I recently spent four glorious days in New Hampshire. Without my family. With a bunch of women (and a sprinkling of men) that I had never met. It was glorious. Did I mention that? This was an art retreat called Squam—at Squam Lake. It was filled with fiber-inspired classes, lots of time for knitting, hiking, chatting, imagining, and soul-filling goodness. And it was exactly what I needed. Little did I know when I signed up for this workshop—clear across the country and an indulgence indeed—that it would be happening when I needed it most.

It was illuminating. It was inspiring. It was reinforcing.

The retreat of was filled with so many talented people, but it was the creativity that struck me. And the courage that all of these people have to be creative. To live creative lives. Everyone is creative, but creativity is so quickly misplaced as we grow older.  It’s taken me a long time to embrace being creative. Especially, when I question the worth and quality of what I create and compare it to others’ work. But none of that matters.  If my soul is telling me to create something—anything—I need to do it. It’s what I tell my kids and it’s what I’m increasingly telling myself.

So often, it’s the shoulds that rule my life. I should be home with the kids. I should clean the bathroom. I should mow the lawn. I should go for a run. Yes, these things are all important, but what if the needs ruled my life a bit more often. I need to walk today instead of run. I need to take a nap right now instead of pay the bills. I need to make popcorn for dinner instead of steak. I need to knit a few rows instead of cleaning up the kitchen. I need to photograph this flower. I need to create instead of produce. I need to listen to my soul. My spirit. And follow this path right now.

I’m finding that living a creative life is integral to my happiness.  I had been trying to carve out time to get creative, but failing miserably. Sure, I was doing a bit here and there, but it wasn’t enough and I knew it. Squam reminded me just how important it is to make the time. To embrace these urges and not look back.

I turned 36 a few weeks ago. Leading up to my birthday, I felt compelled to write a list of things to consider during this next year of my life. In no particular order:

–          No more self-doubt

–          Only honesty with myself

–          More self-care

–          Less guilt

–          More joy

–          Welcome spontaneity again

–          Embrace change and challenge

–          Move with purpose even when I don’t know or understand the purpose

–          Reach out more

–          Reclaim friendships

–          Smile more often

–          Love and trust with abandon

These things are important. Creating is a necessity. Living a passionate life is without question. Taking the time to remember these things is mandatory.


12 thoughts on “Renewal

  1. happy belated birthday, amanda!

    i’m so happy you got a chance to recharge and reconnect with your creative self.

    once i learn some knitting basics, i’d love to sit with you to knit and talk and be quiet. i would love to have you in a yoga nap some day soon.

    • Anytime, Tami. I would love a yoga nap, but we keep hosting soup nights on the same afternoons. If we don’t host in July, I’ll be there.

  2. I have enjoyed reading your inspiring thoughts on SAW. I was a newbie this year as well and I can see already where it has affected my outlook on life. Great read.

  3. “I need to create instead of produce.”

    That really spoke to me — sometimes, even my creative efforts fall prey to my deep need to get. things. done. (Too many deadline-oriented gift projects!) Not sure if our paths crossed at Squam, but I too found it a much-needed reminder of what’s important to me. This is a lovely post – and happy birthday!

  4. Great post Amanda! It was so nice to have met you and I LOVE that you are starting to make time for your creative passions. It is so important to hone in on that drive within yourself and do what makes you feel good – block out the “others” and the comparison. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    • Thanks, Anne! It was so great to meet you and chat with you during some of our time at SAW. And I’m loving your blog!

  5. Well said. I felt the same things before… And after! Hoping I’ll make it there again next year. It’s on the top of my plan!

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