I came to Monhegan Island in 2000 for a summer job at the Island Inn. I met my husband and moved here year-round in 2004. It is here that I learned to live in the moment and adjust my lifestyle with the seasons. Monhegan is very busy in the summertime, and we all work very hard during these months. We still work in the winter, but at a slower pace. There is plenty of time for catching up with friends, dinner parties, long walks, and also curling up with a good book on a blustery cold day.
Life on the island teaches you to slow down and take each day one at a time. There are things in life that we as individuals do not have control over like the weather and other people and their actions. The boat to the mainland may be canceled due to weather and that affects plans. You learn not to stress over these things and know that you can only control so much. Our boat trip is an hour or more each way, no amount of staring anxiously out the window will get me to where I am going faster. I have learned patience and staying present.
I’ve learned to be more conscious of the importance of sustainable living, eating local and organic when possible. Living on Monhegan, I am keenly aware of how much energy goes into getting food and materials to me as well as to get those items back off the island as trash or recycling. Our electricity costs are some of the highest in the country. The town provides water from a natural aquifer from May to November and the other months we use drilled wells or cisterns. We try not too waste this valuable resource because we know that it is finite. Conservation is just the right thing to do too.
I’ve discovered the importance of eating nutrient dense foods and cooking daily. Processed foods are not readily available and going out to a restaurant is not an option, leaving it up to me to make the food to nourish my body. I find comfort in the routine of following a recipe or making something up with what I have on hand. If I want a sweet treat, I have to make it from scratch with real butter, sugar, flour and milk.
The island allows for time of quiet reflection. The cliffs provide a wonderful back drop while I do yoga or meditation, the waves aid in staying in the moment listening to the ebb and flow and allowing my thoughts to drift away. I am able to focus on my work and the important things in life after taking this time for myself.
Monhegan offers wonderful opportunities to be in touch with nature with 13 miles of hiking trails that include the beautiful Cathedral woods where you can nestle in on a blustery day and feel the protection from the wind by the encircling trees or hiking on the cliffs where you get the expansive view of the ocean making me feel so small. The trails are great for hiking they are well taken care of by the Monhegan Associates, Inc. They are right out my back door, so daily walks are part of my routine.
The Trailing Yew, where most of our retreats will be held, offers the perfect facility for taking advantage of everything Monhegan provides.