It’s been over three months since I returned to Melbourne from the United States and another Squam experience. Suddenly I find myself at the end of the year without having written this post, which has been floating around my mind since the end of September. If I am honest, I have been struggling to find the words to describe my time at the fall Squam session and the matters that have come into focus for me subsequently.
If you are like me, there are moments in your life which you remember as perfect, golden flashes that are captured in your memory like precious photographs. Squam in September was a continuing series of those instances, one after the other after the next. Meeting my soul sister Camille and driving together to Squam Lake from southern New Hampshire, hearing Elizabeth calling my name through the woods as she came to greet us when we arrived at Rockywold Deephaven Camps and then enfolding me in one of her wonderful hugs. Our full moon ceremony in the Longhouse following our skunk magic experience (about which I will let Elizabeth write in due course). Sharing my hope of more love of all sorts entering my life, and instantly receiving love in response from Elizabeth and Camille. Placing my favourite crystals on Eldorado’s dock in the light of the full super moon after it had risen over the lake. Taking Tara Morris’s life affirming and exuberant photography class. Sinking into the introspective goodness of Camille’s writing class. Feeling all the emotions swelling up to my surface and manifesting themselves in constant tears – happy, joyful, grieving, revelatory, random, embracing. The buttons of my camera under my fingers as I raised the viewfinder to my eye again and again. Being told that someone wants to meet me because she’s read my blog and likes my writing (me! my writing!). The sunlight seeping through the greenest of green woods and striking the lake water each morning and again in the evening. Meeting new friends even though I feel that I have known them forever.
These are just a few of the shining moments that return to me over and over again. As I said to Elizabeth in a recent email, the beautiful space that she creates for us at Squam Art Workshops is the most unexpected and perfect gift because it allows us Squammies to do whatever feels right creatively at any given moment – even if that creativity demands immediate napping or swimming or sitting by an open fire in your cottage being silent amongst the chatter. I’ve spent the last three years or so growing so much as a person and being at Squam with such wonderful people and in such a transcendent environment feels like the reward for all the hard work that I’ve done. Squam is the place where I am entirely me in the rawest and purest sense possible, and it is also the place where I have been the happiest and most at peace for a long time. Each time I’ve come away from Squam with new soul sisters and a deeper knowledge of my capacity to love and to touch others. I’m also learning that, while Squam is indeed a magical land of wonder and love, it is also something that I take with me every time I leave. It is something that I remind myself of daily, and which I try to incorporate into my day to day life far away from that New Hampshire lake.
I was reflecting on this one morning in November when I was reminded of the word that I chose to guide me through 2014. Of course, I had forgotten my word by around 1 March, but that sunny November morning brought it all back to me for some reason. I chose the word “connection” because at the end of last year I felt disconnected from many of my loved ones and from myself in a visceral and concerning way. I wanted to feel connected to the important people in my life, and connected to me – my emotions, my spirit, my self. Even though I’d completely forgotten my word, it came tumbling back to me that morning and I realised that everything that had happened this year had moved me closer and closer to my word. From yoga in Bali to time with friends at home, finding – remembering – new soul sisters and my tribe at Squam, allowing time for creativity and love, living as close to my essence as I dared – all of it was guided by my inherent desire for “connection” even if I wasn’t conscious of it at the time. How lucky am I?
Squam has been such a massive part of 2014 for me. Revelatory, embracing, kindred, family, and big, big love. It has changed everything. It inspires me daily. I am counting the days until I get to return to the lake shores in June 2015.