Sunday, October 13, 2013

Design Your Life Camp

"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines." - Whitman

Come sit with me...I have a story to tell you.

Earlier in the summer, when I heard that inspiring author Patti Digh was putting together a "retreat for amazing humans who want to reclaim courage, reignite creativity and reconnect with community" I felt a pang in my heart.  I adore Patti and love her work AND am proud that my art is in three of her books.  I was torn because during the spring I had committed to attend the Embodying Conscious Femininity workshop in July at Omega Institute and was working hard making and selling nest talismans to pay for my tuition and travel.  I simply could not afford to attend both.

I tried to put it out my my mind.  Time passed.  Then it hit me.  "I want to present", it was a like a whisper at first so I tried to ignore it.  It grew louder, "I WANT TO PRESENT at Patti Digh's "Design Your Life Camp!"  This time I listened to my heart and went back to her site to have another look around.  I discovered that she was looking for presenters for "create sessions".  I could hardly believe my eyes.  "I can do that", I said to myself, "I've been designing my life since the day I was born...I'm an artist gone rogue, hosting my own summer camp in a tipi, leading wintry workshops right in my studio...surely I can do this".   I put together a proposal, and nervously asked a beloved wordsmith to make revisions.  I closed my eyes and hit "send". 

I didn't speak of it.  I figured the likelihood of being chosen was fairly slim.  I put it out of my mind and waited for the rejection letter.  The letter never came so I wandered over to her site and discovered this.

 I nearly fell off the chair.

I told my husband in an avalanche of words.  It went something like this:

"I GOT IT!  I want to do this...I want to present because I have something to say and I want to say it - and - creating brings me joy and I want to share that joy with others".

He agreed. 

As the date approached the gremlins began nipping at my heels mumbling things like:

"Oh Wendy, you are a maker, not a speaker...are you sure you want to do this?"
"I speak with my hands", I replied, "Yes, I want to do this".

"Oh Weeenndy, you work with kids not adults...are you sure you can do this?"
"We are every age we've ever lived...I'm sure I can do this", I replied.

"Aren't you scared", they asked.
"Yes", I replied, "So what".

I was terrified, but I kept prepping and packing.

On the eve of the opening ceremony I made a beeline for Patti and said, "I'm terrified".  She smiled in a way that said everything and hugged me warmly.   So, I told the gremlins to go jump in the lake. 

I went to dinner with my family then grabbed some googly eye magnets and made some opportunistic faces before getting some rest.  They make me laugh and laughter is good.

The next day my husband and son found a lovely, shady spot on the hill near the lake.  I hauled my supplies to and fro with a hand cart.  The view was spectacular.


 A joyful group of kindred spirits gathered to play with me and hear what I had to say.   They made me feel welcome as though we were old friends.  (Mighty Moms, please try to attend one of Patti Digh's upcoming retreats.  You'll be glad that you did.)  I feel blessed in ways that I can't articulate.

Blessed to be able to share something that brings me so much joy.

Blessed to create with these amazing women.

Blessed to be amongst my tribe.

Blessed to have the support of my family and friends.


Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.  - Adrienne Rich


My name is Wendy
I came through Joyce,
who came through Irma,
who came through Geneva,
who came through Augusta.
I was born a maker....

If you had told me that one day I would be presenting at the same event as some of the greatest poets, musicians, writers and inspiring people of our lifetime...I would have said, "You're crazy".

If you had told me that one day I would have a breakfast chat with author whose book I read 21 years ago...I would have said, "NO WAY", but it happened...yes it did.

So if I'm just a little bit speechless, I hope you understand.  I need to sit with this for a bit and marvel at the wonder of it all. 

May this story inspire you to listen to heart .
May it remind you to follow your bliss.
May it encourage you to find your tribe.
May it enable you to go through the door
and remember your name.

Oh, the gremlins?
They're still in the lake.
I have no room for them,
because my heart is so full.

Postscript:  After the closing ceremony we took our marine-life-lovin' son to the coolest aquarium ever.   I was immediately transfixed by a huge manta ray swimming graceful somersaults when suddenly a ginormous whale shark swam over my head and nearly brought me to my knees.  I've been to a few aquariums in my lifetime, but never I have I seen anything quite like this.  I'm so happy that my boy had this experience.

Afterwards we drove to Athens to dine at The Grit, for a vegetarian birthday feast.  A few years ago I received their awesome cookbook as a gift and I've wanted to eat there ever since.  October 16th marks my 50th ride around the sun and we began celebrating early!

We drove back to the hotel then hit the road the following morning.  Meanwhile, in the backseat, our inspired boy weaved bracelets for all his classmates.


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posted by Wendy at 8:35 PM


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