I learned early in life that being confined to one spot with one pen to one time frame did not produce creative flow within me. My first actual writing experiences occurred at 7 and 8 years old in the forest behind my Tennessee childhood home. There was a pile of discarded Christmas trees under a canopy of tall old pine and maple trees. I would drag a quilt over those to create the softest most exquisite writers haven. My dad’s blue fountain pens would regularly and mysteriously disappear from his study as would second sheets of my mother’s parchment stationary from her desk drawer. With a bag of Oreos in tow, my Junior Writers Retreat was in full swing.
Interestingly enough, today, over 45 years later, after several detours, Cottage in the Woods, my wooded retreat is just a few hundred yards away. The title of our book The Way to Stillness can actually be traced back to the afternoons spent on that quilt 4 decades ago.
If you have read our book, it is obvious to you that our family was certainly not spared its share of chaos and sadness. My little girl way of coping and soothing myself was actually a model for the contemplative tools we offer.
As a child, I would contemplate hour after hour the intricacies of the rings in an ancient tree stump, how acorns once separated made perfect tiny teacups, how green, gold and red leaves were nourished by a perfect system of veins just like my little first hands. Their hands would wave back at me from their lofty perches as if to say, “We’re here, too, right here with you. Isn’t this wonderful?! We have everything we need right here.”
Today that childlike awareness and mindfulness is an internal freedom I guard and treasure. Often a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye along with the inner nudge from my spirit reveals new life truths to me. Just before attempting to participate in this blog (my first ever, by the way J, I was given a surprise gift by a dear friend. You guessed it – a magnificent fountain pen complete with backup blue ink cartridges. So stay tuned for more from the Cottage in the Woods . . .
Anne Alexander Vincent, Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling, is the Owner of Cottage in the Woods, a licensed ministry center of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is completing her PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling through the NCCA. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, she has completed her 8th year of intensive training under Dr Patrick Carnes, PhD as a Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist and with the International Trauma and Addiction Professionals as a Trauma and Addictions Therapist.
You can find Anne online at http://annescottageinthewoods.com/