Mighty Summit: Visiting My Earnest Mood on You

27th September 2011

(Photo by Maile Wilson of Epiphanie)

The first night of Mighty Summit, I ran back to my room in my Flamenco hat to look for my camera. I closed the door behind me and stood there listening to everyone’s voices. Some of them I recognized as belonging to people I love, people without whom I couldn’t have made it through the last year. Their voices mingled with those of new friends, and it was poignant in a way that has become familiar lately, a moment of total presence. I listened to everyone laughing and thought, “We did it.”

The next night I was changing into my swimsuit when I heard laughter outside again. This time a feeling overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t place it. While thirty friends waited for me to rejoin them a few feet away, I realized I was lonely.

(Photo by Maile Wilson of Epiphanie)

I’ve felt lonely often over the last few years, but in many ways that feeling has ushered me into adulthood. That night, alone in my room, I knew it was time for me to do certain things for myself, that it was ok to stop waiting for anyone to take care of me or protect me. I’ve got this.

The hard roads are difficult because we have to go them alone, but it’s easy to forget that friends can provide respite along the way, especially those who have traveled the same paths before us.

This year, the Mighty Summit was a comfort to me, a reminder of how much good company is available if you seek it out. A reminder of what it’s like to want things again.

I’m grateful for the new friends, the direction, and the concentric circles it makes when more of us are inspired to write Life Lists and put work into bettering our lives.

If you haven’t, I hope this year you’ll make a Life List for yourself. If this site has taught me one thing, it’s that there are a lot of folks out there rooting for you.

I’m in that corner too.

(Photo by Maile Wilson of Epiphanie)

I’ll see you at Camp Mighty. If not this year, then hopefully next. We have a lot of planning to do, kid. Let’s keep each other company.

35 thoughts on “Mighty Summit: Visiting My Earnest Mood on You

  1. Ann Burr

    I don’t even know what the Mighty Summit is, but I loved this post and want to send the link to all the friends I have who have helped/are helping me along, as well as to a couple of people who need some respite along their way right now. You rock, Mighty Girl, and I am super-psyched to have you in corner :)


  2. Martha

    Maggie, we’re in your corner, too. I’m glad Mighty Summit was a reminder that you have friends along the way and that you can do whatever you put your mind to, when you’re ready to put your mind to it.

  3. Cassie Boorn

    Oh Maggie, this is such a beautiful post. I am so grateful to have you as a mentor. You continue to teach me about life and inner peace in a way few people can.

    And yes, you got this.

  4. Heidi

    Camp Mighty – #1 on my List. I’m so sad I missed it this year, but am determined not to miss it next time around. Beautiful post, Maggie!

  5. megan

    thank you for this post, maggie! sometimes the plight of the single girl can seem very lonely and cold. if nothing else, it’s nice to be reminded that we’re together in our aloneness. and of course, even nicer to be reminded that we’re not actually alone at all.

  6. Marie T

    Like arrow these words — straight to the heart. You’ve got this….
    And you’ve gently kicked me in the pants to get this for myself too.

  7. Colleen

    Fuck yeah to you, too, Maggie! (with apologies for the inappropriate context)

    Life’s not easy for anyone these days. Thanks for opening up and extending a hand to help so many through the rough spots. You’ve taught us all a lot.

  8. Meegan

    I’m in your corner. I got your back. I think you are amazing. I don’t have a life list because I’m scared of starting one. I’m afraid that it’ll be a record of failures rather than successes (can you tell I’m not in a great place right now?). But you know what? I should do it. I should just do it, or dewit depending on who’s blogging. :) Thank you for being a continual source of inspiration!

  9. Amy

    Hi Maggie,

    I work in a school. Our Academic Dean is a beautiful philosopher of amazing depths and substance and humour. She oftens quotes from the following Rilke poem. Perhaps you know it?

    Widening Circles

    I live my life in widening circles
    that reach out across the world.
    I may not complete this last one
    but I give myself to it.

    I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
    I’ve been circling for thousands of years
    and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
    a storm, or a great song?

    ~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~

  10. Nikki

    Oh, Maggie. I can’t thank you enough for sharing those corners of the world we all tend to inhabit at any given moment.
    Pausing to take it all in and realizing the gifts in those around us is an important part of getting to the next chapter. Growth.

    Growth is in the lonelies, too. So when you pause and have that feeling despite all the love around you, know that tug is natural and temporary.

    Please know you have people whom you’ve never met on your side. Keep sharing those gifts of yours. The world needs them.

  11. Kat

    Oh, I can’t go, and I wish I could, because the date of Camp Mighty is so significant it feels like a sign…

    November 10 was my mother’s birthday and also would have been my wedding anniversary if I wasn’t in the middle of a divorce right now.


    Miss Mighty Maggie, I am so with you on the lonely. But also on the looking around and recognizing that things that you need are there if you just ask for them. The last two months, an embarrassment of riches has been heaped on me, in the form of beautiful people who laugh and cry with me, who cuddle me, who love me no matter what, who play games with me and joke with me and hug me and buy me drinks and go shopping with me and text me in the middle of heinous work days when nothing is going right and the dog has wiped a paw full of shit across the entirety of my bed.

    I am so blessed, it is ridiculous. And so are you, darling. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Even on days it fucking hurthurthurts.

    I wish we were friends, sometimes. :)

  12. Leah

    I’m in grad school right now (for the second time, gr). And I have this crazy life list, and a 101 things in 1001 days, and all that jazz. And for the past year, almost everything has been stalled. I’ve been frustrated, actually, because I am just not getting to these amazing things I want to do.

    In this whole grad school thing, I have been lonely too. It’s hard to find friends as an adult. But I too discover that when I reach out — when I recognize that I have a need or I can fill someone else’s need — I find that nourishment that is so essential to our souls.

    And then I just read your post, and a few things hit me:
    1. I am in grad school. I am accomplishing a BIG GOAL here.
    2. In the past year and a half, even if I’m not crossing the actual items off my list, I am living a lot of life. For the first time since I was 14, I took the summer off with my teacher husband. We drove across the country, camped along the way, visited great national parks, and did whatever we felt like. If that’s not living life, I don’t know what else is.

  13. Miss K

    I am saving my pennies to attend a future Camp, and cross that off my life list.

    Reading the posts that people write about their experiences at the Mighty Summit is always invigorating. I can’t wait for them to start flowing out to the world.

    Sending you a hug for all the good you do.

  14. victoria

    thank you for this, maggie, and for reminding me i’m not alone in feeling lonely, too sometimes. i think the blogger life can feel that way from time to time and it was wonderful to be at mighty summit and feel connected again.

    as you noticed, i was a bit tearful at times — it’s been a rough year. but i’ve been holding a lot of those feelings in, just trudging along trying to get it all done, make everybody happy. and i think i felt free to let go of some of those feelings with you guys. i felt safe, and it caught me off guard. thanks for that.

    and p.s. i’m really much more fun, and not always a total cry baby. :)

  15. Stacy @bklynstacy

    Wow. I totally had such a similar experience, even though my alone this year came from a lot of different things. (But I have to say, in my book I have a chapter called “You are not alone, but yes, you are totally alone. I’ma send you the book, because you are totally living that right now.) But Mighty weekend blew my mind in the best way. It made me see, learn and really feel and accept three things: (1) There is ALWAYS company on the journey, (2) The In-Between places open up and turn into a destination in a heartbeat, and you can’t even see it coming, and (3) There are many more of “my people” on the planet than I would ever have dared guess. Thank you for that. You gave me that. You did. In maybe one of your loneliest years. If that isn’t magic, what is, right? xxs and oos to you, and I need your address. And we didn’t get to talk nearly enough, my friend. Thank goodness I’m going to camp, too.

  16. Desi

    I can’t remember how I found your blog nearly two years ago, but I am so glad I did. Your life list concept literally changed my life, woke me up, and gave me the motivation to become so much better – so much more alive. Thank you!

  17. Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks}

    It’s so good to be reminded that one doesn’t have to be “fabulous” to be a vital part of something like Mighty Summit, or Camp Mighty, or any meaningful gathering of friends. Being comforted when we need it is just as important as being fabulous. That you are able to be comforted while creating this space for everyone else is amazing.

    Can’t WAIT for Camp Mighty.

  18. Homa

    I bought a dress yesterday that had pockets and it made me think of you and your blog. I have been trying to do nice things for myself, I wrote a life list ( http://ohmahdeehness.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/in-which-i-have-a-place-to-post-my-life-list/ ) a few months back and realized I wanted to wear pretty things. Which seems weird because it sounds simple to rectify and I worried it also seemed shallow. But it makes me feel good. :) I feel lonely too, even in a crowd, so I understand. Sorry to ramble. Keep being mighty! And thank you.

  19. Amy

    I needed to read this today. Your timing is impeccable Ms Maggie. Especially this part:

    “The hard roads are difficult because we have to go them alone, but it’s easy to forget that friends can provide respite along the way, especially those who have traveled the same paths before us.”

  20. Mariaz

    It’s interesting to me that it’s been almost exactly a year since I found your blog. I was searching for images for the only item I actually had on a life list I hadn’t even thought to write yet (dinner at the French Laundry.)

    I read about the Mighty Summit and thought, “I want to be able to do that someday! I need more might.” I can’t do Camp Mighty this year, but hope to next year.

    I guess what I am trying to say, in an uncliche-ish way as possible, is that you have been an real encouragement and inspiration for me to start actively living life. The fact that you have done that in what has been at times a rough and lonely year for you, is lovely and amazing. Thank you.

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