Marney Schorr
Teaching Artist & Art Therapist

Art House Blog

Lessons from the Cape

Posted by Marney Schorr on June 16, 2016 at 9:15 AM

This winter I had the good sense to plan a June trip to Cape Cod. Something inside told me I needed the ocean. The great wide expanse of blue and sky and sun on crashing waves. It's where I went to connect with my maker.


I had been overwhelmed with the world lately. And its not because there is any more of it on my shoulders than other times. It's simply because I drifted from God. God cures stress. Because those things that are ailing us, they are not ours to carry. 

I found myself at a fellow artist's home in Brewster. Lorah runs a space for women creatives to retreat from the world and plug back into nature and spirit. (Check out her amazing place - ).


We were surrounded by the smell of blooming gardenia and ocean air, bearing witness to pollinating bees and baby caterpillars. And soulful morning conversation with organic fruit and eggs and fresh herbs from her tranquil gardens. Nature called beyond the stone firepit and the backyard gates to the wild.


I took my easel and paints to the sea shore.


The wind was rushing but the sun warmed my heart. I dipped my brushes in ocean water and put down the colors I saw. The amazing layers of the Cape. Sea, sand, waves, water, clouds, sun, sky - each tier another dimension of color and serenity drawing closer to the horizon.


When I was done, I draped gold paint over areas of the canvas. This time it wasn't what I saw, it was what I felt. Glittering gold magic inviting me to re-open the mysticism of summer youth. I was free and dreaming. I had the childhood sense of being invincible. And yet I remained present and still.


Creativity, serenity, nature and stillness. These are avenues to self-love. I often worry I am selfish if I allow them for too long. But this is the conditioning of my past. We do the best we can with what we have. And we need to love ourselves to keep doing good work in the world, to keep going, to keep providing, to sustain.

This was my message from my maker. Love others, but also love yourself.


The next day I booked a seat on a whale watching cruise out of Barnstable Harbor. Four glorious hours deep into the bay where the whales feed. Sun and breeze, blue and green pools of earth, sea gulls lulling around. The majesty of a humpback whale, so large in its presence, so graceful in its curves, so feminine in the arch of its tail.


On the way back from the depths of Stellwagen Bank, the deck cleared and became quiet. The passengers were now soothed and sleepy. I was able to stand alone at the back rail, amidst the lowering sun and foaming white on prussian blue,  my senses wholly immersed in the moving water and the motor of the boat.


I was at complete peace with everything and everyone and especially with myself.


How long can I hold onto this moment? If only I could take it with me, home, back to the routine and structure of my full life. Why must I travel to be this close to heaven? Is it only 'out there' that I can find this perfect state of being?

No. It is inside us waiting to be opened.

It's just too easy to let the details of life unravel spiritual discipline. My resistance is directly proportional to my suffering. Joy lies hiding behind that first prayer. Humility and self-love are partners, not polarities. Treat yourself well and just listen.


And so I went to the water in search of renewal. And I found I am not so broken afterall. Just human.

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