ok, i really want to talk about squam. squam. it was a whole lot of things mixed in 6 days for me so i’ll start from the beginning. it’s a windy journey complete with bliss, tears, understanding, friendship, and joy – bear with me. it all started with me sitting between andrea and denise on the plane ride over to new hampshire. the three of us chatted for an entire five hours and by the time we all arrived at the new hampshire airport to our friend jen gray waiting for us, well, i was blissed out.
total bliss continued as we met up that evening with elizabeth, and liz, and judy, and so many others as we all prepared to welcome in the experience of squam. it was all starting to happen and i knew it would be an important experience for everyone attending. you know that feeling of sparkles in the stomach? i had that. the people, the trees, the water, the stars, the darkness, the energy – i felt wrapped in it.
some moments i will always remember included watching elizabeth’s dream unfold. our creative dreams both unearthed at artfest a couple of years ago and to see her dream in action, spreading into the hearts and lives of everyone who attended made me want to jump for joy for her and for everyone else. she totally created magic. and i was beaming with pride for her the entire time.
i also loved watching the creative spirits of everyone who attended totally transform. i observed communities forming, friendships beginning, wide smiles in the lunchroom, girls skipping down the dirt paths, bellows of group laughter, tender moments of release + expression. i witnessed art being born from women claiming, maybe for the first time, that they too were artists. i felt power and capacity from women who were finally finding their passion, their community. the energy was huge and alive. and quite honestly, it had me out of sorts from time to time as i tried to manage the emotional enormity of it all.
another moment i will always remember was watching mati as she gave her talk on thursday nite. i felt our friendship deepen and expand over the course of squam as we treaded new beginnings and took a leap together. i almost bawled my eyes out during our introductions of one another – we’ve come a long way in our 1.5 years of knowing one another and it’s been a meaningful friendship. i’ve been to many a creative art retreat, but this was mati’s first of this kind and i loved watching her love it.
i also loved our cabin. sommers 86, you have a piece of my heart. i loved you from the minute i stepped into your log cabin ways. i took a couple long hot baths in your clawfoot tub in total darkness as the sound of rain kept me company. i fell asleep in front of your glowing fireplace. i made messy art on your ginormous back porch that was enclosed by trees and greenery. at nite, your spacious living room held laughter, and stories, and soul. thank you for carrying us, for housing us on those very cold evenings. i hope i get you next year 🙂
i loved spending time with my friends, some women i’ve known for years and others i just met – all of us pulled in a million directions, but still feeling grounded in a connection that moves past detailed conversation and time, and into split second heart-to-heart moments. that’s all it takes sometimes. just the essence of another soul who gets you – even in the pullings of time and people and situations.
one more thing before i move on: vendor nite. total blur (thank you so much to everyone who stopped by – happiness all around). i loved watching liz elayne’s creations fly off the table. i’ve been waiting for her to have this moment and there it was – so very cool. and i loved meeting sarah ahearn. i feel a deep unexplained sisterhood with this woman and it was magic to meet her even if just for a few moments. her mom was there, but before i knew it was her mom, i reached over the table toward her and said “you look exactly like my mom!” so there you have it – more of that sisterhood feeling explained.
there was a moment at squam, between all of the bliss and love, that i fell apart. it came on an evening where i felt so happy, so in love with my life, and so in love with my brand new sparkly eye make-up (courtesy of cabin mate and dear soul jonatha). it was a moment that found me totally by surprise, but led me to a heavy and intense release of tears and emotion. i think it’s been coming for awhile, this release. and for whatever reason, my heart found a safe and tender moment where it felt ok to let go of the fast pace of the last several weeks. to let go of the nerves that led the way through book releases and public speaking. to let go of hurt feelings and expectations, disappointment, and even a little bit of ego. what i also learned in those moments was this: that i’m a just a girl like everyone else with dreams and plans. that i have dear dear friends who will see me through the floodwaters and will still see the brightness and gift of me after the release. that it all matters, every piece of it. it just means i’m human. it just means i’m alive.
squam was really good for my heart + soul. i so needed it. thank you, elizabeth, for what you created. you did it!
more highlights to come later, including a very special photo session with a very special woman.