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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

June Squam 2014, part 2

(June Squam 2014, part 1.)

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Photo by Anne.

 

Retreats like Squam Art Workshops are becoming more popular as people (okay, mostly women) realize how important it is for their emotional and spiritual well being to reconnect with their creativity, not to mention nature: the pines! The stars! The loons calling across the lake at night! You drink it all in and you are replenished.

That said, I’ve noticed some people seem puzzled when I try to explain just how profoundly Squam has changed my life. I almost feel like they want me to justify spending that $1300—there’s this implication hanging in the air between us, as if that money were better spent elsewhere. On something, you know, practical.

Let me tell you something. The older I get, the more I understand that I can do very little good for anyone else if I am tired and depleted. You want to be with me when I am EXCITED ABOUT LIFE, right? You want some of that joyful energy to rub off on you.

Sure, I draw inspiration from lots of places. But when I go to Squam, I “fill up” in the most mindful way—it changes me every time. I want each new experience to change me. That’s something I first learned at Harmony Homestead Farm, and it allows me to find meaning in even the most seemingly random encounters.

I may overuse the word “random” in casual conversation, but I know nothing truly is. I’ll never forget the moment Anne sat down beside me in the playhouse back in June 2011 while the Yarn Harlot was giving one of her typically hilarious talks. Obviously we couldn’t introduce ourselves until the talk was over, but we were absolutely communicating without words. I knew her. I knew we were going to be friends—no, that we were already friends, and had been for a very long time.

So this year it was mind-blowingly delightful to be able to fall asleep in the same room after reminding each other just how far we’ve come over the past three years. Anne’s blog is more popular than ever, and she is now under deadline with Potter Craft (Random House, NBD!) for Knitting Without Needles, coming out August 2015. I have a new home and a two-book deal under my belt. (Anne moved too, way farther than I did!)

Anne’s is one of the most satisfying friendships of my life, and you can’t put a price tag on that. Squam has given me a wealth of satisfying friendships—Elizabeth and Amy Lou and Kath and Amiee and Jen, plus many more wise and beautiful women. I can’t tell you how many times I heard someone call my name, embrace me, compliment my sweater, and how it made me feel to be recognized and appreciated for my creativity. It sounds so simple, but love and joy and unconditional acceptance aren’t complex concepts.

 

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Can you see how this would be AWESOME for my self esteem? (Photo by Karen.)

 

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My Nirvana cabinmates relaxing on the dock.

 

I need to write about Terri’s woodworking class and Kerry’s drawing class—a BIG breakthrough in Kerry’s class especially—but I think I’ve written enough for one entry. I’ll tell you more next week, including more about Sarah Sousa’s poetry. (And Anne took my new author photo!! I’m so thrilled! I’ll post those pics separately.)

 

 

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So cozy!

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments to June Squam 2014, part 2

  1. June 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    This is such a sweet post. Thank you dear heart for your kind kind words! You know I feel the same about you. Such a treat to have such special time with you!
    xoxo Anne

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    June 13, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I agree that sometimes you need to spend money on things that give you a lot of joy. It is a balance between sacrificing on things that don’t mean that much to you and splurging on those that make a difference for you.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.