Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The gifts of Squam

So, you know when you wake up from a really good dream? For the first couple of moments, you are not sure what you dreamed about, but you just know it was really really good. And if you can rest in the feelings for a bit, slowly the details of the dream come back to you. But often it can be like trying to capture a snow flake: the minute you try to grasp it, it melts away.

The memory of Squam is like that snowflake: in danger of dissolving but captivating my attention as it floats through my body/mind. And like waking from a delightful dream, I want to steep in the feelings in the hope that I can put down all the details to save for a future inspiration-challenged day.

Here are some thoughts I wrote down in my journal while journeying home:

My intention for Squam was to be cleansed; emptied so that I may be filled; and to go in deep and ride the wave.

I leave feeling connected to a new group of creative souls; I leave feeling like I found a mentor/source of inspiration in Sarah Ahearn; I feel excited to know new teachers I wish to experience and learn from in the future.

my piece from Sarah's class Mix It Up!

I leave more confident in myself as a creative being; trusting I will continue to nourish my creativity and it in turn will feed me.

I leave Squam feeling lighter, free from the doubts and concerns that previously nipped at my heels - why do this? why bother? who cares?

I care, I matter, I know I am a light in a constellation of stars illuminating the way back to our source, back to our original purpose which is to Shine. Pure energy released, feeding others, feeding myself.

I leave Squam certain of the knowledge who I am is a work in progress; is a creative adventure unfolding into new layers of light, inspiration, beauty and truth.

I leave Squam understanding my intention is to live life with arms wide open, taking it all in, paint splattered hands lifted to the sky and offering back myself whole and complete.

I can somewhat articulate the what of Squam, but have been thinking about the how. And the answer came to me in the wisdom of my soon-to-be six year old daughter. Apparently her school has been addressing the issue of bullies by using the image of a bucket: there are people who fill your bucket by being nice, helpful, caring or supportive (known as "fillers"); and then there are those that try to take from your bucket by being hurtful or mean (she calls them "dippers".) So I started my day today thinking "I will only acknowledge the fillers and not allow dippers to rob me of my positive energy."

And then I understood the magic of Squam: it is a place inhabited by fillers and devoid of dippers. For four magical days I was surrounded by people who understand what I care about; understand the gremlins that threaten the creative spirit; and stand ready to support, encourage and inspire me knowing that to do so not only fills my bucket, but in turn fills their own.

group shot by Thea Coughlin

So the dream of Squam is a world of nurturing, caring spirits that stand ready and eager to fill my creative bucket. There was no space for dippers at Squam. Indeed, as my daughter is learning in martial arts class, when threatened by bullies - which in my case are those nasty gremlins of doubt, judgment, and comparison - the only response is to step back, plant my feet firmly upon solid ground, hold out my hand and confidently shout "Leave me alone!"

some of my lovelies from Eldorado Cabin

And now I know the other gift of Squam is a tribe ready to shout out with me. I know my Squammie friends have my back. And I have theirs.

Did I mention I was cleansed by the lake? In the moonlight? In my birthday suit? Checking off one more thing from my list of 100 goals for the year.

Thank you Squam for these gifts and the many more I have yet to uncover. And yes, I have lots of lake, feet, and horse shots I will continue to share!

Stephanie & her snazzy socks ♥ i think i took pix of all her footwear!

My advice? Get thee to Squam somehow. You will not regret it. Just bring a heating pad.


  1. Lis, this is a wonderful post...thanks for sharing your excitement. The analogy of the fillers and dippers is great--how amazing to be with a large group of fillers! Love the lake photo!

  2. You always inspire me with your insights,beautiful Lis!Your line "I care,I matter,I know I am a light in a constellation of stars. . ." i might just post on my art room bulletin board, if that's ok :) Many goddess blessings. . .

  3. a beautiful post -- i can *feel* the energy emanating from you..but also the deep, deep calm...it's quite magical.

    SO glad for you....this sounds the most amazing experience (*puts it on list*)

  4. Such a beautiful post, Lis! Sounds like such an amazing, life changing experience!

  5. I DO have your back and it is so nice to know you have mine.. here is to more creative adventures together.. I am so glad to have witnessed (well under the water of course) your checking something off your list ;-)

  6. Haven't checked in for a while, glad you had the "Squam" experience, it is quite magical isn't it. xox Corrine

  7. Shine on Squammie Sistah!! We've got your back. xxx

  8. Oh Lis what a beautiful post, makes me feel like I was there with you just a little bit.

  9. Oh - the post is wonderful and I love the pic on the bench. Made me miss you guys even more.

    Lily - Your ElDorade Cabin Mate!

  10. Ah.... Squam. It was a toss up this summer to choose Squam or Kripalu. Kripalu won this year but Squam is on my wish list. So nice to read of your experience. May all who seek, find such a time as you had. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more about how it all settles in to your soul.

  11. you have described squam so beautifully in this post. and you are right....the magic of squam is the fillers that are there. Ready to cheer you on, listen to your fears, and truly see you. Squam is such a magical place. A place that fills the well. Even having not gone to new Hampshire this year just reading everyone's post and seeing the photographs is filling my well up. It reminds me that there are good things in the world.

  12. You said it, sister! I may not be a Jersey girl, nor "scrappy" (your word), but I definitely always have your back.

    (...And front??!! LLTBM!!!!!!!!!)

    Suzy xo

  13. I was blessed to have you as a cabinmate at Squam. I thank you for your kindness,acceptance and understanding. You most certainly are a "filler" and I will always have your back!

    May we meet again