SOPHIE’S WORDS: Spoken, Written and Sung
I have recently returned from an amazing Space/Time Creative Retreat in Dumfries and Galloway, run by Magnetic North, where myself, four other participants and two facilitators focused on the questions surrounding how we keep ourselves nourished as creative practitioners as we move in to middle age and beyond.
One of the exercises we were encouraged to do took place in a stunning forest, one of the Seven Stanes moutain biking areas run by the forestry commission. We were asked to head off on our own for an hour, and keep to the forefront of our thoughts, a particular question or problem we were ruminating on. We then had to notice what drew our attention, whether it be a sight, sound or smell and turn our full attention to it. Once we felt we had focused on it as deeply as we could, we were then to focus even more deeply, and then deeper still.
We were to use nature as a metaphor to help us solve this question or problem.
I carried my question of ‘ how do I present myself and my work now that I have entered middle age?’ My attention was drawn to a cut tree stump, which had a big chunk of decay. As I looked, I realised that as much as the intact bark and wood held its beauty and solidity, the area of the tree stump that was worn and decayed held much more character, interest and uniqueness. As I looked closer and closer, a whole stunning interior presented itself, which kept getting more incredible as I focused in. Equally stunning were the bits of green life that had set up home on the decay, with new life being sustained from the ageing life.
The clarity this exercise gave me has filled me with excitement for the next phase of my creative life and work.
Thank you to that tree stump and Alice who suggested the exercise.