Day 251 was my real New Harmony day. I love the New Harmony Project (I mean have been professing my love for it over the last two days) but the town is just so inspiring. It has been the site of at least two attempted communal utopias. It features a roofless church, a mediation maze, preserved log homes from 1814, and so much more history. The town’s main income, I believe, comes from the New Harmony Inn where the New Harmony Project is held along with countless weddings each year. With a population of around 800, it is definitely the kind of place where locals know if you are a visitor. And they actually like you for it!
While the hubs had his board meeting, I set out on my own. My first stop, my old favorite, the Roofless Church. Designed by architect Philip Johnson, this non-denomination church was commissioned by Jane Owen, the town’s main benefactor. She was an oil money heiress who married a descendant of Robert Owen (Owenites were one of utopian groups to settle in New Harmony). She was also a great supporter of the New Harmony Project whom I remember for her quiet thoughtfulness, prim voice and lovely hats. The Roofless Church has long been a place I have sought out for peace and quiet. In college, friends and I would visit the church in the middle of night to stargaze. (Oh, the stars on a clear Indiana night). Every time I’ve gone to the New Harmony Project, I’ve made a special trip to the church. This time it was particularly important.
Many people who read this know I’ve struggled with my RA. Many also know that I’ve struggled with Anxiety, that I’ve struggled at work, that I’ve struggled with what I want to do with my life. I sat in the Roofless Church and let a lot of that go. I had, for about 20 minutes, the entire place to myself. First, I walked through the doors straight to the benches overlooking the field.
Then I walked the perimeter and examined the huge iron gates.
Real peace came when I sat under what I have always assumed is the altar and just relaxed. I let a lot of things go and, under blue sky, I truly felt calm, happy, peaceful, well.
I carried that with me as I walked the meditation maze, as I explored the gift shop at the visitors’ center and roamed the many little shops lining the main street. One particular shop owner inspired me to make music (more on this in Day 252). I even carried that with me back to Chicago and for a few days following.
But now I’m finding it harder to remain there. Again the stresses of work and health creep in. Again I am frenzied, always working, running around. At New Harmony and back in Chicago, I’ve had multiple people ask me about the blog. Why haven’t I been posting? They miss it, they tell me how much it means to them and I am moved and yet, I still manage to let other things get in the way. This blog is my continued peace and again I have to force myself to remain focused on it. Year of Fun is what I want to do, yet I keep letting other stuff get in the way.
This pretty much sums up THE major conflict of my life: do what I love/what I want vs. do what I have to do. Maybe all of our lives? Maybe that is what living is? Finding the right balance between the two or going on a quest to fill your life with just the things you want to do? I sure don’t know but I would like to think that I am getting closer to figuring it out.
I feel the same way – central conflict of life = doing what I love vs doing what I need to do. I feel like the love was actually easier when I was living alone. No other people to take into account or care about. But it’s worth it to be married and be a mom and step mom.
My yoga teacher tells us to ask ourselves, when we find we are letting other things, seemingly less important things, get in the way of our practice (whatever your practice is), we have to keep asking why. And then when you have what you think is an answer, ask why again and again.
Your photos make me want to go back to NH. What a dream.
Thanks Vicki! That is great advice and something for me to think on.
New Harmony was a dream. You should definitely try to get back. I be practicing Yoga in the Roofless Church would be an amazing experience.