I just returned from England where I saw a friend who was visiting from North America. We met in the Wirral, a beautiful peninsula in the northwest of the country, looking out towards Wales.
The time was full of conversation and catch up, warmth and laughter. We touched on deeper things that would have needed more days to unearth, but it was a window into my friend’s life and a mirror to my own, a marker in the journey of friendship.
On the return trek to the north, I recognised new thoughts and insights that came to mind which I had not considered before. They were gentle realisations about myself, my work, relationships, which all become part of the tapestry towards growth. In the passage of miles, I was able to discard the things that had been previously unhelpful, replacing any weighty thoughts with a revived outlook.
Initially I was not sure about managing the trip south. I had just started back in the studio and was on the cusp of reaching momentum with some creative plans. This trip, I thought, might be a big interruption to that process. And it was. But interruptions are not always to be frowned upon.
I made the decision to go, and I don’t regret that at all. The opportunity to meet my friend, with many subjects to talk about, drew me more than staying in the north.
Stepping away from our regular every day environment, if we have the opportunity to do so, can be a true gift and breath of fresh air that we never knew we needed. It could be a short outing which involves exploring a different beach or path up the road, or perhaps it is a more involved trip like mine was. In any event, time away brings new perspective and growth, shedding light on our lives and on the ways we might approach what we do, how we are.
Nearing the middle of Scotland we passed through the beautiful and bulky Cairngorm mountains, part of the trip north that I always love. I had my camera ready. Snow must have fallen when I was away, giving the swells of land distinct shape and a more simplified palette than usual. I looked at the hills with wide eyes and an open mind, breathing in the cool fresh air while driving past.
What might open up our minds? What are the necessary things to discard that can crowd out life-giving space in our lives? It could be regret, or lack of forgiveness. Worry. Fixations. Self-doubts.
Gaining fresh perspective helps open the way to other possibilities. New roads of revelation can uncover aspects of our thoughts that are unhelpful, allowing room for love which rejoices in the truth - it always hopes, always perseveres, and keeps no record of wrongs, in ourselves or others. (I Corinthians 13)
Maybe we need to pause and breathe in the sea air for a little while - to clear the cobwebs of doubt or self-obsession; to get out and recognise the bounty of good things. It is through gaining new perspective and remaining open to the love- and life-giving things in this world that allows us to approach our work and other people with greater clarity.
Delight becomes pictorial
by Emily Dickinson
Delight becomes pictorial When viewed through pain, — More fair, because impossible That any gain.
The mountain at a given distance In amber lies; Approached, the amber flits a little, — And that's the skies!