A shell, a green leaf, and a mandala

by | Aug 26, 2013 | Uncategorized | 21 comments

 Trays of delicious food are brought to my room at meal-times, and I sit and eat in the quiet, gazing out to sea. This is such a treat, and a special part of this re-treat that I’ve given myself.

 I have the space to write a hand-written letter to my friend, and to sit and draw,

to wander by the sea and soak up the late winter sun,

 and to play in the sand once more. The piece I carve into the ironsand is called ‘Journey back home to myself.’

 The journey takes me over dry leaves

 and into the greening centre.

My centre isn’t yet greening. I’m still sleeping a lot. But I’m also taking in the freshness of the ocean with my daily walks. My body is being nourished by the lovingly prepared food,

and the perfect book was waiting for me on the bookshelf. Joan Anderson, ten years on from her ‘Year by the Sea’ when she took time out for solitary reflection, found herself losing the very treasure that she had found. Selling and publicising her book, which became a best-seller, and doing the same for the sequel, running workshops, travelling coast to coast, all took their toll. ‘The Second Journey’ is the story of how she took stock after her doctor, friends and family all expressed their concern at the consequences of her roller-coaster lifestyle.
What resonance! For me, the costs have not been so extreme; however I’m feeling the burden of trying to run a business selling my books (8 now, one out of print), running a psychotherapy practice, offering service through my spiritual community, and much more. With the seeds of a new creative project thrusting up, sprouting away and demanding attention, I realised that ‘something’s gotta give.’
Joan Anderson ended up travelling to the Scottish Isle of Iona. My journey has been less dramatic; just an hour’s drive from the city. And here I’m finding the pathway back home to myself. I draw a mandala  to harness the yearning.

Finding the sacred centre. It’s only here that the well can fill up once more.


  1. Vicki Lane

    Beautiful — I especially like the sand spiral.

    After turning out 6 novels in 7 years, I have been on a bit of a sabbatical, going back to the simple life that my novels grew from. It’s been a joy.

  2. juliet

    Vicki, it sounds as if you know exactly what I’m talking about! 6 novels in 7 years, that’s a lot. How wonderful that you’ve had the wisdom to return to the simple life. Thank you, this is so encouraging.

  3. growMama

    So glad you are taking the time for you. Coming back to your self. There is no hurry. It takes the time it takes. If you feel like reaching out…you can contact me through my blog, or you might still have my email address…company, or a drop off of wonderful reading material, soup or cake? Much love to you. xx

  4. juliet

    Anissa, what lovely offers; thank you so much. I am now back home however. I thought of you as I walked the beach. Another time, I’d love to make contact when I’m out there (this time my throat was affected by a virus; I still can’t talk much).

  5. Marja

    Belated Happy birthday. I have several blogging friends with their birthday on or around mine Isn’t that special.
    About your post I know the feeling of attending to so many things and retreating from all this is so essential to renew and refresh your soul. Your creativity is inspiring and I think helps as well to find a peaceful place

  6. juliet

    Marja, thank you for your birthday wishes. Yes, finding peace is essential for creativity to spring forth. You understand this so well.

  7. Hotly Spiced

    The food on the tray looks really fresh and nourishing. I can’t believe the colour of the sand. I’d forgotten that the big difference between NZ and Australian beaches is the colour of the sand. I’m glad to hear you’re having a lovely time of restoration. Enjoy it while it lasts xx

  8. juliet

    Charlie, the food was all gluten and dairy free, and delicious! Yes, the sand is so different on our west coast, but on the east coast it’s like yours.

  9. Penny O'Neill

    While I cannot take a retreat right now, I am feeling such a sense of peace and inner refreshment reading of yours, Juliet. Returning to one’s center can sometimes take a bit of work, at first, can’t it? I hope your throat is healing along with your renewed spirit.

  10. juliet

    Penny, how nice that we are on line at the same time. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to share in the retreat with me. I’m back home now, but still in retreat as I’ve lost my voice again. My spirit has revived, but my body still needs lots of rest.

  11. cecilia buyswheeler gunther

    Oh Thank God I found you again, i was all a’flutter! But how magnificent.. a retreat.. hmm.. and by the sea. aren’t we funny how we find ourselves running into those spirals the wrong way.. glad and not surprised that you are working your way back out too.. i hope your virus is contained. You are such a beautiful woman with deep calm intelligent questioning qualities that i aspire to .. look after yourself.. c

  12. juliet

    * Celi, thank you for your kind remarks. I’m so glad you found your way back here! and that you could dip into my retreat for a while, in the midst of your full-on farming.

  13. Anne Ruffell

    Having had to slow my hectic lifestyle through necessity even though it was creative activity has made me realise how enjoyable and healing reflective rest is. I have listened to music, read books, looked at letters written to me when I was at school and made notes for enough future projects to keep me going forever! I love your sand projects and the beautiful drawing of the shell – it looks like a pipi and that brought back happy memories of family holidays at Oneroa on Waiheke when we used to dig them up on the shoreline for tea. I do hope the throat virus clears soon so you can get back to the choir.

  14. juliet

    Anne, we seem to be in a similar rhythm right now. The shell is very like a pipi, only bigger and thicker. I liked its creamy warm colour and have brought it home with me. Thank you;great to see you here, and guess who I was writing the letter to? Keep an eye on your mail box.

  15. Lynley

    Your mandala becomes almost 3D to my eye and attracts my attention.
    I find mandalas to be very powerful.

    Take care of yourself as you fight off that throat virus. While the weather has been unusually mild the bugs are still challenging to clear we are finding.

    I see that your new book “Spirited Ageing” has just hit the reserve shelf at the library with my name on it. I am looking forward to reading it!!!!

  16. juliet

    Lynley, I’m feeling a big improvement today, I’m glad to say. Just as well, as I had a TV interview to pre-record and had already cancelled it once. I’ll post the details on my Facebook Books page: https://www.facebook.com/JulietBattenBooks
    I hope you enjoy ‘Spirited Ageing’.

  17. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet …looks just gorgeous and you have got a lot going on haven’t you …

    With thoughts .. Hilary

  18. Ruth P

    The sand spiral is amazing Juliet! The contrast of colours, light and textures makes it resonate out from ‘your’ beach, through the ether, and into our own worlds. Beautiful! Thank you!!

  19. juliet

    * Hilary, thanks for visiting. There certainly has been a lot going on!

    * Ruth, I’m so glad the sand spiral has whirled across space into your world.

    Thank you, Hilary and Ruth; good to see you here.

  20. Anne Ruffell

    How much in tune we have been over the past few weeks. Your beautiful letter with the shell drawing and the wonderful paua shell medal arrived yesterday. I could feel its healing powers as it comes from the sea and I can look at the colours and see the beach that it comes from. Your letter couldn’t have arrived at a better time because on the same day we received news that one of our dearest friends from our time in Australia had died. He was 91 and we saw him on our visit last February. Sometimes you wish the world would just stop turning for a while but it never does and the sad things are always interspersed with good things so the balance is kept just right. Thank you for everything.

  21. juliet

    * Oh Anne, I’m so glad the letter & medal arrived at a good time! How sad to hear of the death of your good friend. It’s time that the turning of the world brought some good news.


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