Sunday, October 14, 2007

Congregating, without technology

The above print is by the artist Nikki McClure. I have reproduced it here with her permission. She creates her pictures by cutting from paper with an x-acto knife. Amazing. I have her calendar and each print in it has been powerful. But this one really struck me on a personal level because of the timing. It is the October picture and this is the month when I will be congregating, in just this way - taking my shoes off as I enter the building where I'll be for a week, gleaning wisdom and community from wise friends and spiritual teachers in Montana. No phones or computers or television. Just working alongside inspiring people and getting back to the reality that comes from sitting on a pillow for hours.

I know I just said that I am hoping to help Nicolas find more fun and less work this year, and leaving him alone here with the kids and the farm for a week seems like a strange way to start. I know. It does to me as well. But this opportunity was given to me as a gift (free flight) and I hope to return more grounded in service to both he and the boys. That's usually what happens when I go to this place. Plus, I get to see my sister. That's reason enough for this journey.

When I first looked at the above picture, on my calendar, I didn't see it as being about people congregating without their shoes in a sacred space. I saw shoes, in rows, and thought - Nikki McClure loves shoes as much as I do (not that I get to fully act on this love) and has celebrated the sight of them congregating together. I have no idea what she really meant, but I doubt it was that. I saw the deeper meaning when the picture spurred a memory of my last trip to Montana, when I was going through security at the airport in order to fly home. After taking off my shoes for such long periods of time for several days, I was used to just leaving them behind once they were off. So I did just that. I picked up my purse from the conveyor belt and walked towards my gate, shoe-less and without a clue.

I look forward to re-congregating here a week from Tuesday. Nicolas said that he may come through with a post or two here while I am gone. Wouldn't that be fun?


Sara said...

Sounds heavenly! Enjoy.

Angie said...

Have a wonderful trip - I'm envious! We look forward to hearing about it when you return.

Rachel said...

What I want to know is, did you go back for the shoes, or did you wander all the way to your gate with no shoes? Did some TSA person score a great pair of shoes that day? And can you even go shoeless through the airport? You CAN'T go shoeless through the cafeteria at Blue Ridge Center, that I know for sure. :)

dharmamama said...

Blessings on your inward journey! I agree - this week will ultimately help Nicolas with that goal; it's an investment! I *knew* there were reasons I was attracted to you! LOL
gassho ~

mindy said...

I just saw a Nikki McClure print at our local organic bakery. I love these connections! Have a great trip.

Blogging Molly said...

enjoy your shoeless retreat. beautiful picture - thanks for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Madeline -
This inspired me so much!
This posting has sent me into a place that I need to be.
THanks so much - and have a wonderful time.
Steph in SLC