River Stone: Flaws, Inspiration and Friendship
Each year for the past six years, I have taught and attended workshops at the West of the Moon Creative Retreat in New Harmony, Indiana. New Harmony is a wonderful town with unique shops, a lovely inn, restaurants and a beautiful granite labyrinth. The population of this little town is less than 800 people and the town seems to encourage creativity. I love being a part of this workshop and going to this town each June. I was so disappointed this year that we had to cancel the retreat due to COVID19. I am already looking forward to next year. Today I sat at my desk thinking about what I wanted to blog about. Anytime, I struggle with a topic I pick up the black river rock sitting at on my desk. Today I held the rock and pondered what to write and I began thinking about the magic I feel when I hold this stone. I decided to tell you all about my inspiration stone.
Two years ago, I sat in a labyrinth workshop presented by Terry Price. At the end of the workshop, he passed around a bag and had us pull out two river stones. Some of the attendees took their time feeling around in the bag, searching for the perfect stone. I reached in and pulled out two stones quickly without thinking about it.
River Stone #1
Pretty, black, shiny with a groove right down the middle and scars around the edges. These imperfections remind me, as I hold it, that it isn’t perfect … just as I am not perfect. It has an indention where my thumb fits perfectly.
River Stone #2
Far less perfect, striations in the gray-black rock, ridges, bumps on the surface and it doesn’t fit in my hand. It is filled with flaws.
Two stones I chose at a writing retreat. One to keep for inspiration and one to let go.
I examined both of them. Which one would I keep for inspiration and which one would l leave to find the next year when I returned?
My first thought is to keep the one with the most flaws. That’s what I do. I look for beauty and uniqueness in things and in people that are scarred, broken and imperfect. I want to see their beauty. The first stone fit into my hand perfectly. I struggled with wanting to keep the stone that was not as perfect…just because it was not as perfect. I sat with the stones and held them each in my hand. I chose to keep the more perfect of the two because it fit. The other stone was going to be hidden in New Harmony to absorb the energy of this wonderful town and I would find it the following year and take it home with me.
The New Harmony Inn has golf carts for their guests to rent so they can quickly scoot around town. My friend Erin and I rented a golf cart and took our stones to hide. We had a blast driving up and down the streets looking for the perfect place to hide our stones. We looked forward to finding them the following year, so we needed a good place to hide the stones. Erin hid hers on the opposite side of the lake near a little church. I hide mine beside a sculpture near an old barn.
Last year when we returned for the retreat we went to search for our stones. We rented a cart, Erin drove straight to where she had hidden her the year before. It was there waiting for her. We drove to the place I had hidden mine. We searched and searched. It was nowhere to be found. I was disappointed. I had planned to take this second stone and use it to help inspire me to work on my book about body image. It was imperfect. It was flawed. It was still worthy. Just like me.
I told Erin that I was sure someone else had found it and it was inspiring them. Erin said, “I want you to take my stone home with you…the one that has been here waiting for us to come back”. I told her I could not take her stone. Erin, of course, insisted.
I have had her stone in the change compartment of my wallet for over a year now.
I see it each time I open my wallet.
I think about writing.
I think about friendship.
I think about giving.
I think about how perfect we all are with our many flaws. Who decided what beauty is? Who decided what was perfect and what was a flaw? I love my flaws; they make me who I am.