happy, happy in the new year

the zone.

i. am. in it.

realizing that my life’s work and loves have lead me to this moment, and i am so full of happiness and so thankful for those that have conspired to help me learn so many lessons about how to live. really and truly.

i’ve spent the past few weeks really focussed on squam stuff, but i was able to have an amazing new years weekend with bryan roaming around the island and puttering around the house. it was perfect.

my ever present instagram habit got some play and my photo above was featured on the instagram blog as part of their weekend hashtag project #cornered. the image was taken down in kinnakeet…a cute, little, old, truly authentic, beach-country neighborhood {that’s a lot of adjectives!} on the island to the south of us. it was the first time i had ever played along with the hashtag project and super fun to get a mention. especially since there were nearly 900 photos in the pool!

all that fresh air had us asleep long before midnight new years eve and we awoke to enjoy a gorgeous new years day where we filmed this little video for the squam site on juicing! i have to say, it was way more fun than i thought…i felt comfortable in front of the camera and then i got to do the editing — a skill and art i have always wanted to learn.

when we were all done shooting video, we shot oysters – well really we steamed them, though i prefer them raw.

and they were so good. one of the benefits of living here in the winter…

over at squam central we have giveaways going on all over the place. so if you’d like one of these gorgeous squam teacups – head on over and visit some of our friends’ blogs here:
Susannah Conway – for “m is for magic” (oh and her unravelling the year ahead workbook is really, really lovely and helpful! download it and do it…)
SouleMama – for “q is for quiet”
Maya Donenfeld – for “a is for art”
(and another coming on Friday 6 January!)

also today at the squam blog we launched our super fun Double Dog Dare…so that is something to check out if you need a little nudge or support in the intention/resolution department. i have been DDD’d to move my body every day for at least an hour. yes. an hour. every. day. oy. what time is it? i do have to say i really thrive on these bite-sized self-improvement projects…and the social accountability of it all keeps me honest.

and today is my mom’s birthday…happy birthday! talk about feeling gratitude for your life…

you know when you feel like you are in flow…like the pieces are all falling into place? that’s where i am right now. i am trying to capture this feeling, write it down, express it, photograph it — anything to help me remember it when things get dark and shadowy again. because they do. if there is any lesson i’ve learned it is this…but for now, it is nothing but love & light, baby!

good, just good…

things are good…
it’s not often i get to say that, and feel it with such pure confidence…usually it’s true when i say it, but there is this catch, this…i know it’s not going to last feeling.

and well, yeah, i know it’s not going to last. and i know the moon, and hormones and stress and whatnot are going to spin me off into someplace where i hear myself saying “oh, i just can’t TAKE this”…but right now? it’s good.

in part because i’ve been HOME. and settling into my dream routine. do you have one of those? a perfect schedule in your brain that you think if you could just get it right and commit to it, you’d be happy? no? oh…well i do. and i feel i settled in with it right now. it includes waking up with the sun, spending some quiet time with myself, enjoying coffee with my love and the puppy, and moving my body (zumba has me entranced, and today it was a walk in the dunes – did i mention it’s sunny and like 65 degrees here?). then settling in to work that makes me HAPPY (i have a new gig! a fabulous new gig that i’ll tell you about soon!), then getting off the computer at a decent hour to enjoy a glass of wine as we prepare a meal together, an outdoor shower under the stars, some reading and finally falling asleep blissed out. yeah, easy to please in some ways. but the devil is in the details. so, in fact this morning was pretty much perfect, as was the weekend, and yesterday too (even with some unimaginable tech nightmare stuff) but it makes the stuff that comes up unexpectedly that threatens to drag you into the pits totally, gracefully, manageable.

i’ve also committed early to my theme for 2012…silly. i need more silly. i want to feel more silly. i want my go-to knee-jerk reaction to whatever situation to be my sense of humour (which is there, and pretty good and dare i say raunchy, but it’s hidden under a layer of literal). 2011 theme is here…and so far it’s been ON.

i did this art journaling workshop last weekend in edenton, nc and a place called studioBe…run by my squammy/serendipity girls donna and tracey. it was awesome, such a terrific group of women and so good for me to be on *that* side of the table!

an unfinished page in my art journal…i made this amazing french onion soup on sunday…oh my god – so much EASIER than i would have thought. and yummy and surprisingly healthy (well, if you use veggie broth). and i’m pretending that i might spend this winter making soup every weekend…

i’ve been juicing like crazy and LOVE it. mixing beets, apples, cucumbers, ginger, lemon, carrots, parsley, celery, radishes, peppers…anything i can get my hands on into that juicer and it’s like drinking pure, enlightened, energy.

i’m excited that i get to host thanksgiving this year…it’s been a long time since it’s been at our house and it makes me feel good to know everyone will be here. i hope it’s sunny and warm enough to walk in the dune but chilly enough to have a fire in the fireplace.

so, that’s where i am…sending goodness your way…

the mystery of squam…

~

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. ~ anne lamott

That’s the thing about Squam – it’s a mystery of grace – hard to capture in words and images. It’s an etheral experience, yet grounded in the earth, trees, cold (sometimes), and the clarity of lake water. We pilgrims make the journey and then every day we trod wooded paths and we break through invisible obstacles. My own, some of which I moved through, others I feel I’m knocking on their door, I now know where they are…

My teaching experience felt gorgeous…stage fright (one of my invisible obstacles) tackles me pretty good the morning before I teach, but such beauty walked through the door each time that I was immediately at ease. Just one soul connecting with mine in the classroom and all my anxiety leaves my body. Lucky for me, a full half of my students had been in classes with me previously so at least I could trust they knew what they were getting into :).

Both of my classes ended in a great stillness…my saturday class in particular was so deep, so so still and quiet that my own gremlins and teaching insecurities crept to the surface for a moment – had I done something wrong? Did I leave them somewhere and they don’t know how to get back? Did anyone want to share, I asked. A soft no… so I let it be and trusted that all was well. Slowly they began to move, some came to chat with me to share…and they were good. Really, really good. Peaceful…blissed…centered.

The next day Bridget sent one of her SoulNotes with this:
“I thought of my three-hour yoga class yesterday, and how after we had twisted, and stretched and downward dogged and laid in corpse pose, we each sat up and blinked and none of us said anything for 20 minutes. We sat there in silence. The silence was not prescribed. We weren’t told to be silent. There was just nothing at that moment that would improve upon the silence. Chatter does not equal connection. Quiet does not mean loneliness. When we let go of our own chattering minds, the emptiness is like the hush of a chapel or a clearing in the early morning.”

On the car ride back to Providence, Elizabeth asked me my top 5 squam moments this time around:
1) Twinkle duty with Jen on Wednesday with Jonatha serenading us from the piano…
2) Listening to Kayte’s talk during our opening ceremony…
3) Celebrating Pixie’s 40th birthday with a dance party and “truth branch” circle of initiation to 40-dom…
4) Meditating on our dock before classes each morning… the lake spirits are so pure and clear
5) All the times the laughter was spontaneous, contagious, loud and snorting… as “lightening up” is my new mantra.

In a purely literal sense, i’ve never gone directly home again after Squam. This time I find myself in New York for three weeks. Something I intended back in May in conversation with my girls Madeline and Deanna – to spend a good enough chunk of time in The City each year to feel like I have a city life as well as my beach life – and here it is, Man-i-fested.

On a metaphysical sense, i’ve never gone directly home again after Squam either…or maybe home has shifted to someplace even deeper and more sacred within me. I find myself quiet, centered, comfortable and grateful in this new space – the stillness we found in my classes has come home to roost and I am good.

providence…

i love that elizabeth lives in a town called Providence.

the word itself means the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power. woah. that’s a lot to live up to…

her new city was founded and named by roger williams, after he was banished from massachusetts bay colony for his religious beliefs. his beliefs? religious freedom and the separation of church and state. providence plantation, as he came to call it, became a refuge for those seeking asylum from religious persecution and the freedom to celebrate their higher power the way that felt best to them.

powerful stuff, no?

the first time i heard the word Providence was in an indigo girls song – prince of darkness. while i felt the powerful anthem aspect of the song and it moved me deeply as i was making my way through a challenging period in my twenties, re-reading the lyrics now i understand so much more the intention of the song. what i hear now is a woman discovering her own inner wisdom, her intuition. her dark night of the soul giving way to a clear understanding that she really does have all the support she needs – family, friends, spiritual beleifs. that she can trust. that she needs to listen to her gut and make those tough decisions – those huge, important, scary changes in her life…that she needs to move toward the light.

at the end of the song, the voice of that recognition and understanding makes a declaration of strength:

“my place is of the sun, and this place is of the dark
(my grace, my sight grows stronger, grows stronger)
i do not feel the romance, i do not catch the spark
(and i will not be a pawn to the prince of darkness any longer)”

all of that to say…Providence is intended to be safe haven for those seeking the light and I am so thankful that the spirit of my dear friend will be fed, nurtured and protected in that city. there is so much goodness to come…

~ lightseekers ~

and i find that i’m never alone and i find that my heart is my home…

um, hi…remember me?

let me start with this – things are good. really, really good – usually the silence on this end means i’m hibernating or mulling over something heavy or dark but that’s not the case at all. i’ve just had so much change and travel of late and at the same time i’ve been really trying to embrace the white space created by the transitions going on here. i haven’t had white space like this in, well, ever? i mean – you can’t count the eight weeks i was laid up on the sofa with a broken leg and a cast to my thigh taking percocet like candy and watching dazed and confused, right? so by white space i mean, clear-headed, warm-hearted, fulfilled and open white space. which i am allowing to be filled with things that make me HAPPY. so, lots more yoga, lots more teaching, lots more water, lots more saying yes to fun, lots more cooking, lots more healthy choices, wine (though not lots more. just enough.), lots more visiting with friends, lots more walking in the dune, lots more ocean, lots more music, lots more reading, lots more flower planting, lots more soul-rooting, lots more journaling, lots more daydreaming, and lots more co-creating of a future vision of a playful, well-lived, expressive, creative, day-to-day existence. all of which is actually keeping me pretty busy!

still, there is whitespace – and in that space i can actually hear the drumbeat call of my own heart…and this is what i’ve found*: 

i find that i’m never alone and i find that my heart is my home…

so forgive my brevity tonite and let me leave you with some music and images of what has been making me happiest over the past month. i’ll fill in the blanks in the coming days, but before i go, Know This: i’ve missed you so…

xo

saturday afternoon at the june session of squam… with jen, pixie, jonatha, me, and maya. if there is one image that says all of what squam is to me, this is it…sparkles and divine feminine energy.

(photo by my patient sewing teacher and new soul sister maya donenfeld – i LOVE her)

the most amazing dr. seuss bush jen and i found on some country road in new hampshire…she maintained excellent control of the car when she slammed on the brakes so we could take photos.

my loves…thea, sarah (holding baby ada), and elizabeth in the background.

sarah and thea collaborated on this amazing book this year!

i am so incredibly grateful to these winding paths…

and these views of the lake…

and the love that is all around us…

and the journey…

home.

a morning lightshow off the back porch…

my fave lunch place in c’ville & two of my besties deanna & hillary finally meeting and deciding they were separated at birth…

the textures got me…

nick’s place out in sugar hollow, sacred, sacred ground…deeply healing.

bryan and anton…waiting for the rain to stop…

so we could take this walk out to the swimmin’ hole and take a dip.

as the only non-(professional)-photographer surrounded by nine pro’s for five days solid, it started feeling a little like having the paparazzi following you around. there were a lot of scenes of nine people with cameras to their faces geeking out and laughing as they took photos of each other. here bickford and pete being kinda ridiculous…

who doesn’t love a carnival?

or strawberry shortcake? with home made whipped cream?

not this girl.

*thank you for this, elizabeth…my heart IS full

world tour begins today…

first stop:

two years ago, i journeyed north to my first squam. it was the first time i’d really been traveling on my own for a long, long time. i hadn’t even been off the island for years. as i pulled out of my driveway i was bawling my eyes out…terrified (so a note to any squammy’s  to be – if you are feeling this sort of fear…i get it. reach out to me. i know it oh so well and i’m here to say the journey is worth every ounce of strength you have). see, my world had become so very, very small. island living is an immense privilege and while i’m happy here on this strip of sand, if you don’t leave it can become isolating…and this life is working hard to be as big as it possibly can. 2011 is shaping up to be a year of travel…today marks the beginning and i’m fired up.

brooklyn, brooklyn take me in…

overstimulation and intention

creating the life you imagine is completely possible.. of this I am certain.

I feel almost too over-stimulated to fully explain why (something about electrons and the blackholes within them and parallel universes.) it’s so difficult to try and process, absorb, and explain to you what I’ve heard, felt, and experienced these past few days. Just an example of what we are examining…

did you know that it has been scientifically proven that intention is a force in the universe….
just a few years ago, quantum physicists discovered that the results of experiments at the quantum (or subatomic level) could be controlled by the intention of the observer. the physicist were trying to prove whether light energy was a wave or a particle. conducting the EXACT SAME experiments, they discovered that light energy became either a wave or a particle depending on the intentions of the person running the experiment. In other words, the thoughts of the scientist created the outcome.

Let that sink in for a second.

its hard to imagine or grasp the power we hold within us if we can tap into using intention. But with great power comes great responsibility…and if we can practice, and develop, and learn to harness and use this power for love and nurturing and healing, then so can those who want to use it to control and dominate.
But first they’d have to believe…so maybe this is the best kept secret of all.

let the revolution begin.