Wednesday, 9 January 2008

To the Summerhouse, and Sharing

It is a mid-winter's evening and I am off out. I put on a couple of thick warm layers, a scarf and warm hat; gather my sketchpad, pencil case and a torch and begin my walk up the garden path to the summerhouse. I need to be prepared to sit at the top of the garden in our small wooden summerhouse for an hour or so in relatively warm comfort! I light three candles and sit on a cushion and pillow. I have just enough light by which to read, or to write in my journal.

This is a mini pilgrimage I make, not every evening, but whenever I feel the need, usually two or three times a week. As a pilgrimage it involves preparation, a journey and a focus of spirtual intent/desire. I have a path, I have a destination, I have meaning and longing.

It is a special time for me. To sit, away from the sounds of the house and away from the lure of the TV, the computer or my studio. I am can hear the sounds of the townscape around me, but more importantly I can hear, sense and feel the weather. I am outside, touching the wood of the summerhouse, hearing the wind or rain (if there is any) and breathing in fresh air that invigorates.

Sitting away from distraction or, perhaps even more conciously, away from any electrical appliance seems liberating. It focuses the mind upon the page in front of me. Sometimes I might read a book - I believe that some books are just meant to be read outside. More usually I write/pray in my journal which, for me, is the the most fruitful way I can think and express my ideas and thoughts.

All I am doing is going up the garden path to sit in the summerhouse to write. Simple. Yet even a simple action like this is, to me, a source of personal enlightenment and renewal. I feel I am doing something so valuable to my personal journey. It could be my Quiet Time, meditation space, even my altar - whatever words you want to use.

When I mentioned this to Homegroup I am not sure people really understood it or could engage with my way of thinking. I tried to explain it in a sort of thinky, philosophical way, but I didn't seem to carry people with me. I would love to be able to share with people in a respectful, calm, philosophical, 'holy and sacred' sort of way; but a third of the time I struggle to think about the subject in a knowledgeable and wisdomy way, another third trying to vocalise it and another third wondering why I am bothering because much 'spiritual' stuff to me seems an illusion.

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