A ‘Sketchy’ New Year Retreat: Part Three


‘Your Magnificence Is Bigger Than The Frame – Artist inspired by Angelica Kauffman’


The last full day on retreat was the most beautiful one.

I spent some time in the library sketching the picture above.

The painting I was copying from is said to be a copy of a painting by Angelica Kauffman, one of the female founding members of the Royal Academy in London. 

For some reason as I sketched it, the whole thing became bigger than the frame I’d sketched to contain it.

I guess this can be a metaphor for what my heart did on this retreat – it opened up again after a year that tried to shut it down.

I came on this retreat with a heart contained.

Things had hurt, and I’d learnt how to protect myself and guard my feelings dear.

On these six days, my heart expanded again. It let itself out.



‘Big Tree – A View From The Music Room At Sharpham’


The picture above is my favorite of all I sketched.

It captures the essence of the joy I was feeling.

The Tree just felt happy and I felt happy too!



‘Doorways – Meditation Room At Sharpham’


The last full day is a always a time on retreat where our minds start to think about our normal lives again.

We wonder about all that is waiting for us at home, what we may have missed.

The change in pace of  returning to our town or city after  spending almost a week in such peaceful surroundings can bring about a lot of anxiety.

I copied the the picture above from a painting in the Meditation Room, I also included the doorway beneath it.

It felt like a portal from one world to another. 

Our worlds in that room were our inner worlds, the next day we would be entering into the outer world.

Meditation is a doorway in itself.





So what did I learn on this retreat?

I learnt the importance of playfulness and creativity.

I went back to the simple things that had given me joy as a child, drawing, coloring, reading.

I did things with no specific goal in mind, just because I wanted to. It was really special.

I observed how much less I felt consumed by worries and anxieties than on previous retreats,  and how easy it was to settle into the present moment and become an observer of my thoughts and feelings.

I experienced significant breakthroughs in understanding through what felt like no effort at all.

On this retreat, I felt like I took my first steps towards really knowing how to just be. (Hint: it’s harder than it sounds!)

I had the most amazing New Year retreat, and I am ready for 2020.


Much love Txx