A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Craft Camp in the most unexpected of circumstances.
As you know I was closing my business and selling off all my beautiful supplies and shouting out loud and wide of my wares for sale to all who would listen.
At the 12th hour, (when these unexpected things usually occur), three amazing beautiful, warm hearted girls breezed into my garage, stocking up on all of my goodies and scoring themselves a pretty discount for their trouble.
They gathered supplies and chatted amongst themselves, stuffing their baskets and asked endless questions.
Fiona, Monica and Lynne were 3 Christian friends creatively brought together to share their love of arts and crafts, and they wondered why they had not found me earlier? As the hour slipped by we learned more and more about each other and things that we shared in common and eventually their creative escape weekend came up and they invited me to join them.
I was surprised by their invitation, and warmed to the idea even though I had only just met them, I didn’t know if they would even remember me when the time came, as invitations were sent out and only the quickest secured a booking. A month later and my invitation arrived followed by a race to secure a spot.
My new friends were friends with Julia another beautiful Christian woman. Julia ran a craft escapes business in her holiday home on Phillip Island, catering for the needs of her creative clientele while they bunked in her beautiful spacious holiday home with a balcony view of tree tops and clotted clouds and you could almost see the ocean, through the leafy canopy.
In a beautifully quiet street tucked away from the busy bustle of what now is a thriving community on Phillip Island, Julia had transformed the entire downstairs rumpus room for us. We had our own personal overhead lighting and an entire trestle table at our disposal, along with a side table for all our extra supplies. As I entered and settled, I quickly learnt that I had been invited to Julia’s private crafting weekend, where she joined in with her friends for a refreshing time of creating.
I arrived almost last so sleeping options were limited, however we were not a full house only 8 in a home that slept 11 or 12 and I was thankful to score a bottom bunk, I honestly don’t know how I would have gone climbing stairs, (that might have been a comical sight) I think in retrospect, I would have rather slept on the floor, but I didn’t need to worry a bottom bunk was mine.
I had stopped for extra food supplies on the way, thinking sharing platters and communal eating was the order, however I quickly learnt that you brought what you wanted to eat, and although we sat at the same time sharing conversation, not much food was shared; except cake that is, and there was plenty of that for after and in-between!
I was quickly welcomed into the fold, each girl had already unpacked their creative stations and each table was crammed with supplies and creative opportunities, underneath the tables were also stuffed and we happily shared stamps, pencils, inks and colours as we played with our most favourite supplies.
I sat opposite Lynne one of the most beautiful and generous creative souls I have ever met. She had supplies I had not played with before, I had missed out on so much in my narrow craft supplies business, why had I not ventured into art supplies? There was so much more for me to discover.
Oh my Lynne was creative! I definitely had creation envy, and then quietly wondered if I would be good enough to sit with such talent, but as it turned out I needn’t have worried, these girls were the most generous bunch of girls that I had had my pleasure to sit with and create beside, on the second day Lynne took me upstairs and gave me a personal one on one face drawing lesson, I was shocked at what I was able to draw and carefully left the marks on my face so that I had some sort of reference should I dare to give it another go.
We talked a little and created a lot, Lynne more than me, she was a gun. I know that she didn’t always have this confidence, I hoped one day to have a cup full of what she had, the ability to create without fear, I think that is what has held me back for so many years, the fear that I will be judged for not being good enough, so I sit gathering supplies and never actually using all my supplies, and when I do; I find a dried up pot of paint or a maker with no colour left because it has sat on the shelf for 10 years waiting patiently for me to pick it up.
Having Christina’s Crafts, allowed me to collect a lot of supplies, and some of them I will treasure forever, but for the most of them, I wonder why they are even in my collection, paints that have never been opened and pastels that have never been held and then Lynne shows me a whole new bunch of supplies that I envy not owning myself. I have to admit taking hours to search online for some watercolour crayons, which; to make matters worse, they recently announced the discontinuation of a whole bunch of colours, so I have been searching for them high and low on the internet, locally (almost impossible) and internationally, such a bother and great expense to ship, and for what, it’s not like I don’t have something like it already in my supply stash, not many colours but the same principal, it’s definitely supply envy, I think there was a slogan going around a few years ago “she who dies with the most supplies wins” or maybe that was “the most stamps” I’m sure in contention for both of those!
Anyway, one of the things I really wanted to share with you today, is the fact that we need to find our tribe, our own group of women who nurture our soul, a bunch of ladies who lift you up and make you strong and make you believe that you are better than you are; because beautiful soul (listen to me now) you are actually better than you believe yourself to be.
Unfortunately we continually put ourselves down, so much so that eventually, after years of this critical chatter, we actually start to believe the rubbish that our inner critic says. And when you are over 50, and divorced and hold within you baskets of unopened and unfilled dreams, and handfuls of broken and shattered moments that seem unbearable to balance or hold, we kind of slump over in a defeated stance and wonder if it really is worth the bother to stand up, because our bones ache, and our body is worn and wretched and you don’t have to be over 50 to feel any of this, being a woman is reason enough!
But a moment spent in the company of local tribal women, your kind of tribal woman who might be quirky or unusual or normal or not, or fat or thin, or tall or short, sick or annoyingly healthy, it matters not what it is, what matters is that it is common to you, a part of you, something that you are or that you do and when you gather you feel that instant release of everything that you are holding, you put down your baggage and you sit in the moment holding onto the common that you share and storing up the fruit of the gathering so that you can remember it when you have gone home.
I found my creative tribe in Phillip island that weekend, and I am forever thankful that I have found some friends for life, friends who will share with me and champion me and challenge me to push my creative boundaries.
I will have to wait to visit them again, but hopefully my new friendships will flourish in-between and I promise not to bring so much food next time when I return.
Go out today and find your tribe, don’t settle for friendships that do not challenge you, nurture you, and make you want to be a better version of yourself.
As challenging as life is, we are often the author of our own misfortunes, but we can also be the author of our own new and exciting unopened opportunities, it does not matter who you are or how old you are, unfilled dreams are only there because you dared not to step into them. Gather around you the treasured friends and support team who will lift you up and help you to believe in yourself.
My creative tribes and my life tribes consists of many and varied friends and colleagues, on different days and for different reasons, but I am forever thankful that I found a new creative tribe, it was like I was stepping into something wonderfully different; and I must make the time to create more next year, and when I do I think new things will open up and new opportunities will appear, maybe not the sparkling lights and accolades that I dreamed of in my youth, but a new sort of sparkling light that will warm me from the inside that I will care not of the accolades only that my soul is suitably satisfied, that will be a beautiful place to reside, and a magical place to rest.
I hope that you have found your tribe, I pray that you will forever search for the opportunity to grow your tribe or better yet create a whole new tribe for each and every facet of your beautiful life.
Don’t waste another moment wondering what your life could be, go out today and stretch your out reached hands and grab hold of it, there is nobody else who can live your life except you, and there is nobody else who can make it beautiful and exciting and wonderful except you.
Be the best you, you could ever be no matter what!