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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

Resting Well

I’m making soup using carrots and parsley that have come in a veg box that a friend shares with me. While the beautiful locally grown produce simmers away on the stove, I thought it a good moment to scribble down a few words….

It has been some time since I sat down to write a blog. This reflects the fullness of my days this summer, hosting guests at the castle and doing various other tasks, alongside some travel. Now that space has opened up in my mind, and physically too, I’m shifting gears to a more reflective and creative time, encouraged by recent encounters and new plus renewed friendships. While there has been a lot of ‘emptying or pouring out’, so to speak, after some rest my cup feels full; I’m ready to tackle and embrace other things. Funny how that happens.

The word ‘rest’ has come up a few times in conversation and correspondence lately. Just now I received two different emails including this word….

My friend ended her message with: ‘Hope everyone well, and creating - in whatever way, even creative restfulness ;)’

Another friend wrote of taking time and stepping into the space of rest as a gift and precondition for work. He quoted author, George MacDonald, from his book Lilith, where the character Mr. Raven and his wife teach the protagonist that grace comes before righteousness – that we must receive rest before we can do the work that is ours to do:

"Let me first go home," I resumed, " and come again after I have found or made, invented, or at least discovered something!"

"He has not yet learned that the day begins with sleep!" said the woman, turning to her husband. "Tell him he must rest before he can do anything!"

"Men," he answered, "think so much of having done, that they fall asleep upon it.”

I’ve had to learn to carve out these times of rest lately. I notice that I need them more often.

And I know that in order to be creative and to have any kind of steady original output, we need to rest, and rest well.

Today I woke early and went down to the beach. The morning autumn sun was coming up, round and luminous, bright orange against a pale blue sky. It was high tide so instead of making my way along the coast as I usually do, I sat up on the hill overlooking the bay, the large castle wall blocking some of the wind which was gradually picking up. I poured a small coffee from my thermos and started to draw what was in front of me. In this instance it happened to be the rusty stems of dock plants, and the grasses waving in the wind.

I only had a 2B pencil with me, and a woodless pencil which I imagine is 6B. It was wonderful to sit and draw, to have an element of nature to concentrate on, even just for 10 minutes.

Once I started, I became immersed and focused on that one thing, and my brain was able to rest (that word again) from all other noise that can muddle the mind. Through this simple process came clarity of thought.

On my return to the studio, I felt lighter.

The sketch is nothing mind-blowing, but I have decided that I will try to draw something every day. This will be an extra layer (a meta-layer) that runs alongside my studio work, bringing a different perspective and energy for the ‘larger’ projects I plan to embark on.

I don’t find it easy to set myself up in this way (ie. publicly) for fear of failure, but you’ve now read it - and I plan to be back tomorrow with a new drawing. :)


My shared vegetable box comes from the local farm 'Midgey Bites'. You can check out their website here, and they regularly post updates on Facebook too.

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