This season is a time of quiet and inward meditative movement, letting go of what no longer serves us, reflecting on the quality of our lives and what nourishes and provides meaning.
In this season, the High Holidays of the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah, the New Year and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement (I’ve always preferred to call it the day of attunement), we engage in Teshuva, a practice of inward reflection that literally translates as return.
This is a time for examination an opportunity to explore the unintegrated, chaotic aspects of self to come back into right relationship with all facets of our life, our own practices, and our relationship with others. From the negative dark spaces of our soul, a place that is far too easy to dwell, we find the seeds of rich creative inspiration and passion to create something new and meaningful.
Autumn is also the season for all of us to stop and reflect on what is most alive and beautiful. The power and rich potential of the darkness opens us to creative vitality that longs to be expressed.
As I reflect on this, I am reminded of a beautiful practice that we learned from Kay Ortman, the creator of Well Springs who passed on many years ago. She taught us to create with chalks and paper, listening to classical compositions like Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a beautiful piece of music, chalk in hand, natural inspiration flows forth onto the blank white paper. The music evokes the muse, the mind gets out of the way and a natural creative flow unfolds. We’ve used this exercise with students in the past, many who had never drawn or painted, found this simple exercise brought forth exquisite compositions.
Of relevance to this conversation, the creation of art from a place of despair is a story shared with us by our guide in Reykjavik. We visited Perlan, a museum, located on the highest hill in Reykjavik, with a beautiful glass dome at the top, surrounded by forest. The museum is built on top of six water tanks that store millions of liters of Reykjavík's hot water. Like many places we visited, public art is an integral part of the landscape.
We were quite interested in a sculpture called Dance, which is a grouping of four bronze statues, about two meters tall, outside Perlan. Created in 1970, by the artist, Þorbjörg Pálsdóttir (1919-2009), she gifted it to the city of Reykjavík in 1995. The artwork is described as demonstrating fun, dance, and music, a time of coming together. As I looked at the sculpture I was struck by the head and chest being hollow. While it’s meant to depict happiness there was something missing.
When we returned to the bus our guide revealed that the artist was his mother. He shared a personal story of his mother’s deep depression throughout her life. Usable to carry a child to term, she suffered multiple miscarriages, he was adopted. As we explored Reykjavik we discovered more work by the artist, and in all instances the sculptures were quite striking, and the heads and chests were hollow. From great darkness and despair, came great art, reflective of the beauty that can arise from internal chaos.
What inspires you to create beauty? Looking outward, it is far too easy to allow the grief and despair of autumn to weigh down our hearts. Do you have a meditative practice, be it art, music a walk in nature that opens you to flow with the potential that this season brings forth?
Here at the Mothership, we see the signs of Autumn. An abundance of sunflowers, and the trees have just begun to turn. The beds in the outside garden have been rototilled and prepared for the planting of the Fall garlic crop. The growing dome took a serious hit from a hailstorm this summer and all the panels will need to be replaced, hopefully at the end of October, if the weather allows. However, the conversion to winter hardy plants is already well underway.
Donna and I are adding more art to the paths that we walk on our land. Placing metal works of art in the forested acres. We have plans to bring more art into the forest, since the art installation in the growing dome had to be removed (to install new panels) we have identified places to reinstall it along the trails we walk on our land.
Donna has also been working on a new poetry collection, inspired by the numerous Elk on our land. (We share one with you in this newsletter). I am slowly returning to my photography, a long-time passion, as we have been able to take some of the trips that were cancelled during Covid. I’ve had my camera in hand a great deal over these last few months.
During this season of Autumn, as we reside in the time of the Metal element, may you find rich opportunities for deep reflection and creation.