I enjoyed a lovely walk on the beach this morning at low tide. The weather was overcast and cool, perfect for a quiet stroll. When the tide is out on this beach, there is an outcropping of large seaweed and barnacle covered rocks that stand sentry before the shore. At high tide, there is absolutely no evidence that these solid giants exist below the waves. They remind me that we all have hidden parts of ourselves that dwell below our surface. These secret parts may remain unknown throughout our lives, or perhaps, they may be revealed when the rhythms of time encourage us to draw back our surface protection and expose what lies in our depths.
I collected a few leaves, feathers, rocks, shells, and foliage on my walk. I think of these things as "gifts of the sea". I'm always tempted to bring them home, but now that I'm practicing "tiny house living" I decided to take pleasure from them in their natural habitat then leave them for someone else to enjoy.
We concluded the retreat today. The time passed so quickly! I love seeing the creativity of others who attend this weekend. Each person's work reveals a little bit about their inner world, a little of what lies below their surface.
At the end of the session, each artist hangs their body of work and the other participants collectively pay homage to their creative process by responding to the work with one-word comments expressing how the art makes them feel, or what the art evokes for them. One of the participants records the comments on a beautiful handmade card for the artist to take home. Most of us have little or no experience receiving compliments, positive feedback, or words of encouragement, especially about something as vulnerable as our art. For the artist, this process the most challenging of the weekend, but is also by far the most powerful. Although I have experienced this process each of the five times I've attended the retreat, it is still as powerful now as it was the first time. Their comments help me to uncover a bit of what lies beneath my awareness, below my surface, in my own depths. I am so grateful for their tender loving care.