Five years ago, I attended Squam Art Workshops for the first time. I went reluctantly, fearfully into those woods, not knowing what to expect, knowing that I was not an artist, knowing that somehow I would be found out, that I would sit in the corner, and everyone else who was there “belonged”, they were artists, photographers, writers, but not me. I was so very wrong, I did belong there, I was meant to be in those woods and make life-long friends, create art, write stories and learn more about myself. That first year, it was so hard to come home and integrate what had happened in those woods into my every day life. It was difficult to sustain that energy, that love, that support, that creativity into a daily practice. Coming home from Squam, a type of depression would sink in, I’d go into a funk and it was just plan HARD! The first couple of years that I would go to those woods and find a little more of myself, I’d come home and fall back into that funk. Each year it would be a little shorter, but it was still there.
Fast forward to this year, the fifth anniversary of Squam Art Workshops. I entered those woods a more confident, more complete woman. There was no fear or apprehension, no wondering if I belonged there. I know it was exactly where I was meant to be. I was surrounded by the most amazing women, friends ~ most of whom I had met in those woods over the years. This year, those friendships deepened. There were some new connections made too and I look forward to those friendships blossoming. I had more FUN in those woods then ever before. So much laughter and joy, dance parties, lying on the dock looking at stars, skinny dipping in the lake, soaking up the sun while a dear friend played her guitar and sang so sweetly, conversations with new and old friends and totally BEING in each moment.
Coming home this year was easier. It may be because I will see some of those friends again in October at Squam by the Sea, it may be because of the constant text messaging since coming home, it may be because of the fun banter on facebook or the goofy photos. I think the real reason that its easier, this re-entry, is that I know that these friends will be in my life forever, they’re not just friends by the lake, we’ll make plans to gather again on a regular basis, we’ll make the effort to touch base and check in, we’ll celebrate the joys in life and be supportive during the tough times. Re-entry is also easier, because I’m a different person than I was 5 years ago. More comfortable in my own skin, more sure of my self, more ME then ever before.
I look forward to more retreats, because they are important to me. I hope that you are able find some time to retreat, whether its in the woods or by the sea or in your own home. A place to reconnect with your friends, your family, your self. And I wish for you an easy re-entry because it makes it all so much sweeter.
**on another note, I have finally entered the 21st century and have a fancy iPhone. you can find me on Instagram (my new addiction) as myredtutu**