let it be

photo credit :: Jen Colby Barlev

If ever there were a time we needed to come together, go within for rest and restoration, nurture our spirits with creative engagement and share conversation with fellow makers, this is it. However, as there is still much uncertainty in the world, we are progressing with great caution.

photo credit :: Tory Williams

The (hopeful) news is that YES, there will be a handful of small gatherings on offer for 2021. They will be structured to follow all local, state and CDC guidelines in order to experience the healing properties of the lake and woods while practicing social distancing.

Full details will be shared here on Tuesday, December 1st. However, the best way to get all the information directly is to receive our newsletter. (there is a place to sign up on the homepage).

Earlier today, a newsletter went out full of updates, thoughts, inspiration and, as seems to be de rigueur for 2020: sad news.

It was with heavy hearts that Mindy and I had to acknowledge the economic realities that have followed in the wake of the pandemic. As a result, our dreams and visions for Squam with her as Executive Director had to be let go. For the foreseeable future, as I work to get Squam grounded financially after last year’s devastation (like so many small businesses across the country have experienced), it will be just me here at SQM HQ.

There have been many hard moments in the past year, but seeing each other for the last time as partners and collaborators last April was definitely one of the saddest, for me.

The happy news– and yes, life does gift us with joy following sorrow– Mindy has channelled all of her passion for community building, intersectional activism and creative energy and poured it into her newest venture:  BE SEEN PROJECT whose mission is to be “a platform and community for BIPOC artists and makers who are using their work to center marginalized voices and create social justice dialogue and change.”

In addition to the website and Instagram where you can follow along with the Be Seen Project’s initiatives, Mindy hosts a podcast and has created a ‘zine that you can order and have dropped into your real mailbox! Given how much time we have all spent in the virtual world these past months, having an actual ‘zine to hold in your hands is gonna feel so good.

Mindy’s leadership of how to turn a challenging situation into an occasion for more growth, more expansion and focus on new horizons is an example to us all.

It has been a grueling year; it has been a year filled with new awakenings. There have been both unbearable levels of stress and extraordinary surges of courage and faith. I do not know how anyone could live through this level of intensity without being changed.

For me, in one of life’s mercurial ironies, my habitual misanthropic attitude has been burned off, completely. In the face of the suffering caused by abject greed, cruelty and selfishness (the source of my former misanthropic tendencies), I have been overwhelmed by the upswell of wisdom, generosity, kindness, selflessness, dedication, bravery and compassion that I have seen in the actions of individuals by the hundreds of thousands– the millions.

I am in awe of the power of love, truth and beauty in the heart of each of us.

And, it has never been more clear to me the absolute life-giving properties of gathering together to share stories, process heartbreak, dance, knit, make art, and simply be. This has always been central to why Squam has come into existence and why, the 2021 teachers and I will be doing our best to bring safe, mindful– outdoor as much as possible– gatherings at the lake next year.

Best of all? Everybody gets their own room! Talk about silver linings . . Stay tuned for launch and as I say, the best way to get all the info is to be sure you are receiving the newsletter.

More soonest.

bisous, Elizabeth

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