exhausted but so filled with gratitude for the time I spent with these women.
"To be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel. The pattern of our lives is essentially circular. We must be open to all points of the compass: husband, children, friends, home, community; stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spider's web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives. How much we need, and how arduous of attainment is that steadiness preached in all rules for holy living. How desirable and how distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist, or saint -- the inner inviolable core, the single eye.
With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls -- woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.
What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible, I cannot shed my responsiblities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life. I can at least practice for these two weeks the simplification of outward life, as a beginning."
-- From ''Gift From the Sea''by Anne Morrow Lindbergh