Refilling the Well

We all need it sometimes. Renewal. Refreshment. A replenishing of the creative juices. Artist and author Julia Cameron calls it refilling the well or restocking the pond. I call it sidestepping burnout.

Whatever occupies us day after day, we can’t keep at it indefinitely without taking occasional breaks to refuel the passion, the source of our energy and enthusiasm.

I know what it takes to rekindle my flame.  Just give me a day of solitude, preferably sitting on the rocks or logs at ocean’s edge, where the sound of waves acts like white noise for my brain. Serenity replaces stress, and the joy of being one with God fills the empty places to overflowing.

I had such a day last week. In fact, I had two-and-a-half of them. My DH and I had what Julia Cameron refers to as an artist’s date… “something that enchants and entices [the] artist within.”


The well is refilled.

What do you do when you need to replenish your passion and creative energy?

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. [Mark 1:35]


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

20 thoughts on “Refilling the Well

  1. Beautiful photos, Carol. I would love a place like that for renewal of creative juices. We’re so lucky to have an abundance of beautiful places in Canada to enjoy.

    I do find a refreshing walk in the woods or just going somewhere else for a change of scenery can help when I’m feeling drudgelike and uninspired. Even sitting in Starbucks and people watching can be a source of inspiration.

  2. These pictures are breathtaking! Wow. I would love to have been there. We are limited right now in our resources so I have to employ my patio as my get away–last night we watched the sun set and then sat and listened to some owls communicating. I felt refreshed:)

  3. Great pics – will have to show Deb. Haven’t had much time for R&R lately, we’ve switched to a 7 day schedule so when I’m not working – I’m working, even when I get to go home. I typically gravitate to the ocean, since it’s so close, or walk with Deb when she’s shooting (with a camera) wildlife or seascapes or plants. Could use a few days of that now.

  4. Beautiful post and inspiring photos. During a difficult time in my life, I spent hours (weekends) sitting on a beach alone reading the Word of God, looking at the blue waters and listening to the sound of waves rolling over the shores of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes in northern USA. Very calming. Your photos reminded me of those times when I needed renewal in large doses. Now I get up early in the morning, brew coffee, and take a cup with me outside. I sit on a bench in the quiet before beginning the chores of the day. Thank you for sharing your renewal experience.

  5. Your photographs are lovely, Carol. You capture the essence of the site so well. I’m relaxing just looking at it. R&R? LOL. I live on a lake. I can’t get much more relaxed than this. Though I do work hard on my writing, so when I’m looking for a chance, I like to stay in my pjs and watch golf all day. Or old English movies. We drink hot choco and nap between commericals. It’s devilish and delightful. Unless one of the cats want out. It’s amazing how loud some of them can scream when they don’t get our attention.

    Thanks for sharing. Your experiences always renew my sense of wonder.

  6. Carol, Beautiful pictures. (And when I zoomed in on the picnic table, I saw a copy of Code Blue–neat!) We’ll be going to North Carolina at the end of the month to enjoy the changing leaves and the mountain scenery. I always look forward to that time of renewal. Thanks for reminding us how important it is.

  7. Love the photos!!!!!!!

    This post helped remind me that I don’t replenish the well nearly as often as I should. I have a problem making time for it and I know better. Maybe when I retire. Winter is my time to pause and reflect. The rest of the year I feel as though I am in fast motion. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I refill the well by running and biking and by doing what you did–spending time in wild, beautiful places. Those photos are really off-the-charts beautiful. Thanks for sharing them!!!

  9. Hi, Cathy. Thanks for your response. Yes, we’re very blessed with all the natural beauty in our country. I live within five minutes drive of four lakes, but for our getaway we were 100 km from home on Howe Sound.

    Terri, I’m glad you found the home-grown beauty that’s often right on our doorstep.

    Hi, Erica. Daydreaming is a great pool for story ideas. At night I don’t dream much that’s of any use, but those moments just before I doze off are often rich sources.

    Dave, Deb’s a real photographer. My pictures will never match hers. I just point and click and am fortunate when the subject matter is so beautiful.

    Thanks for stopping by, Jordan. I always find thought-provoking items on your blog. 🙂

    Hi, Carol Ann. As the quotation reminded me, taking some quiet time to be alone with God is always renewing, no matter where the physical location. My quiet mornings begin with orange juice. 😉

    Thanks, Joylene. You have so much natural beauty right outside your door you don’t need to go anywhere else to take it in. And sometimes a day just doing what appeals to you can be equally rejuvenating. Especially in p.j.s 😉

    Richard, I’m glad you caught sight of our reading material. I didn’t notice it was there until I posted the photo. Enjoy your time in North Carolina. I’ll bet it will be beautiful!

    Hi, Laura. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to drop everything and go. Even in retirement we can’t always, as my husband still has periodic church responsibilities. I imagine after a busy summer you’re especially glad for those quiet winter days.

    Your surroundings are uniquely beautiful, Paul, so I don’t doubt you find perfect places there to refill your well.

  10. Absolutely gorgeous pictures!! Nothing like that in central Kansas. We have a different natural beauty. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Panoramas that extend for miles and miles.

    But sometimes I refill the well by experimenting with a different medium. This weekend I attended a seminar on memoir – an area that I had never contemplated. I found it refreshing, stimulating and interesting. Besides which, I got to meet several new people that may become good friends.

    Just breaking out of the everyday can be wonderful no matter the venue.

  11. Judith, I like that expression, “breaking out of the everyday.” Trying a different medium or a new genre is an excellent way to stimulate creativity and build enthusiasm. Are you going to write a memoir now?

    I guess your love of music and singing makes that a “no brainer”, Jen. I’ll bet you fill the house with joyful sound that refreshes everyone around you!

    Ice cream! Mmmmm! Katie, now you’ve mentioned it, I need to find myself a tiny picnic cooler so I can take some mint chocolate chip ice cream with me on my seaside retreats. Or maybe some Tin Roof Sundae, or…. 😉

  12. That’s a lovely spot you found for your artist’s date! Like you, I often head to the ocean when I need renewal. I always feel more connected to God and even to myself after a long, easy stroll on the beach. Running used to be a fave choice for re-filling, too, but since I’ve had to give that up, I’m trying to allow walking to do that for me (but it’s not quite the same!). Setting aside the writing and just reading a couple good novels can also do wonders. 🙂

    1. It really was nice… not the kind of shoreline where you can do a lot of easy walking (when the tide’s up there is no beach) but the campsites are right by the water so the view is wonderful. And I agree, reading is always a good escape, too.

  13. Breathtaking photos.

    I’ve been working my way through God in the Yard by L.L. Barkat and with that I’ve been sitting in the yard daily. Just watching and listening. Sometimes while it’s still dark. I often wondered if when Jesus prayed then, if he said words or just sat and drank from the well.

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