Life is a Verb Camp 2014 – *Camp*anionship at its Finest


Morning is Dancing © 2014 Bo Mackison

I had the great honor and privilege to attend Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp 2014 last week. There, a hundred wonderful people gathered for the second annual camp near Asheville, North Carolina.

We danced by the lake at the sun rose over the tree line and the fog hovered upon Lake Kanuga, crying and laughing and hugging and offering deep support and love.We struggled though yoga moves before coffee(!!!) and breakfast while the kindest of kind instructors gently, so gently, encouraged.

We sang, some of us off key but with great exuberance, as a group of 100 vivacious, expressive, loving campers sang songs ranging from In My Wildest Dreams to Stars to Amazing Grace. The musicians were out of this world.


Camp Kanuga, Home of Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp 2014 © 2014 Bo Mackison

I slept in a Kanuga Cabin built in 1909 and on the National Register of Historic Places (for architectural history geeks like me who love that sort of detail).

Cabin 13, by the way, was one of the luckiest cabins with the kindest of cabin mates and social hour visitors, my way of thinking! Love you guys!


Rocking Chairs Provided © 2014 Bo Mackison

I rocked on the porch with other happy campers as we took in the view of the autumn trees and the lake beyond, and felt so alive in the midst of campanionship and nature’s beauty.


Geography of Loss Workshop – Found Poetry ©2014 Bo Mackison

I attended a pre-camp workshop presented By Patti Digh and Kim Joris on The Geography of Loss, based on Patti’s book by the same name. Oh what a day that was as a camp warm-up experience…self-awareness, discovery, opening to our stories, creating and sharing with the kindest of communities.

Tears and hugs and compassion, oh my!


You Can Sit Here With Us © 2014 Bo Mackison

I listened to the key note presentations of two of my poet heroes, Amy Shihab Nye and Ellen Bass. And decided I could call myself a poet again!

I was mesmerized by the stories of fellow campers during the morning Focus Sessions – and I even told my own story in a presentation on bullying called You Can Sit Here With Us. 


Tandem Typewriter Poets – Maya Stein and Amy Tingle © 2014 Bo Mackison

I attended Creative Spark workshops, one on Creating my Own Adventure (by the above creative beings), another on Being Stabby (felt making) by Deb Reynolds.

I also presented my own workshop on Desert Wisdom and the Gifts of the Desert – what a thrill for this introvert.  I pushed my anxiety aside and so loved sitting in our circle and connecting with each other through our precious gifts of self!  (Though I find it almost impossible to comprehend that I did not remember to take a single photograph during either of my workshops. I’ll just have to hold them tightly in my memory — easily done!)

I had a poem composed for me by the talented typewriter poet duo of Maya Stein and Amy Tingle. (Such wise, wise poems, delivered on the spot, nine lines on an index card.) I now cherish my two poem cards. Amazing! Thank you, Maya and Amy.


Camp Badges, Camp Memories © 2014 Bo Mackison

We collected camp badges for doing things like showing up (which can be amazingly hard), speaking out, being ourselves, making strong offers (another way of showing up, big time), for claiming our birthright as poets.


Patti Digh, Offering Hugs and Hope and Happiness and Humor © 2014 Bo Mackison

Of course, Camp is a Verb would not exist if it were not for Patti Digh, who had a dream, and worked incredibly to make it come true. Every time Patti appeared on stage she offered… Hugs. Hope. Happiness. Honesty. Honor. Humor. Love. Love. Love.

Patti Digh – camp director, friend, confidante, mama, organizer, creative, courageous, promoter of social justice, and human being extra-ordinaire. Patti and her troupe of volunteers turned Camp Kanuga into the brilliant Camp is a Verb 2014 with magic, synchronicity, and damn hard work.

Oh the Autumn Colors © 2014 Bo Macksion

Oh the Autumn Colors © 2014 Bo Mackison

And now only weeks away (so excited!) Life is a Verb 2016 returns to Camp Kanuga on the weekend of November 3 through 6. I highly recommend you check out the camp website if you are even the tiniest bit curious. It will be a life-changing weekend!

Community. Courage. Creativity. Wouldn’t it be fine if you were there?

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Thanks for the beautiful post with beautiful pictures and your beautiful self shining through!

  2. Lovely. And so are you!

  3. belletamaam says:

    great post!

  4. Oh, what a fun read! Especially after having the privilege of sharing some time with you after this workshop, your post rounds out hearing about it with seeing images and reading your thoughts. Life is a Verb camp sounds like a wonderful refresher in Life! Thanks for sharing this, Bo!

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