Yesterday I posted about my experience taking classes at Squam. While the courses are absolutely fantastic, what makes Squam so special are all of the Squammies – the delightful creative souls who make the pilgrimage to nourish their souls.
While I always find it unnerving to be in new groups (a bit of “first-day of school” syndrome), the Squam atmosphere is totally warm and inviting. The generosity, heart, and vision of founder Elizabeth MacCrellish infuses the whole experience with love and the retreat naturally draws kindred spirits. Being in an inspiring community and making new connections was definitely a highlight of the retreat.
And of course I had a blast getting to hang out with my pal Leah! That’s us in the Layered Lines class (perhaps a little high from the turpenoid fumes! Ha!).
And here we are being silly as we sat in the Playhouse listening to music and stories.
Here I am with the lovely Susannah Conway. Last year, I was honored to be interviewed by Susannah about my creative life on her blog. Her Open Your Eyes class rocked and I’m inspired to take more pics. “Shoot the red” is engrained in my head!
I loved connecting the dots between people’s web presence and who they are in real life. I’d been hanging out with Louise for a couple of days, but once I saw Louise’s cute business card and recognized her artwork, the lightbulb finally went on above my head, “Oh that’s you!” So funny! And I enjoyed meeting other folks that I knew from blogs and social media. It’s fun to put faces to names and to make a real-life connection.
Here are some of my roomies from the Sommers cabin. Oh boy did we share some laughs! On the last night, Lorrie suggested a wonderful ritual to help us remember our time together. We each decorated a rock with a message and then we randomly picked one out of a bag. The rock I made said, “beauty” and the rock I received said “You are beautiful.” And to top it off, Kristen got my rock and I got Kristen’s. Gotta love the synchronicity.
If Squam is calling to you, make a commitment to your creative spirit and say, “Yes!” Make it happen. You will be inspired. You will be nourished. You will be with your tribe. Sure it costs a pretty penny, you don’t have the time, it can be intimidating to meet new people, it’s a long trek to get there, and when you finally arrive you’ll probably be cold (okay, freezing). But those are just the logistics, details, and flimsy excuses from your inner critic (I know because I’ve heard them, too).
When you say, “Yes!” to an experience like Squam, you’ll be reminded that you’re not alone on your personal journey. That even rock stars like Jonatha Brooke feel vulnerable when they’re singing a new song for the first time. That no matter where you’re from or what your circumstances are, we all yearn for creative expression and connection. That when you honor that yearning you make room for even more creative goodness to blossom.
If you need a little nudge, get the Squam Art Workshops Journal. I had no idea how gorgeous it was until I saw it in person. Seriously, it is like a heavenly slice of Squam that you can hold in your hands. Until the next time I go on retreat, I’m gonna crack this journal open whenever I need a fix of heart-warming, soul-nourishing creative inspiration. Yum.