Saturday, 3 August 2013

Warning - lots of waffle in this post

I know I have been going on a lot about the Fat Quarterly Retreat in my last few posts, but there is just one thing more I wanted to talk about in more detail and that is the community element.

The last year has been tough for me, mentally and emotionally. I have juggled part time working away from home with my counselling studies and then added voluntary placements for counselling into that mix as well.
Working with clients, particularly the young people has been very moving and I feel I have experienced every emotion possible in there with them.

Apart from the academic aspect of the counselling course it’s also necessary to re-examine ourselves and dig deep into our own wounds. This is so that we are really sure we have come to terms with them in case our clients bring stuff that are triggers for us so it is totally necessary. But, I have a lot of very deep wounds going back into my early childhood and it’s been a difficult process.
By the end of the school year, I was feeling exhausted and drained, physically but most of all emotionally. I was full of doubts about even carrying on with the course next year. All I wanted to do was hibernate – I really thought that was what I needed. But the retreat was the next weekend. To be honest, there was a part of me tempted not to go. I didn’t think I could “put on a happy face” and deal with it.

The thing is, I was so very wrong. There was no need to “put on a happy face” as being with such a great bunch of people, friends I already knew and friends I made that weekend was the greatest therapy I could have.
From the minute I arrived, the energy of the group nourished my soul. I know that sounds a bit flowery and fanciful, but that is what I experienced. The whole weekend was joyful and that sense of fun and being with great people replenished something in me that was running empty.

My course focuses a lot on the here and now. But for me that is a hard place to stay. I can brood on the past or try and anticipate the future but I struggle to stay in the present. To really experience it as it is happening.
After the retreat I spent some time reflecting and realised for the whole weekend I was truly present and by being there completely I experienced the people around me in such a fulfilling way.

This feeling was only possible because of the great community quilters have - I want to thank you all for being part of that community.

And if you are still reading after all that fluffiness, I’ve also been sewing up a storm this week with all that fantastic energy and finished three quilts!
Firstly, this is a scrap string quilt that has been on the go for a couple of years.

These next two are only little for a charity, roughly 30x40 inch each and also use scraps etc.


Leanne said...

I am so glad you came and it was so great to get to see you and visit over lunch too. I totally agree with you, the retreat is about being with your people, I felt much the same way. And look at your beautiful quilts, I hope the summer is fun and renewing for you.

Judith, Belfast said...

There is something therapeutic about being with like-minded creative folks! I know a little of your counselling process - not easy having to go back and hold historical pain. But you will benefit from it in the long run. Plenty of emotional boundaries and fun activities to distract and detach now again is highly recommended!! Hugs Jxo

Pippa Parsons said...

You were fab and helped make my weekend such a laugh
Really love the string quilt

Charlotte said...

awww, sweetie! xxxxxxxxxxx

Shay said...

Being able to let go of those immediate feelings is one of the hardest things to do. Being with people who share your passions can be a panacea for all that ails you. I struggle with letting go all the time. Im glad you were able to take that step and enjoy yourself.

Love that string quilt. It reminds me of a rainbow.

Marg said...

I'm so pleased that you went to the retreat, and we met. It was wonderful getting to know you in person and catching up with you again a couple of days later. I can count that as the highlight of my time in London, thank you.
Way to go on finishing three projects, now if only I could harness some of your energy and get back into sewing.

moira said...

look at what you can do when you don't have a sneezing numptie sitting next to you! hugs x

Lane said...

Love the string quilt. You have such an eye for placement. Glad you made it through and it didn't stop you. Be well. Lane

Sarah Lou said...

It was lovely to catch up with you at Retreat, I really felt much more comfortable with people like you to chat with. Love the new quilts too x

Canadian Abroad said...

A beautifully written post. We all get uplifted by each other as we all have our low moments. I, like you, appreciate this community hugely.