We carry our bags into tipis near the lake in breathless silence. We’ve been here before, stood on the dock and gazed across the small expanse of deep waters the color of emeralds. Eventually, we gather in the lodge, a circle of 100 women eagerly anticipating a weekend of yoga, creativity and activism.
We ache to hear stories of women world-changers, inspirers and brave women who let the world break them open in authenticity.
The days are filled with conversations about writing, art, self-acceptance and finding your purpose. I’ve been waiting for this weekend since last summer when we gathered at camp before – 3 days of lakeside depth and heart conversations built dear friendships that I’ve carried with me all year. I’m sure it will happen again.
|Naseem Rakha, Author speaking at Muse|
Muse Camp exists for women to find their inner muse, to be inspired by stories shared in community and to passionately leap into the unknown – the places we know in our gut are where we must work – through the ego, our selfish places and our fears, in order to come out the other side into the unknown. It’s scary. I’ve come to camp knowing some big thing will take place – but I’m not totally sure what it is.
The last night of camp we gather in the library, seated on floor pillows like an ancient rent tent surrounded with books on the arts and the gentle hum of the wind in the trees outside. Three minute muse begins. Women bravely stand before the room and share three minutes of their story – a snippet of courage, joy, struggle or sadness and we cheer and clap, because we relate.
Eventually a stream of young teen muses stands before us sharing stories we hope young women would not have faced so early in life. These brave girls bare their soul with such courage, such knowing and such authenticity about how the mistakes they made in life and what they learned and what they found in community with other “troubled teens” at boarding school.
I wonder if this depth of authenticity could happen outside of camp? Would we recognize the power of our stories in small conversations with a co-worker or an acquaintance on the street? Perhaps that depth isn’t appropriate in all circumstances, but when someone breaks open before you and lays out their grit, their story – what a privilege it is to witness!
|The closing ceremony - friendships forged, releasing things into the fire|
Muse Camp once again reminded me the power of breaking open, of the power of community and the beautiful reason we must share our stories. Our stories and our lives are meant to be shared. It’s in our communities that we find ourselves, renew our courage and discover that our voice matters.
We are the ones we have been waiting for – until we allow ourselves to recognize our worth, we stay small. We feel we have little to contribute and we continue in our smallness until we finally break open and recognize story is what brings us together.
Yes, something big happened at Muse - I found a dream once buried - I want to create full time, get out of my own way and dive head first into the depth. I'm still figuring out what that means and how it will unfurl in the months ahead, but I know now, two months out of an "awakening" of sorts due to autoimmune disorders, that life is truly what you make it. It can be a beautiful mystery or a scarcity complex of fear.
What are you making your life, oh brave authentic women?