I wanted to write this post now because I didn't want these feelings to fade.. the memories to become more hazy.. to forget just how impactful the past few days have been..
Just to fill you in.. we have been running workshops for the past year called Welcome Home. We have done six workshops so far.. all across the country and as far as Ireland and they have become far more than just a workshop to both me and Pete and to hopefully every person that joins us. Not only have we met the most extraordinary people.. but we have created something.. an understanding of what is really important.. when you peel all the superficials away what you are left with.. relationships, family, feelings, connections, experiences, memories, life.. This workshop has opened my eyes.. and I mean really opened them and given me so much clarity and the emotion that goes along with that is kinda hard to explain..
But.. back to this week.. the 'homies' wanted to meet up.. to get together.. there are around 65 of them now so we decided to organise a retreat.. a few days away from it all.. no agenda, no workshop, no teaching.. just a hang out. We found the amazing Talton Lodge in Warwickshire and on Tuesday afternoon 30 of us arrived with packed cars having shared lifts and bringing everything but the kitchen sink. We sat on blankets in the sun.. eating homemade cake, played rounders with lambs as fielders, danced to nineties dance music, had an impromptu conga around the tipi, laughed until our sides ached, ate the most amazing food, sang happy birthday (which then turned in to us all doing the Superman dance), talked and shared and most importantly.. we switched off. It was honestly the best three days..
Coming home yesterday I wrote in the Facebook group..
I don't know what it is about the last few days but I've come home feeling totally inspired.. but in kinda the opposite way. I've come away with a huge sense of life is too short and although our business is super important to us.. this little trip made me realise what's important to us in our personal life too. I don't want to miss out on doing the conga around a tipi or playing rounders in the sun.. I don't want my life to be on hold while my business thrives.. so.. I'm gonna write my own, personal to do list.. things for me.. and I'm going to promise myself right now to live more.. to surround myself with good people and to laugh and dance as much as possible.. and then let's see what new stories we'll be telling each other next year sat around that fire..
It really has changed me. It's made me more ambitious.. but for myself.. for me to put an importance on making my own memories, my own goals away from the next booking or blog feature.. what do I really want to achieve? What do I really want to look back on? I know one thing for sure.. every time I look back on Welcome Break everything feels right.. and I definitely want more of that.
And.. you know what.. nobody gave a shit. Nobody cared how many weddings you'd booked or how long you'd been shooting for.. or which blogs you'd been featured in.. none of that mattered. What mattered was having a laugh.. and if you had a signature dance move.. or which bit of cake to eat.. or getting a rounder.. or a cup of tea or a G&T..
..and as you can see.. I spent most of the time with a G&T in my hand and not a camera.. ;)
We also might have spent a good part of Wednesday afternoon doing this.. :)
Here's some of the lovely blog posts from some of the homies... oh and you might notice a few ladies in wedding dresses.. well one of the homies had two wedding dresses in their boot and the next minute two girls had them on with flowers and a bike.. and then an angry swan got involved.. you know.. as you do..
Sally T Photography
Laura Kate Photography
Lola Rose Photography
Folk and Field
..and the cutest video from Nicki Feltham.. (the song choice is purely down to us all singing 'Shine bright Kerry Diamond for the whole 3 days).. this actually makes me a bit teary..
WBslideshow from Nicki Feltham on Vimeo.
Another hilarious little video all shot on the iPhone by Denise Noone..
WELCOME HOME from Denise Noone on Vimeo.
So both me and Pete just want to say the biggest thank you to this bunch of crazy fools for making this little trip so special.. and for being so lovely.. it was friggin' awesome beyond words and I want to be back there right this second..
Welcome Break 2014 anyone???? :)
|Philippa James Photography|