I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
– Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
Hello and welcome to an entire WEEK OF SQUAM LOVE!
Yes, we are doing this. Yes, this is a thing. Yes, this is inspired by Valentine’s Day waiting for us on Sunday, and yet, this is so much MORE than a celebration of romantic, sentimental, pink streamers and heart-shaped candy.
I am actually taking a page out of Walt Whitman’s
book and use this somewhat fabricated festivity
to get bold, vulnerable and celebrate myself.
Of course, as Walt makes clear from the outset, far from being an act of selfishness, this is a way of celebrating each of us – of celebrating and loving on YOU.
“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
The circle of giving. Hard to receive. In our chat at Morning on the Dock, Tif and I discussed how truly challenging it is to distinguish self-love from selfishness. And, how without a strong practice of self-love we are subject to all manner of illness including burnout, depression and anxiety.
(( You can read all about my big Aha! moment HERE ))
Of course as we have said before, women can’t save the world
until they learn to take a compliment. This week of Squam Love
is in the spirit of learning and practicing how to do this.
AND so . . *drumroll please* . . . although this is against everything I have ever been taught– I am going to do this– put myself in the center and let the love shower down on me.
GAH. I know full well my flaws and failings. I am my own sharpest critic.
And yet, I am deeply aware that if I cannot love on myself, offer forgiveness and compassion to myself in all the ways I fall short of my highest goals, then I cannot, in truth, offer that to another.
Worse, if we commit to holding on to judging ourselves harshly, we do not extend unconditional love to those around us as we wish to. It’s simply not possible. We sit in judgement on those who have hurt us, who have let us down– we refuse to truly step into love and forgiveness, because, at heart, we are withholding forgiveness for our own actions where we were less than wise, kind, gentle or in some way not our best self.
The good news, nay GREAT news is that when you begin an active practice of loving on yourself and offering the same compassion and forgiveness you would to someone you love beyond measure, you EASILY forgive anyone in your circle for whatever they do or have done.*
And you may think– why bother– how can this even help or change anything?
It is my firm belief that if we cannot love on ourselves with all of our human flaws and failings and missteps, we cannot truly love. And, it is no surprise to me that conflict and war rage on around us.
When we do love ourselves, the world around us reflects it back.
I encourage you to explore and experiment with this. I invite you to share in this celebration with me and feel ALL THIS LOVE COMING DIRECTLY TO YOU.
So here’s how it is gonna roll out this week. Each day, here at the blog, I am gonna share love letters I have received over the years. This is different from RAVES (which are fabulous if you’ve never read any). RAVES are posted publicly – these letters I am sharing were sent to me alone.
My hope is that you can feel the energy within them and resonate with it and connect to this very same light within you. May it provide inspiration, light and blessings to you.
In addition, each day this week has something extra special waiting for YOU.
TUESDAY: the minx of love herself, wild world-traveler, one of the the brightest lights tha I have ever met, KERRY LEMON, joins us at MORNING ON THE DOCK. Kerry is, quite simply, someone who makes me believe in magic
WEDNESDAY: making hearts inspired by the goddess of paper herself, RACHEL HAZELL
THURSDAY: COLLEEN ATTARA, one of my soul sisters, joins us at MORNING ON THE DOCK Colleen was Kerry’s roommate at Squam and I am honored that she would be with us on Thursday, as it happens to be my birthday and, as you will learn when you listen to her stories, this is a woman who puts so much love and care goes her work you can feel the vibration, I kid you not.
FRIDAY: your chance to win a spot in Harriet’s gorgeous class: GIFT OF THE HEART and learn to make one of those amazing random woven beauties.
The drawing is for FIVE spots, so your chances are good. Full details at the Squam FB page.
Today is MONDAY!
Wow– we’ve got a New Moon AND it’s the Chinese New Year’s! Hello Fire Monkey magic – wow.
So, I guess enough of my dancing around time to step into the circle of what I have created and begin sharing. I will start with just in the past few days.
Yesterday, I got this email from ARNE & CARLOS that made me feel so seen, respected and appreciated.
“We have just been in the USA, teaching at Vogue Knitting Live
and in Washington DC and we’ve mentioned to everyone
we will be at SQUAM and we have only heard amazing things
about your retreat, so now, considering your excellent reputation,
we are looking forward to this even more than before!”
Then, the day before I got that email above, on a most snowy afternoon, the postman braved the weather to tuck a package in my mailbox. Inside was a Brave Heart Badge. This small gift holds worlds for me. King Arthur could not be more delighted were he to walk out on his front porch and find the Holy Grail sitting on his doorstep.
And an excerpt from a letter I received in 2012:
“All of this is, I’m sure is what you have heard a thousand times.I just wanted to say that you have had company on your little journey over the past couple of months. I do feel that I am blessed and lucky (thank you 10 000 Maniacs for the lyric) to be part of the your world, the SQUAM world.
I feel richer for it and more equipped to follow my heart instead of getting bogged down in a negative reality. I know it is going to get crazy again for you very soon. Thank-you again for what you do.
My Dad used to end each phone call by saying “Remember how precious you are.” In the next crazy couple of months, don’t forget to remember how precious you are.” Lots of Love, Rosemary
I am sad to say, Rosie’s dad has passed but so honored to share with you that today, February 8, is was his birthday. We honor him and his wise message:
Don’t forget to remember how precious you are
oh St. Valentine! Dude, you do not stand a chance. You have never seen love like you are gonna see this week.
* Always mindful I am not talking about condoning behavior or accepting it– but finding forgiveness and compassion for the soul that is disconnected from their shining, best self.
All photos above thanks to FORREST ELLIOTT