I used to love talking names with my pregnant aunts, then my pregnant self and friends and even business names with folks birthing a business. I once named a sewing shop for someone — I was just talking off the top of my head, but she liked the name enough to use it, so the Nimble Thimble opened in Newport, Vermont back in 1980. Still have a thimble and ruler with the name stamped on them.
Personally, I don’t like trite, or something that sounds too limiting. For example, even though I refer to my retreat as BEAR, for Bay End Art Retreat, I don’t necessarily want to call it that. My first two retreats will be at Bay End, but who knows? I love to travel and may want to create retreats in different venues. So no names that are venue specific. I’m not sure what it will be but something that is wordplay of a sort, branding — when someone types in BEAR, this retreat will hardly be at the top of the search engines. Now I bet if I googled Squam it would be right up there. Or Verizon, Comcast and so on. So as this dream unfolds, so too, will a name.
Now, go make a cup of tea and maybe grab a snack (I have some salty oatmeal cookies that I love), because I can have a knack for making a short story long. (I rarely write long blog posts because it’s hard for me to read other’s long blog posts — too much info on a screen rather than a page can overwhelm me sometimes).
I’m not sure I fantasized about creating women’s retreats when I lived in Vermont, but when I moved back to Cape Cod twelve years ago, I mourned my beloved Vermont (I still do). Was I crazy?? What was I thinking? I beat myself up for giving up not only an incredible house, but also a strong support network I’d built of friends and local community. There was always someone I could connect with in person, so important for me. I didn’t have to seek hard to find connection when I needed it. A few weeks ago I reread my pros and cons list I wrote when I struggled with the decision to stay in Vermont or leave, I didn’t have the distance from it that I do now — clear as day! — 2 negatives and 6 positives for Vermont, and 2 positives (one, a job that I left within a year after moving back), and 6 negatives for the cape — go figure.
I found a wonderful, very cool (and very old) psychiatrist to help me work through parenting struggles, guilt and grief. Her office was in her home down lanes that twist and turn. The bathroom wall was a mural of Lascaux. She turned me on to Jungian psychology, Carolyn Myss (and her book The Anatomy of Choice, to help me come to terms with my choice of leaving Vermont), synchronicity, the Celestine Prophecy and so on. Those books led me to others and I started dancing, too (one of my longtime friends at the library had told me about belly dancing). Katrina, my dance teacher turned me on to more books and resources — Goddesses in Everywoman, Women Who Run with the Wolves, and more. I was insatiable. I even went back to church for a while — at a church in Baltimore I heard a priest tell us for the first time about the divine feminine, who was there in the very beginning — Sophia — wisdom. I was thrilled to finally hear a priest speak of a feminine power beyond Mary.
Each step I took brought me deeper into a wonderful spirituality and connection I’ve found hard to maintain over the years, and yet that was what sustained me at that time, brought me joy, made me feel good, and gave me a great community to heal and grow with. The community changed over time, as communities do and with that change it became harder to sustain. I stopped dancing, but never stopped reading. I turned to blogs more and more and found another community, still not enough.
I think blogs are beautiful; they have been lifesavers for me in very lonely, dreary times, but I still long for conscious connection in real time, however I can get it. Finding kindred souls is not easy. Maintaining connection is not easy. It takes time, and many people are too busy with hand to mouth survival to take that time. It’s hard, but I do believe it’s something we all need — to take the time.
What I am learning is maybe I need to take the time to be the person to create the connection I seek. And so I begin. Again. More in tomorrow’s post.
** the above photo, taken almost 5 years ago, represents a piece of me that’s still in Vermont