The world is spinning as it ever does and, depending on what you are focused on, it can appear harsh or gentle, bleak or bright, full of strife or full of love. Of course, as we know, it is all of the above all the time.
Today our attention is on a few of the reasons why this can feel like a most wonderful time of the year:
- Around the world, communities, families and individuals are coming together to celebrate kindness, generosity of spirit, light and love.
- A new year is just around the corner which invites us to clean the slate, hit reset, try to do better.
- 2017 workshops are now posted and pre-registration is open!
It may seem a bit over the top to align Squam gatherings with the sparkle and magic of the holiday season, but as we looked over photographs and read through emails from the past year, there seems to be a strong current of belief that when we bring creativity to the center of our lives, we make the world a better place all year long.
In December 2007, I posted a photo to this website as we prepared to launch the very first retreat. I had gone down to RDC that September and walked about snapping photos — trying to capture an image that might give an idea of what the feeling of this gathering would be like. Not an easy thing to do, but this was my best effort:
You might think it got easier over the years to share what being at Squam is like, but you would be mistaken. We can point you to the raves, we can load the website with photographs, you can look at what people share at instagram and their blogs. And still, it is not something that can be captured in words or pictures.
I share all of this because we have some extraordinary goodness waiting for you in the year ahead that you are just going to have to experience for yourself. Our beloved teachers — some returning, some here for the first time — have created an offering specially designed for time at the lake and, just for you.
And, as some of you already know, the big news I have to share today is that September 2017 will be the end of Squam Art Workshops for me. This Fall marks the 10th time we will have gathered to get our hands messy, take early swims, indulge in midnight skinny dips, eat ice cream for breakfast, sprawl on the dock, hang on the porch, laugh until we cry and cry until we laugh, knit by the fire and sink into the rich beauty that is Squam Lake.
Ten years is a perfect stopping point for me.
There is a new direction my life is being called to — and you all know how I feel about answering the call! (Rest assured for all of you registered for End of the Quest— we will be together for the whole year and witness how our lives are transformed in the months ahead, mine included).
No doubt I will be posting more about my thoughts and the events that have contributed to this decision in the future, but for now I want to close out by sharing a passage from Vaclav Havel that I read thanks to Jessa Crispin (who will be with us this Spring to teach a terrific class on writing the personal essay).
Doesn’t the fact that one has managed to create something—
though it may seem to have had no other impact—mean something in itself?
Does not that alone say something and promise something?
Does it not thus expand the range of what can be done, and of how far one may go?
Every work of the spirit is a small reenactment of the miracle of Being,
a small recreation of the world—and is not this essential and unique transcendence
of its material existence enough to guarantee it a lasting place in the history of
spirit and lasting participation in the “spirit” of the order of the spirit— that
special attempt on the part of Being at its own great re-creation?
To sum up: I’m convinced that each spiritual act is an integral part
of the order of the spirit, that the order of the spirit is present in
each act just as the entire river is present in an eddy, and that every
such act irrevocably alters the order of the spirit, just as every eddy,
though it may last no more than a minute,
has irrevocably changed the river. – Vaclav Havel