My journey to Squam began 2
years ago while taking a Susannah Conway e-course. I met some wonderful women
online while taking Susannah Conway's Unraveling
class and we spoke of attending this workshop and meeting each other in
person. I also knew some other people from different ecourses
were attending so I was looking forward to meeting everyone in
person. I drove up with one of my online classmates. Elizabeth also created a group page for
Squammies where you can connect with other attendees for ride shares and such.
Pulling up I got this oh shit feeling, what have I done and can I turn around and go home now, this was pushing me up and through my comfort zone. I haven’t been away without my family in many years.
First we go to register and I meet Elizabeth and her magical helpers who were so helpful in answering all my pre-squam questions. Here we were greeted with open hearts and open arms that left you feeling welcome right away then off to the cabin we go and as you can see by the top picture what a cabin it was. The cabin was shared by 13 of us and I was already starting to feel that high school feeling of not being good enough and who do I think I am these woman are real artists I am a fraud, a newbie. In the end I found out we are all more alike than different and sharing these emotions with others and hearing them say they felt the same was a huge relief. Even sharing bathrooms worked out just fine, we made a schedule for showering and it worked out perfectly.
Suffice it to say all the women over the course of this 4 day workshop became near and dear to me, they held me up and we shared, tears, laughter, our stories and wonderful meals together. At the end of each day we would gather around the fire and share about our day and the classes we took, I can honestly say I have never felt so SEEN or HEARD before. I was having a bit of trouble with my anxiety but I was determined not to isolate myself. The friends I made at Squam are still a part of my community; we talk on the phone, skype and meet up if we can in real time. And while yes I can go on and on about the teachers and the classes, they are great and there are so many class options from mixed media, writing, photography, textile arts, etc. that would take up pages and pages. If you go to this link you can hear about my first year teacher/class experiences but just as important for me was the community to be found here.
The thing I noticed the most was the strength of this supportive community. I noticed many returning squammies reaching out and embracing the newbies like myself, this is a testament to Elizabeth and the intention she holds for this space.
I found myself watching those who have been to Squam many times and you can see them coming more into themselves, standing taller in their truth and I felt that same way the second time I returned. I was able to sink into things a little easier and push myself a bit further and I know each time I return I will learn something new about myself.
Going to Squam is like going back home to yourself, to connecting to what it is that you want. You can do as much or as little as you want while there. The beauty to be found there is not just in the people but also the surroundings, the forest paths, the sun sparkling on the lake, the sounds and sights of nature are all around you. You can connect with other creative souls or you can take a breather on the dock just listening to your own heartbeat merging with the sounds of birds and water.
Don't get me wrong, it's not all magic pixie dust and unicorns. There is work being done here, you come up against your own edges and you can push through or not, your choice. I came up against mine, feeling a part of things in some moments and then on the fringes of not belonging in other moments. Crying sometimes and feeling so alone and then laughing with others and feeling connected. So I just kept showing up because I want to grow and push myself towards becoming more of myself, to feel more at home in my own body.
The biggest tip I can give anyone thinking of attending Squam is to go with an open heart and put yourself out there even if it's just a little bit. If you feel like you are stumbling all you need to do is look around, we will be there stumbling right alongside you, you are NOT alone. That is the biggest gift I received from attending Squam, the KNOWING that you are not alone. When you share your stories and your truth you will find there are others right there alongside you traveling a similar path.