renewal

The Finale

Welp… this is a post that was both really hard and really easy to write.

And we’re sharing the details because we know that making hard decisions about where to put your energy is a necessary part of being creative - so we hope it helps someone out there.

Although we adore Creative Soul Weekend, and everything that it has brought us these last four years, we’ve been talking and we’ve realized… it is time for us to wrap it up.

Leah started the conversation in an email at the start of April, saying she felt like although she wasn’t burnt out yet, that she could see burnout around the corner. Her son Aidan is growing quickly, she works full time, and she wants to take a few things off her plate to make more space in her day-to-day life, more time to be present with her son and in her own life.

But it’s hard to admit that!

“I have so many fears about admitting this - that I’ll lose touch with you, that you’ll be mad at me, that it means CSW failed, that I'll be letting down all the gals who have been so supportive of us.”

Emily responded by email quickly:

“Is it bad that I had a sense of relief when you sent this? I've been back and forth for months. One day all in. The next, ready to send you this same email. Then back to being in love with it.“

Turned out Emily was feeling the same way. Although she had left her day job to focus on her growing design business, somehow it felt like her plate was as full as ever with volunteer commitments and a bustling biz. (Also - funny how that happens… the conversations we put off having because we’re so scared our collaborators or our partners or friends will be mad, are often the ones that they’re scared to have with US.)

Leah responded:

“Yeah, it's funny how little commitments sneak their way in, one little one at a time until before you know it you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off, wondering how the hell this happened.”

You think burnout is something you vanquish once in your life but it turns out to be like weeding a garden: perennial, constant, necessary.

+++

For both of us, Creative Soul Weekend has always been a passion project. Meaning, it is our passion, and nothing else, that fuels our work for it. We do not make money from it. The project breaks even - all money we take in goes directly to pay for the costs.

Just last month, at the Mini, washing dishes after everyone had gone, we were talking about growth of the project, about potential business models we could use. Social enterprise? Co-op? Non-profit? We wanted to grow, but although when we first started Creative Soul Weekend we dreamt of making it a for-profit business, we learned as the years went by that in order to do that we would have to charge a fair bit more money than we already did, which would in turn make the event more exclusive. And as the years have gone by and we’ve both grown in our social consciousness, exclusivity is not something we want. Self-care and creative development should not be only for those with money, for those with privilege.

But, without earning money from the project, it’s a fair bit of work for a volunteer gig. And though we’ve gotten so much from it in other ways (friendship, both with each other and our participants; joy; pride in creating events that have shifted people’s lives) - well, life changes. We change. And in our fifth year we’ve both come to the realization that we have limits. We only have so much energy, and there are other things in our lives that need our full attention more.

So with gratitude, we are wrapping Creative Soul Weekend up. BUT this is our fifth year and the cabin is already booked, SO - here’s what we’re doing for this year. We would LOVE to have a fifth CSW, one last hurrah, a finale, but even more chill than in years past. We haven’t booked anything else for the weekend (no yoga, no creative workshops) but depending on participants and their interest we could look at booking something. Food would be potluck style, as in the first few years.

There’s room for 7 of us and the cost of the cabin is $763, so if we got 5 other gals to split it, it would be $109 each. The price will change depending on the total number of participants; fewer people means a bit more cost. If you’re interested, send us an email and let us know!

We also need to say a big THANK YOU to all of you for supporting us over the years. You’ve all taught us so much, and shown us that there is a market here for events like this, and that creative women are a force to be reckoned with. Keep being awesome!! Keep creating and showing up for your creative life.

xo Leah and Emily

Begin, Again

Begin, Again
Leah Noble

It is getting late in the day when I dry my hands from the sink and turn to the bookshelf. “Ahhh,” I think - “I will find a poem that has to do with renewal, rebirth, fresh energy. This, this will do my job for me. I’ll post that and won’t have to think or create much at all.”

The baby is in his crib, asleep. He is one year, 2 months, and one day old. His body is solid and wiry, and he crawls everywhere these days, so proud of himself. Tongue between lips in concentration. Bright eyes taking us all in.

The air today was warm. My skin drank it in, all five degrees of it, so pleasant and such a shift from the bitter crackling cold of the last several weeks, the squeaky snow. That snow has now turned to rivulets running down black pavement. Filling ditches, overflowing.

I go to the bookshelf. I pick out some books of poetry I bought years ago, back when I wrote poems too. Back when I was excited by that medium, thought I might do it enough to call myself a poet.

Somehow, someway, years turned and years turned, and I don’t write poems anymore. Instead I: change diapers. Do dishes. Go to a job and do the things required of me there. Text friends. Gather boxes of things I don’t use anymore and bring them to the thrift store. Prepare food for meals, for eating. These meaty little details of life.

I pull a few books off the shelf, slim volumes but beautiful in the paper stock chosen, the typefaces, the scanty yet weighty scatterings of words across pages. Poems. Those strange little creatures. I scan through, looking quickly for springtime themes. But the poems do not reveal themselves so easily. I cannot “CONTROL + F” them. Instead, they lure me in.

The words, the images, the paper stock. I read and I don’t fully understand and yet a part of me does understand. Remember? That part of me says. Remember, you loved these? Remember, you love to string words together, too?

And I get excited and pull out the laptop and open a blank document. I sit here at the keyboard and I type and I ponder this theme that I picked back in January. Renewal, rebirth, fresh energy. We are tired, at the end of winter, so tired of the shovels, tired of the salt caking our vehicles, tired of dry skin and bitter wind. My whole body hungers for spring, for wet dirt, for those little stubs of daffodils poking up, relentless. For the scents that awaken, the earth lush again.

But it isn’t just the earth that is reborn, in spring. We too are reborn, and our seasons are not as predictable. It is never too late to revisit a dream. It is never too late to begin, again. So what if I am about to turn 35, and I haven’t written a poem since I was 25. Who says those ten years were wasted? Who says I am not allowed to try more, try again?

I hear Aidan whimpering in his room down the hall - a few cries, and I think perhaps I’ll have to go and rock him back to sleep. But he quiets himself. So perhaps I’ll read another poem, before finishing the dishes.

In seven days we are hosting a sweet little springtime celebratory retreat. It’s called the Mini Creative Soul Weekend, and it will be in Sydney Mines, NS. Read more about the details here. We hope you join us!