Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
— Marcus Aurelius
I am not sure that I am 100% sold on these words from Marcus Aurelius.
I think it’s a wonderful idea to think that you have the ability to retreat to an inner sanctum of peace, a safe haven that isolates you from the troubles and turmoil of the outer world. But is it so? Can you retreat inward and leave the outer world behind?
Can you climb onto that island and pull up the ladder behind you?
I think there must be folks who can do this, can block out the world and find the tranquility of the soul described by Marcus Aurelius. I think they must be either much more evolved than me or foolhardy because I’m just not sure that it’s in me at this point.
I would love to set my worries, fears, and furies adrift and climb that ladder, never to see them again.
But that’s not the way I am nor is it the way of the world.
Chaos finds a way of always drifting back to our shores.
But maybe this island of retreat is not about completely isolating oneself, not pulling up that ladder forever. Maybe it’s in climbing up for a brief period of time to discover those moments of silence and absolute stillness that allow those wounds inflicted by the world to heal.
The world is still out there and will soon return but perhaps there is balm in the quiet of the present moment.
The painting here is a new 6″ by 12″ canvas that I am calling Retreat.