Our Longing For Retreat
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
It’s been two years since I’ve been able to return to one of my most beloved places on earth – to Squam Lake for an art retreat. When I arrived, the lake was a sight for sore eyes, and I felt myself sink into its familiar embrace.
Squam is vast and quiet and serene. The loons speak, ripples lap the the rocks on shore, and thunder clouds spark pink and grey at dusk.
I arrive ready for rest, for respite, for laying down heaviness. I put away my phone, abandoning my habits of “checking,” and pick it up only to take photographs or exchange numbers with new friends. I want to retreat. The tasks that are piling up in my absence will all be there when I return. For these few precious days, I’m unavailable, unreachable, blissfully disconnected.
I retreat into a cocoon of warmth, connection, inspiration, and nature. I go into the water even though it’s cold. I break into song because it feels right. I walk a magical path through the woods to get the few places I need to go each day.
My only job is to be, breathe, connect, and if I wish, create.
I marvel at flowers I’m seeing deeply for the first time.
I accept hugs from new friends – we enfold each other in quiet presence.
I revel in being nurtured and cared for – my meals, my living space, my art materials – have all been provided for me. In this space I find that I have more to give too. I notice little things I can do to make it easier for someone else – ways I can give, ways I can encourage.
And I feel seen, and see others. I can’t properly express how nourishing this exchange is.
I cut a stencil of a rice pattern, and use rice paste to apply it to cloth.
I submerse it in an indigo dye vat, filled with magic.
We marvel at what emerges from the vat and the beautiful simplicity of the materials and process.
And today I return to the world. To my routines, my responsibilities, and the heaviness of the world. I try to take the lessons with me that I learned. I feel the embrace of the lake, the woods, warm hugs, and shared creative community that gives so much life.
I’m so grateful to everyone who was a part of my experience, and especially Kiala Givehand and her Sacred Makers Soul Retreat team.
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