photo credit: TARA MORRIS
Here in New England, change is in the air. One minute it is so hot you are stripping down to a thin t-shirt, the next you are sneezing and pulling on socks. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Then again, some things never change and, for me, one of them is the depth of beauty that occurs when we gather at the edge of Squam Lake. Our last retreat just ended on Sunday and I must say it brought together the very best elements of each previous gathering along with the stellar addition of some brand-new teachers, a bevy of brave hearts, an abundance of inspiration and sha-ZAM: a veritable light show of joy and wonder.
It was the sweetest, sweetest, sweetest.
Replete with angels, rock stars and some life-changing Skunk magic that I will tell you all about over at MV when I am rested and coherent.
photo credit: CHRISTINE CHITNIS
It didn’t hurt, of course, that we also had a full moon and the the northern lights to offer celestial dazzle to the mix. Below is a glimpse. As blog posts roll in I will add to the list so keep checking back.
For now, best you read what everyone else can share more eloquently than me.
I can tell you this: I am happy. So deeply at peace and happy. And man, does that feel good.
:: :: SEPTEMBER 2014 BLOG POSTS :: ::
(as always, click on the name to go to the FULL blog post)
“What I got was so much more. What I thought would be at the center – the logistics of creativity – turned out to reside at the periphery. And while I did add a handful of skills to my toolbox, what I took home with me extended far beyond the creative techniques I learned.
What I got was truly transformative and,
at risk of sounding completely dramatic, life-changing.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to fully share or describe my Squam experience any better than I just have in words. But I think these pictures, and the words that go along, do a good job of showing more than I could ever say.”
“The sun rose each morning, bringing with it a flood of light into our sleeping quarters. It was a gorgeous reminder that the earth is turning and dark nights are always followed by new days. What a gift. This alone – a beautiful and rustic room with windows overlooking a New Hampshire Lake – this alone would have made the trip worthwhile. And then there was the water. Oh, the heavenly water. There is no better way to clear your head and renew your body on a cellular level than to immerse yourself in a natural water source.”
“The gathering of like minded giving souls is magic. The setting is sublime. The lake will be calling us back again, I know. It was lovely and restorative and far far too short. Thank you Squam…see you next year! xo.”
EXCERPT from an email from MICHELLE LANGELIER
“I have one million things to tell you so this message could be very long, but I will tell you a resume and your heart will understand the rest, I am sure of that. Bear with me if my sentences are sometimes funny, English is not my mother tongue – by the way thank you so much for the delicate attention you had of talking to me in French during the retreat!
First of all THANK YOU for creating this retreat, thank you for your time, energy, for the bright sparkling light shining in your eyes (although I should thank God for that because this is the light of the divine that lives inside of you). I am so overwhelmed by my emotions now and fresh memories that I cry, I can hardly see the keyboard. So. Let’s calm down so that I can write.
This retreat is such a great gift in my life
and such exactly what I needed at the moment.”
DAWN BARTON via Ravelry
“I want to express my complete gratitude for this year’s retreat, I needed it more than ever this year. Squam gave me so much this year, it gave me a place to charge, to reflect and remember. My mother happen to pass away the 7th of Sept and I decided to continue on with the retreat because I needed that time away from reality, I was able to set on my cabin porch and reflect on the time I had with my mom and to remember all the good and happy times with her, I didn’t want to be sad and because of my Squam family I wasn’t so thank you for such a lovely place for me to escape for a few days.”
“Well, I am here to tell you: when you’re surrounded by your people, your “tribe,” a whole lotta magic happens.
It happens when you’re sitting by the
fireplace, getting to know each other.
It happens when you’re eating copious
amounts of bacon together at breakfast.
It happens when you’re belly laughing
like you haven’t done in a long time,
and when you’re tearing up because
someone feels so comfortable that they
tell you about their hurty heart.
Sparks fly when you’re in class,
when you’re swimming in that glorious lake,
when you’re lounging on the docks
with a glass of wine in your hand,
and when you’re headed back to the cabin
but run into some new friends
in the middle of the dark road,
and decide to linger with them instead.
Creative chemistry abounds.
It fuels connections and collaborations,
and it pushes you to be brave in your art or craft.”
“Four days out of my routine was valuable in so many ways. I did things I was afraid of, learned more about my own rhythms, got a million new ideas and made friends. Real Friends. The experience left me with a New Year’s day kind of feeling – a map of things I need to pay more attention to, ways in which I should be challenging myself more often, ways I need to grow and ideas that I have been consistently resistant to that I don’t just need to consider but should be marching towards.”
“Painting is not for sissies. There is no pattern like knitting, no expected outcome. There are moments when you have to face yourself, and your failure. Every. Single. Time. And there are moments where you feel brilliant. You cannot be a painter unless you are willing to see all of this.”
“Squam was gorgeous, as always, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to sink in and relax. Instead I kept myself busy, taking pictures, touring the surrounding towns and selling my wares at the fair on Saturday. I didn’t have the brain power needed to take classes this year, though if I had, I surely would have taken Ann Wood’s class and made my own sweet little mushroom.”
“Home from chilly New Hampshire where I spent four delightful days by Squam Lake. Rustic surroundings. Moonlit nights. Delicious food. Abundant art. Delightful people. Rain. Sunshine. Fires. Stars. I hope to return.”
“This Fall session of Squam is a continuation of the cracking open that started for me when I was here in June, but also finds me feeling even more introspective and contemplative than I thought possible. It is a strange contrast – unfurling my heart while simultaneously turning inwards.”
” in this place in my life, feeling a such am amazing grounded sense of presence and home, mirrored by beautiful people unabashedly sharing their stories and gratitude for my vulnerability and putting my life out there”
“Each time I blog about the latest Squam retreat I’m reminded of how inadequate language truly is. It’s impossible to convey the transformative magic of this place to someone who hasn’t been here.”
another fabulous email: from LAUREN TELLER “the emotional toilet” (ha. only at Squam)
“The sunrise, the sunset, the learning,
the dancing and THE LOVE so generously
given and so openly received, all floating
on a huge waft of sweet piney air
and the sound of water lapping on rocks.
And one of my personal favorites: The Emotional Toilet. At my first delicious meal at Deep Dining I went to use the bathroom and saw a beautiful little sign above the toilet: This toilet is emotionally friendly, please hold down the handle to flush.
“Wow,” I thought as I settled in, “at Squam, even inanimate objects are emotionally connected. Maybe all inanimate objects are really feeling, sensing things in some way” I mused to myself, “and this little sign is a hint to me to stay connected and conscious at every moment. Oh Elizabeth, you think of everything!” I reached around and focused on depressing the handle gently and firmly, enjoying the sound as the flush of water responded to my push.
It was only as I was drying my hands, and glanced back at the toilet to see how it was responding, that I re-read the sign…the toilet is actually environmentally friendly.
“Oh well,” I thought to myself, “I still love Squam, and indoor plumbing.” much Happy Peace and looking forward to seeing you all again!”