where ya been?

over the past six months or so, i’ve been writing a weekly column over at the squam blog. but, as i’m not the most verbose of writers, that means i left things a little neglected over here. so today i collected all the links to my writings…mostly for me to have a compiled record of them. but if you didn’t know where i was, and you are curious…here you go!

xo

squam by the sea & obx love

circumnavigation

familia

the tax man

the work of art

hey, they’re just like us

i have a confession to make

it’s spring

my love affair with instagram

sublime moments

dude, the brain

creative rhythmic dancing beings

a few of our favorite things

what in the world was going on

one by one

the art of living

a little yoga to warm your day

a juicy video

advocate for yourself

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!

alchemy & the new squam…

*photo by bella cirovic

so, i’ve been away awhile…but with good reason. i’ve been studying alchemy!

elusive, magical, the sum greater than the parts…

but what do you call it when you transform gold into something more…? because the truth is, we weren’t starting with base anything. elizabeth had already spun silver, and gold, and crystal, and beauty and light.

but somehow *together* took us beyond-the-beyond of what any one of us might have done alone. and what we created…? wow. just wow. a newly designed site (thanks to an amazing web development team), a new store, a new blog where you can actually comment! (so, a new way to allow our community to connect and share). a place to tell your own story, more pictures, videos…and the raves? peruse those and understand why i might have gushed on and on about squam. it really is that good.

oh and the retreats, my lawd the retreats…we have four this year (yes FOUR!) – two in new hampshire, one here in the outer banks again, and….be still my pasta-lovin’ soul ITALY! (each with a whole lotta amazing teachers, new faces and faves from sessions passed).

it feels so good to be a part of this creative collaboration…i am humbled as i sit with these three women and dream up all the lovely we want to bring to you and watch it manifest due to our own unique strengths and talents. fascinating to watch each stand in the power of their light and discerning opinions and knowledge and offer it to the collective good. powerful stuff…very powerful stuff.

so come on over…we are ready for you!

squam: creativity as a way of life

xo*m

the short and the sweet…

i know, i know…there should be news and photos and all that other good stuff up here about serendipity, right?

but, woah. the aftermath, the re-entry… kind of a tsunami of emotions and things to-do here. the things to-do taking precedence over the processing as serendipity came on the heels of six weeks away from home, and participating in and facilitating four other workshops…

so let me just stay this for now, to all of you who showed up, brought it, laughed, cried, man-handled, cooked, schlepped, searched, sat quietly, painted, cheered, snorted, photographed, cidered, twinkled, shared, AVclubbed, hamburger-toasted, boogied, saved-my-ass, baked, smudged, intended, lead, house-mama’d, crock-potted, hot-tubbed, nightswum, star-gazed, bonfired, journeyed, whip-creamed, stumbled, took control, shrieked, gave, surrendered, s’mored, and essentially made it all it was…

thank you.

{more soon….}

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.

maya donenfeld, you had me at hello…

i sewed.

yes. i. did.

at the june session of squam art workshops – which was, wow, nearly a month ago…june is always a little different for me. i’m not a particularly good knitter (read – can’t knit) nor am i a particularly good seamstress (read – can’t sew). and while there are many, amazing, classes and teachers at the june session, i find i’m a little out of my element. the last thing i made in the textile realm was 28 years ago and it was an embarrassing failure of a turtle pillow…remember these guys? yeah – he never even made it home. poor thing…

this photo has nothing at all to do with maya donenfeld

needle-less (ha!!) to say…the talented creators who find their way to the june session make such incredible wearable art! give me some paint and paper and an abstract idea and i’m game to play…but to be challenged to make something that might need to actually be identifiable by the conscious mind or another human being and i feel a wee bit of anxiety.

so i chickened out. i mean, i didn’t even bring anything on the supply list i had been given in order to be prepared to take the class i had registered for – Reinvention. it had sounded so GREAT, such a cool class about reusing old stuff to make new cool stuff, and i’d heard such incredible things about maya donenfeld and her teaching from last year that i was instantly hooked. and i knew i wanted to try something out of my element. then when maya emailed us about the projects we were going to do – we could make a skirt or a burlap bucket, i chose the skirt – i read through the pattern and actually thought – oh my god. i can TOTALLY do this!

so what happened between that moment and the moment of packing up my stuff, i have no idea…i just know i didn’t think i could do it anymore. didn’t want to try. didn’t want to put in the effort. didn’t want to be embarrassed…ah-ha! there it was….shame. because i had done so poorly in 8th grade.

enter maya. i met her in the days leading up to our class on friday…and sheepishly admitted my anxiety. she stopped me, parked me in front of her, took my arms in her hands and looked me dead in the eye with all the seriousness of a mom trying to get something important through to her kid. “You can do this,” she said. “just come. i have everything you need. i’ll be with you. i’ll show you. you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, but just come.”

friday morning before i got out of bed, i still wasn’t going.

but then i did.

maya rounded us up first thing to introduce ourselves…i admitted my fears but i wasn’t the only one who had no idea what i was doing. she took us through the structure of the day, set us loose on some incredible linen scraps to make a scarf and we were off. i sat down at my machine. it was brand new, had never even been used before (i found out later that singer had donated them all to the workshop, how cool of them!?) and it sat there all shiny and unthreaded and daunting with all it’s knobs and hooks. so i opened the manual and guess what?  it was BRILLIANT and easy to read and i threaded the whole thing by myself! when maya came by to get me started – i was already done! she gave me some pointers on how to start and finish (locking the stichtes) and then it was all about piecing together my design. cutting, sewing, adding in more linen: you can see me focusing back there on my plan (and isn’t her classroom cute?).

photo by maya donenfeld

the afternoon was intended for us to tackle our skirt or bucket project. but i was really into my scarf and afraid of walking out of the class with two unfinished projects. so i opted to stick with it and finish…and it just kept getting longer and longer, turning into this dr. who-ish patchwork. i even got to add a little bit of ruffle to the edges to learn how to do that too (easy!). then it was topstichted and voila! done!

photo by maya donenfeld 

and maya is such a natural. not only sweet and complimentary and supportive but truly all the things you want in a teacher…she teaches you the skills, demonstrates, explains them well and a few different ways, supports you, let’s you try, tells you if there’s a better way and gives you the confidence you need so that when you leave you are ready to try again.

and really…that sums up my squam experience every time…not just in the classroom but in the life skills department too…seriously. read that last sentence again. it’s true. xo

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

blogiversary…

yup…it’s my three year anniversary of starting blissful*thinking. i remember the day…and i wish i had more time to reflect on the journey today, but alas this is what my life looks like right now:

many, many real and imaginary reasons for the above disaster. but can you look away from the mess and see that sweet little puppy face? cute, right? well he just jumped out of his playpen…he’s a willful teenager asserting himself whenever he can. which is fun, and has me in stitches most of the time. this morning…not so much. back in he goes…

and i wish i had more to say. but let’s just say the embarrassing clutter on my dining room table that is serving as my desk as i remodel my office, and the fog out the window that are making the gorgeous view completely invisible… are precise metaphors for how my brain feels right now.

overwhelmed

cluttered

and foggy.

i know the clarity will return. and i’m waiting patiently, taking deep breaths in between grinding through the to-do list and daydreaming of sunshine, deep woods, the smell of pine, pink unicorns and soulful, sacred work because…registration is open for SQUAM ART WORKSHOPS and you all know how near and dear elizabeth and squam are to my heart and soul…i’m teaching again in both June & September, two lovely yoga/sacred movment classes both held on campus this year. so come get grounded and spread your wings. there is so much fun to be had on the docks of that magical lake… see: