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Thursday, July 23, 2015

create with love and it will taste better










I wasn’t quite aware of just how much I needed this creative retreat, until I was well into my second day of the Land and See workshops.
On a whim, back in the winter, and upon the urging of my wonderfully supportive husband, I signed up for this, too good  to be true set of photography workshops that would be held in the summertime on Prince Edward Island. Yes, the place that owns my heart, that place.
I had my reasons for wanting to go. I needed professional development, and this is what professionals do, they attend workshops. But deep down, I knew that there were other, more deep and personal reasons for why I wanted to be there.
These past few years in our isolated community have taken a toll on me. I used to feel guilty for admitting it, but denying my feelings of creative suffocation and loss of my authentic  self, didn’t help anyone in my family, especially myself.
For two years, my personal needs were on hold, as we lived in Beaver Creek for Winslow’s work. And while I love being a stay at home mama, and see a great many wonderful things about it, I also began to feel some resentment, as my needs, dreams and photography were put on hold for us  to be in there. It’s ok to be honest. This is part of our story, and one that I would never change, but I know that I seriously needed to get back in touch with my self.
Enter the crazy idea of attending a 5 day photography workshop, all on my own. It seemed luxurious and somewhat frivolous. Some people mentioned in passing that maybe it would be best to pass it up this time, but I knew, deep down that this was something that I so desperately needed to do.
Preparing for the trip was one hell of a headache. Logistics, an impending transfer, child care. As the hurdles came our way,  I began to have my doubts that this trip was meant to be. Yet still, this quiet yet determined voice inside of me was telling me to not give up on my dream, and I am learning that is so important to honour and listen to own voice.  To ignore your voice is dangerous, it is saying something so true and we must all listen to ourselves.
And so, after arranging flights, car rentals, child care (thanks to Grampy for coming up to help Winslow) and more, there I was, on my way. Nervous, scared, excited and elated, I made my way across the country feeling a sense of gratitude, openness and readiness, for something I hadn’t realized that I needed so, so very badly.

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There I was, day 1 at Land and See, all on my own not knowing a soul.  As I found my way and pulled up to the beautiful country property of Dave and Erin Brosha, I just knew that this setting was magical and unique. Rolling hills of farm fields, big round golden coloured hay bales, green green grass, bright blue skies and the fluffiest white clouds – these details stood out for me, a stark contrast from the mountains and endless wilderness of the Yukon.  I made my way over to the groups of people who were all waiting outside of the 100 year old barn, where the workshops would take place.
One familiar face popped over to say hi, Caitlin Cleveland, a photographer who I greatly admire and respect. Our shared experience in the past brought us closer (we had the opportunity to meet each other last May, when I was in Yellowknife), and I was very much looking forward to hearing her speak and to learn from her.  Right away, she gave me a big hug, which put me at ease, and there I began to feel  that this was going to be a transformative experience  for me.
The days that followed were a nice balance of inspiring artists’ talks, slide shows, break-out sessions (where we followed a mentor of our choice, through their creative process), and hands on free time to work alongside fellow attendees and mentors.  It was hard for me at first to accept these gifts that were mine  for my taking. I kept asking myself, when was the last time that I had this much time to devote to learning and creating, and when was the last time that I had been surrounded by so many creative types. I quickly began to feel mixed emotions (cue pregnancy hormones). It had been 2 long years, of not experiencing those things, and here I was, with as I said, these gifts before me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
As it is to be expected, at the beginning of the week, there were many nerves and shy faces. By the end of the time there, the mood and comfort level had changed completely. It didn’t take long for hugs to be exchanged (freely), and for real emotions to come forth (think a room full of adults in tears). Many of the artists shared some really personal stories and experiences with us. Love, was the repeated theme of many of the talks, so was compassion and empathy. We heard about how photography acted as a form of therapy for one artist deals that with PTSD through his work as a paramedic.  The messages and topics were far beyond the parameters of what I expected we would learn about, they were life lessons, on how to live a true, authentic life. How could someone not be moved?

As I made my tired and weary way back across the country, I took the time to reflect on just how I had been impacted by this week. I think if I had to sum it up, I would say that I truly feel a sense of connectedness (with myself and the others that attended the workshops), and that I needed that sense so much.

I will leave off with this quote shared by a Cape Breton artist, Jon Brown. It spoke to me in many ways.


~ Remember to listen to your heart. When we create with love, it always ….. always tastes better. 


3 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos! The night sky one is incredible.

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  2. Great post! So happy you did this for you. LOVE your photos, but the first one is simply amazing.

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