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.
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.'By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.' - Satsuki Shibuya Click To Tweet
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.
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.
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.
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.