What Are the Necessary Structures in Your Life?

It’s 6:30 am.  I’m on Whidbey Island attending the board retreat for The Circle Way. I arrived a few days early to circle up with and settle into my island friendships.

Stories of inspired travels and its lessons gleaned invited in to send off dear friends on what we each know will be one of life’s momentous journeys.

Kitchen tips about good cookware and the uses of oils passed on as we prepped for our communal stir fry.

Beach walking and eagle gazing.

Seashell and stone gathering. I settled on a hefty, smooth and flat stone that fits between, as if made for my palms, notched to hold my thumbs, the perfect prayer stone.

Breathing in the sounds and colours of a spring yet to bloom at home – robins singing, golden forsythia and daffodils, pink plum and white apple blossoms, coral and indigo hyacinth, red tulips, green grass. The rain-soaked ground smells as good as the morning’s fresh brewed coffee. Even this signature Pacific Northwest sodden grey backdrop holds appeal as a contrast to the vividly awakening palette.


A late night chat with a friend over a dram of local single malt watered my languishing inner writer. “How’s the writing coming?” he inquired with a genuine need to know, we, having shared during past meetings our curiosity with and commitment to this craft. I admitted to not having written for several months. Revealed to having fallen into the half empty glass of doubt despite hearing, from a trusted and established writer friend, how delightful, fresh and worthy of continued effort my initial foray. Disappointed as my naïve hope that I was almost finished with this first manuscript was a just beginning. Full of excuses and explanations none of which I shared, knowing none of which held substance.

“Just write,” I knew deep inside to be the only way out of the confines of the glass and into creativity’s life-giving stream.

And so, after hearing my friend share for the second time in as many days, the value for him of writing four days a week, every week, to putting into words what he notices as his offering to the world, his recognition that it is a practice that helps him feel good, my inner writer woke me this morning at 5:30 to write.


As a board, we work in circle, and start every retreat, after our first dinner, with a fulsome check-in. We each received a post card created by photographer Carla Kimbell from her Revealed Presence collection to focus our reflection and words. Mine was a summer photo of farm buildings – grain silos, an iconic red wooden, tin roofed barn and a Quonset – easy to imagine seeing anywhere a few miles away from my home on the Canadian prairies. Titled Layers of Curves on a Farm, it posed the question, “What are the necessary structures in your life?”

An invitation to notice.

A resurrected commitment to write.

4 thoughts on “What Are the Necessary Structures in Your Life?

  1. Beautiful descriptive writing Katharine. So glad you’ve picked up your pen again!

    Love and encouragement from your writing sister,

    Glenda Goodrich
    Mixed Media Artist and SoulCollage Facilitator http://www.glendagoodrich.com
    “Let the beauty we love be what we do” Rumi


  2. I’ve spent time on WI with the Navy, never for personal reasons. My favorite moment on WI came one sunset as I sat on Mount Airy looking over Campbell Lake. The solitude was broken for 15 -20 minutes or so when a church group arrived and scrambled around before leaving as noisily as they arrived. Quiet settled over the mountain again and I continued my introspection. A little while later, probably only a few minutes, I heard someone approach from behind. I never saw them because I didn’t turn around. But they began playing Amazing Grace on bagpipes. It wasn’t the greatest rendition I’ve heard, but it was the most beautiful. I was alone with my thoughts, a beautiful landscape at sunset, and a beautiful hymn. It really was the most amazing thing. I have to admit it made me emotional. I’m going to have to write about this 🙂
    Thank you for the writing nudge.


  3. A timely post for me as I have ‘shelved’ my own writing recently. You have lit the creative spark necessary for me to get organized and schedule my time more efficiently! Thank you!


  4. A timely post for me. I, too, have neglected my writing lately. You have inspired me to get organized and schedule my time better, so that I can get back at it. Thank you, and enjoy your time away!



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