On Friday night I was hanging out in the backyard with Jasper, taking in all the overgrowth and weeds that have sprung up over the past few weeks when I stumbled across a shell. That’s odd, I thought as I scooped down to pick up the shell. It was a beautiful white shell with a smooth surface and an inward spiral that meets together in a small point, similar to that of a snail. The nearest ocean is an eight hour drive from my house, so I knew that I needed to pay attention to this out-of-place former crustacean home. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the shell was bringing me a message that was hidden inside the pages of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s timeless classic, Gifts from the Sea. I immediately went inside to my bookshelf of favorite authors and turned until I found the chapter with the image of this shell. And there, on page 31, I saw it: The Moon Shell.
From Gifts from the Sea, page 42-44:“Solitude, says the moon shell. Every person, especially every woman, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day… Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone.The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships.”
I mean, ok! That’s a powerful truth bomb and very timely message from a tiny shell found in my backyard. You see, I have been asking the Universe to send me a sign. Since I created the Sisterhood of the Moon, I have been jumping into a pool of faith that I will be shown the next step in my creation. Here it was, Friday night, the eve of the Full Moon and the first live Sisterhood of the Moon celebration. And I found a moon shell in my backyard! A moon shell. In Boise Idaho! Now, you can logic away all the myriad of ways that this shell made its way into my backyard, only to be discovered 8 months after living here, on the eve of the Full Moon, while I was actively asking the Universe to send me a sign about the next step for the Sisterhood of the Moon. The logical circumstances that lead to that shell being in my hands under the above mentioned conditions don’t matter to me. All that matters is that I asked for a sign, and I received one. A really powerful one.
I used to be afraid of being alone. I would dread the face-to-face encounters with my thoughts and I would brace myself for the onslaught of tears. I would put on my headphones and take to the hills for long walks where I could be reminded of the beauty that life beholds, despite the pain that I was moving through. I would roll out my yoga mat and tune in with my body–what did it need today? How could I show it love, one breath and one namaste at a time? Gradually, I began to crave this time alone. How else could I tune in and process all the emotions that were swirling all around me? When else could I read the books and listen to the podcasts that were going to encourage me and cheer me on through my dark night of the soul?
My solitude was at first forced upon me by the decree of the divorce. But now, even when I have my kids at home with me, I seek it out. The solitude is like oxygen to my soul, even if it’s just a precious 5 minutes for meditation or a 30-minute yoga session without having Jasper climb all over me. Or maybe it’s a few hours alone on my weekly artist’s date–my solo excursions that are intended to inspire the creative being inside this body. Sometimes I play: I ride a swing! And sometimes I pray: I sit in a beautiful spot by the river. And sometimes I dream: I peruse funky little shops while shopping with my eyes, not my wallet. The solitude is a beautiful gift to myself, and the message from this little lost shell is that this desire to get in touch with our inner being is something we all need.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes:“She must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today. Quiet time alone, contemplations, prayer, music, a centering line of thought or reading of study or work. It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself. It need not be an enormous project of a great work. But it should be something of one’s own.” (p49 Gifts from the Sea)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sudden momentum of life as we emerge from the last two years of isolation, I encourage you to intentionally seek out some time alone. The difference between isolation and solitude is intention. What is it that you love to do, but never seem to have time for? Prioritize it. YOU MATTER. The state of your soul matters. When we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of others. So again, I ask you, what would you really love to do but never seem to have the time for? What small shifts can you do to make it happen? Do you need the support of a partner or a parent or a friend? Do you need someone to watch your kids for a few hours? Do you need to figure out what it is that you really want in the first place? This may seem selfish, and it is. But you know what? We all need to take care of ourselves and that’s what being selfish really means (please do not confuse selfish with self-centered). How can you intentionally seek out some solitude this week? Like the moon shell, how can you spiral in to listen to your inner voice?
Find the Center
I’ll leave you for now with this beautiful song by Trever Hall called A Reminder. The lyrics repeat “my love is just a reminder, find the center.” That is my hope and prayer for you, for me, for the Sisterhood of the Moon. That we will gaze inward, like the swirly eye of the Moon Shell, to find our center. And from that centered place of being, we can tap into all the abundance of the life we are truly called to live and to enjoy! It is with this spirit of joy, and after a weekend of Full Moon reverie in the form of karaoke, drag shows and dancing, that I am dreaming up new creations, new ways to connect with like-minded spiritual seekers, and new offerings to guide women into rediscovering their authentic selves and the desires of their soul. Stay tuned.
May you find solitude this week, my friend. Start small. Dream big. Share in the comments below about your solo excursions: let us inspire and uplift one another on our journey home to our center.