Nature and silence as a way to begin

After numerous online meetings over the last few months, we were delighted to be offered by Lila Greene and the Eeg Cowles Foundation a one-week residence in Blénac to work on designing a first draft of the book.
To our surprise the residence, a charmingly furnished gite with an enormous garden and a small studio, was located between endless fields and forests in complete seclusion. But very soon after our arrival we knew intuitively that this was the perfect place to immerse ourselves in our project.

The unbroken silence of nature, which made the wind, rain, scents, birdsong and insect flight so vivid and present, was more powerful for me in this place than I had experienced anywhere else before.
We didn't hear any sounds of human civilisation for days: apart from the garbage collection on one morning there was not a single car, no aeroplane, no radio, no TV,....

Experiencing this silence of nature for several days calmed my thoughts and created a palpable sense of tranquillity in my body that I could sink into.
The silence became a space that invited me – similar to the poetic imagery in SRT - to enter a relaxed state of heightened awareness, a place where I could listen inwards as well as outwards almost like in the watchful state. A place where began to feel so clearly interconnected to everything around me: the clouds drifting along the sky, the casting sunlight on a flower, the wet green grass beneath my feet, the quivering frogs in the little pool, the setting sun, etc. By noticing their movement, rhythm, sounds and energy …. I became part of a larger whole.

I had to think of Joan who had said: “…I feel we are part of nature, we are just another aspect of it (…). And that is why I think nature images are so important in that technique...”

Supported by the contemplative scenery of nature we worked in a thorough and productive way.
In the course of the week we developed a ‚skeleton‘ for the booklet, which provides a solid basis for the next steps to come in the following months.

A warm thank you to Lila Greene for her generosity and for having hosted us and our work at her magic place. We couldn't have wished for a better start for our project.

Photo: Bettina Neuhaus

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