Feeding Your Soul One Mindful, Creative Act At a Time


Feeding Your Soul One Creative Act at a Time, mindfulness and art, mindful art

Photo credit: Tory Williams

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

I’m coming to you fresh from my first Squam Art Retreat on Squam Lake in New Hampshire. As often happens with such experiences, I’ve arrived home inspired, slightly disoriented, and wanting to carry what I felt on retreat into my everyday life. One of the ways I want to do that is by sharing about it with you.

art of mindfulness, mindful art, art and mindfulness

Choose to Live in Abundance

I was delighted by how every aspect of the environment and my experience was infused with generosity and abundance. Handmade flags, fabric garlands, and pom poms decorated our meeting spaces and popped up periodically on tree branches and swimming docks. Sleeping in cabins in the forest on the edge of the lake, we were blessed each day by still waters, the calling of loons, and star-filled nights sitting out on the dock.

art and mindfulness, feeding your soul one mindful creative act, mindful art

[bctt tweet=” ‘By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.’ – Satsuki Shibuya” username=”amymaricle”]

Of all the gifts I received on this retreat, and there were many, the one I found most transformative was the openness of all of the women I met. Each of my teachers generously shared as much as she could, and each of the attendees included me in her conversations, her projects, and her sisterhood. As I think about how a community like this springs up, it occurs to me that we all have an active role in keeping such a safe, creative, and welcoming environment alive.

  • We left fear at the door.
  • We walked in love, in hope, in openness.
  • We sang songs, danced, and let our childlike selves out to play in the company of women.
  • We stepped away from screens and dwelled in the company of one another, and the land and water that held us.
artist community, women artists, mindful art

Rae Hoekstra of www.made-by-rae.com

Mindfully Choosing More Creative Magic

I’ve been thinking about what this experience has to tell me about my life right now. Of course, much of it has to do with slowing down, paying attention to the moment, and choosing more art. These are some of my lessons learned:

  • Getting away to cultivate creative sisterhood feeds my soul. It’s a priority.
  • I need to limit my screen time and invest energy in the things that feed me.
  • There is more space for creative magic and wonder in my life.
  • I can choose to live in an abundant world, giving and receiving openly.
  • Stay focused on the positive. This brings more light to everyone.


mindful art, the art of mindfulness, art and mindfulness

What I made in my printmaking class with Penny Dullaghan.


mindful art, mindfulness and art, art of mindfulness

One of the many bits of wonder I found on trails around the lake.


imperfect art, mindful art, mindful fiber arts, Sew Liberated

Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated practicing some beautiful sashiko mending on her miniskirt. You can find her gorgeous patterns at: http://sewliberated.com  – I want to do this to my jeans! 

My Creative Self-Care

With these lessons in mind, I’ve been changing the way I do things. Some of these new habits may stick, some may change, but experimenting and writing about it are important steps in the process. So here’s what I’m doing now:

  • I’m writing a poem a day on my dry erase board to inject poetry into our family life.
  • I reorganized my studio to feel more welcoming and cohesive.
  • I leave my phone in the other room to minimize mindlessly “checking it.”
  • I keep a question on my art table: Is what you are doing right now feeding your soul? 
  • I gifted a class to a couple of friends at Squam who really moved me.

home art studio, studio organization

There are things I still need to do, such as placing a few reminders from Squam around my home, and pulling together an art date with Squam friends. I know I will do these things though, because I’ve been reminded how much it matters.


Mindful Art Resources

  • Mindful Art Studio Classes – Learn to tune into the moment by playing with art.
  • Squam Art Retreats – Fall and Spring retreats on Squam Lake, NH – I’m almost afraid to share this amazing secret!
  • Tory Williams Photography – Her workshop was the BEST class I’ve ever taken. I hope you can see the difference in my photos!
  • Made by Rae – Find lovely patterns for making clothing at all skill levels. She’s the artsy lady pictured above with the glasses.
  • Sew Liberated – Meg is the funky lady making the beautiful patch on her mini skirt, and she also teaches and sells patterns, and blogs about sewing, home schooling, and parenting a child with medical needs.
  •  Penny Dullaghan – See her beautiful illustrations and check out her moving post on parenting and pain.

I’d like to leave you with this image: As I drove away from Squam Lake, down sunlit, winding roads flanked by forests and fields, I felt a pure, warm lightness in me that I haven’t felt in a long time. I carry it now still, and hope I’ve offered some of it to you.

Creatively Yours,








  1. Cindy

    So beautiful, Amy! Thank you (as always) for sharing deeply and with meaning. 💕

    • Amy Johnson Maricle


      It means so much to me that folks take the time to read and to comment as well. Thank you so much for that gift. I’m so happy that my words and pictures reached you.
      Creatively Yours,

  2. Sally Swain

    Absolutely beautiful, Amy, on every level.
    Thank you.
    May you continue to bathe in that light of de-light.
    love from Sally

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Thank you so kindly Sally, you always bring positivity and beauty. Thank you.

      XO Amy

  3. Eileen

    I am just so thrilled that you took the time for yourself to experience the power of community with other artists, Amy! I can feel your increased enthusuasm, joy and wonder! Can’t wait to see how this transforms your life and your art, because it most certainly will!!
    Namaste, beautiful lady!♡

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Eileen: You are such a wonderful part of my community of artists online, who always brings joy and wonder to me and others. Thank you!!!


  4. Joanna Ghosh

    Sounds like the retreat was amazing! Would love to hear more. The photo of you on the rock near the dock really captures you. I love it!

    • Amy Johnson Maricle


      Hello my sweet friend! I cannot wait to tell you more about it. And the photo is by my photo teacher, and now friend, Tory Williams. I thought it felt really me too. Thank you. XOXOXO Amy

  5. Anja Meurer

    Hooray to creative sisterhood! I enjoyed your soulful article and the pictures, especially the one which shows the work from your printmaking class!

  6. Leisanne

    Wow! What an amazing experience. Your inspiration to make more time for mindfulness and creativity are motivation for me.
    I have never been to an art retreat, but my father-in-law used to have a house in the Laurentian mountains in Quebec. I loved going there. We had a private beach that overlooked the mountains and large birch trees that grew all over the property. Being in nature grounded me, and reminded me that I played a small part in the larger scheme of things. Not that I was small, but rather that my problems were small. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s hard to explain. I always returned home feeling hopeful and refreshed.
    I’m so happy for you!

    • Amy Johnson Maricle


      I do TOTALLY understand what you mean. I love the way I feel small and put into perspective in nature. It really does ground and center me. Thank you for the lovely vision and for being here!

  7. Margi smith

    I feel so blessed that another Squam Art Workshop has filled my soul with the creative time and space I crave each fall. It fills the tank and the gift of new friendships that share the spirit of creativity in every part of our lives. I’m so looking forward to carrying the spirit of Squam with me as we gather again this fall in creative circles. And I look forward to diving deep into the Fluid Art workshop and meeting others in this group.
    I love the photos! I see my wish feather on the dream catcher for this year (in orange)

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Margi:

      Yay! It’s so so fun to have met you and I too look forward to many more gatherings and connections with you!
      XO Amy

  8. Rae

    I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write about Squam as well, so it’s lovely to read your thoughts. Definitely magical. It’s hard to put into words, isn’t it? I love what you’ve written about it here. It was very sweet of you to include my photo/link. Thanks for sharing your photos with me!!! 🙂

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Rae – It was so wonderful to connect with you and I can’t wait to do it again next year. xo Amy


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.