Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Session

"Any little bit of experimenting in self-nurturance is very frightening for most of us." - Julia Cameron

After eating some good food and chatting for awhile at the Bloggy Girl Get Together, Jen had us all gather in the family room where she proceeded to draw names and hand out the wonderful gifts that everyone had provided for the raffle.

It was so much fun, like kids at Christmas, wondering what each package might contain. The big surprise was that my name was the first to be called and I was the recipient of a beautiful green pashmina that Penny's daughter had sent from New York. Gosh, I feel stylish!

I wrapped the pashmina around my neck and threw one end over my shoulder in a flourish. It felt good.

After opening all the gifts, Jen did something that simply transformed the day from something wonderful to something amazing. She asked each of us, one at a time, to share with the other women the essence of our blogging experience, how long we've been blogging, why we blog, what we get in return, just anything that we felt important to convey.

Each of us listened and took away the message that resonated with us as individuals. The memorable lives in our minds.

Vicki is so funny. She sees life through a joyful and happy lens. She's got a career as a comedienne, just around the corner.

Jayme's story about how she came to be a blogger was so incredible and typical. She had been reading blogs for awhile, but being a blogger didn't appeal to her. Until one day she baked a cake. She stood for a moment looking at her creation and said to herself, "The world has got to see this!"

And thus, a new blogger was born.

Anne Marie and Annie

Anne Marie and her husband operate a farm west of here and they sell their produce through a subscription system. She also home schools her children and blogs. She literally reduced me to tears with her story of how their beautiful barn burned to the ground in less than 30 minutes and how she has struggled with the loss.

Annie's blog is entitled, Drawing a Blank, and trust me, when it was her turn to speak she did not draw a blank. She spoke with such eloquence and passion about how women should seek to support and encourage each other, as we had done this very day. She also introduced all of us to a fabulous word - gobsmacked. Yes, she was gobsmacked by this gathering, as we all were. Annie had a future as a motivational speaker. Believe it.

As Annie said, here we were, women of all different sizes, socio-economic backgrounds, different ages, different religions and different lives. We all found a common ground based on our creative energies and our common threads.

Throughout the gathering I did not hear one woman refer to herself as someone's wife and someone's mother. We live a life being identified on the basis of those relationships but we are more than that, we are also individuals with our own talents and interests. Sometimes we forget that and allow the other identifiers to bury who we are.

There is a balance to strive for and in order to be energized for those we love, we must take time for ourselves and our creative passions. No one knows this better than me. At one point in my life I gave everthing of myself away. No one required that of me. Foolishly I barreled headlong down a dangerous path. It lead me to unhappiness and severe depression.

The lesson is clear. Be true to who you are, no keeping up with the Jonses' or striving to be what your mother (father/brother/friends) want you to be. Take time for yourself and put aside time to recharge and nurture. Lock yourself in a closet if necessary. Get together with friends - old or new.

And so, today I wish a new friend Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday Penny!

Penny attended the get-together because she said she wanted to do something brave for her birthday. It is brave to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and walk into a room full of strangers. Hooray for Penny and all those who to do something, "just for them".

On the way out the door we received these beautiful gift bags (thanks Jen) filled with great things created by the talents of these women. But the best gift of all could not be contained in this bag.

Links to the blogs:

Cindy - Cottage Instincts
Jayme - Tales from the Coop Keeper
Traci - Traci Thorson Photography
Jen - Sanctuary Arts
Ann Marie - Na-Da Farm Life with Ann Marie
Joan - Anything Goes Here
Annie - Drawing a Blank
Joy - Savvy City Farmer
Tracey - French Larkspur
Amy - The Maisy Report


Jenni said...

I'm so glad you had a good time at your bloggy get together.

This paragraph described perfectly for me one of the main reasons I blog:
"Throughout the gathering I did not hear one woman refer to herself as someone's wife and someone's mother. We live a life being identified on the basis of those relationships but we are more than that, we are also individuals with our own talents and interests. Sometimes we forget that and allow the other identifiers to bury who we are."

For a long time I thought it was just stay at home moms who suffered from that condition. Last week when I took my census training we were all asked to share a little about ourselves. Most people, men included, defined themselves by their spouses and children. Those who didn't were usually single and chose their education or (mostly former) careers to define themselves. I did it too. Of course, these are also easy answers, and that could be why we use them. It struck me, though, how poorly these things define and describe. Are we afraid to let other people see who we really are, or are we just afraid of finding out who that person reflected in the mirror really is?

StitchinByTheLake said...

Have you given us links to their blogs and I missed it? I'd love to visit them. I am so glad that everyone was themselves rather than someone's wife or mother. That used to be something that weighed on me until I let go of the need to be anyone but me. :) blessings, marlene

Elora said...

What an inspiring day! Wish I'd been there! I keep wondering how to FIND other women bloggers in my region that are close enough to consider doing somthing similar. The only companion blogger I have is my lovely friend, Debbi, who taught me how! And she and I are online nearly every day emailing back and forth. I know there must be other bloggers in our corner of the did the women who attended find each other? Last thought: retired women, too, can find themselves on what they believe are their own lonely, purposeless islands. One of the reasons I began my blog was to try to help redefine "retiree" and "senior" as being a still-vital part of this world! Thank you for sharing, Suzanne!

Patricia said...

What a lovely day....yes, I agree, women should support, encourage, and help each other as much as we can.

Yes ! Please include a link to their blogs, we would love to read those too ! After yours, of course !

Leslie T said...

Fabulous. I agree heartily with your sentiments. We are each unique people defined by our talents, our passions and our individual perspectives.
Your blogger get-together sounds fantastic!

Vee said...

Thank you again for reminding us via Amy and the other gals that we are more than the sum of the relationships. More than wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, whatever. I need to hear/read that again and again.

I'd love to see you wearing your green pashmina.

SusieCR said...

Well spoken. Thank you.

Rebecca said...

Hello Suzanne
It was so nice to meet you and get to know you a little. It was hard to talk to everyone at length. It was such a warm and rewarding experience, can't wait to do it again

Tracey said...

Hi Suzanne! You did such a good job of taking pictures and writing down the events of the get together...I'm impressed! I was too busy gabbing and eating to even take my camera out of my purse! It really was such a wonderful, wonderful one needs to be a little longer!

Loved your green pashmina! You'll get lots of use out of that one...

:) T

Sharon said...

an amazing post with lots to think about...thanks

Anne Marie said...

thank you Suzanne! (a.k.a. founder of the blog....hee hee)

you are so nice....and even better is your preservation efforts....from one farm gal, I say thank you!....