Every room in my home is filled with giraffes given to me over the years by family, friends, co-workers and students. Although I’ve never quite understood just what prompted these gifts, I have always loved giraffes … and perhaps that’s reason enough. When visiting zoos and wild animal parks, I rushed consistently to the enclosures housing these magnificently unique creatures and lingered there for a long while … fascinated by their grace and gentle presence … never wanting to leave.
While driving home from a visit to the San Diego zoo in the 1970s, my talented poetic childhood sweetheart/husband created & shared an original poem with me in the car. It has remained in my memory for decades as follows:
‘I love giraffes from horn to hoof.
They’re dignified, but not aloof.
Although they give my heart a tug,
giraffes are much too tall to hug.”
Some years ago, I learned of a ‘Giraffe Society’ that gives awards to people who ‘stick their neck out’ and wondered at the time if one reason I’ve received so many giraffes might be in recognition of times I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to speak up & take action in my life to make a difference. Today I wonder if these giraffe gifts might have been incentives for me to take even greater risks. I’ve long been a ‘closet’ writer … journaling for an audience of one (myself) as a means to make sense of life’s encounters but keeping my discoveries on the page to myself. Recent experiences have led me to believe it’s time to stand tall, stick my neck out, and encourage others to do likewise.
From the ages of 4 to 56, I spent my life in schools (first as student then as teacher) surrounded by others … constantly trying to fit in where I didn’t feel I belonged. Since retiring 10 years ago I’ve learned to be truly comfortable in my own body, but need space to maintain a sense of well-being so I’ve become quite the hermit … spending much time alone in my lovely home near the ocean that I share with a 21+ year old feral cat and a 5 year old Labrador Retriever.
While there, I realized I’d been hiding long enough … that I needed to share my writing at last … so as I drove home the 964 miles to Southern California, the prayer of my heart, mind, and spirit spilled out over and over: “OK God, if I’m supposed to do this thing … please put people in my life that can help make it happen because I don’t have a clue where to begin … and I’m scared.”
Upon arriving home I discovered an email from Jennifer Louden containing a link to a Successful Author Secrets series online and I signed up, listened to each daily interview (taking copious notes) … checking out the ‘offerings’ … availing myself of some, leaving others untouched. That’s where I encountered Jeneth Blackert … then through her, Baeth Davis. Learning about a 4-day event called the Your Purpose Summit felt like the answer to my prayers. I slept on the decision but signed up early the next morning … (the Native American opening & closing plus the Wild Horse local sealed the deal for a variety of reasons I can share at another time) … invited my sister (who just happened to be in town) to accompany me, and she readily agreed.
Being at the Wild Horse Pass Spa and Resort in Phoenix, AZ for this event was life-changing. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I belonged in this group … just as I am … no modifications needed. However by the end of Day One I was so confused I was ready to skip the VIP party and possibly the rest of the event to just ‘hang out’ with my sister in a lovely place. Fortunately she listened to me blather for several minutes and convinced me to at least show up at the party briefly. I’m glad I listened to her for I did meet some individuals with fascinating stories that night.
My journaling the next morning upon awakening brought some clarity, and I felt able to continue. I sat next to a woman named Carol (a long time friend of Lynne Brodie, the Heart Sage) that morning and learned she was giving up a reading with Kay Packard, a hand-analyst, at 10am on Saturday. With Carol’s help, I ‘snagged’ the appointment for myself during the first break. Cindy set me up with Carol’s half hour and said I could extend to an hour if I wished … which I did.
As the day progressed, three different people gave me the same advice — show your journal to the people at the Vervante table and listen to what they tell you. I followed that advice and was amazed to hear they want to publish my ‘Journal’ pretty much ‘as is’ … make ‘templates’ of my pieces without words so that others can explore their own thoughts after hearing me read mine on a CD to accompany the book. The most amazing thing is that Cindy & her daughter Lesley live no more than 5 minutes from me … walk their dog on the same Dog Beach that I walk Molly so we’ve probably passed one another numerous times.
Upon telling Lynne Brodie, she said (emphatically) that I needed to stand up and share this ‘aha’ at the next opportunity. The thought felt paralyzing and fortunately there were no more ‘aha’ invitations that day. However after Isabel Parlett, the Sound Bite Shaman had us ‘dance’ the following day before we wrote the three parts to our ‘core’ story … I found my hand raised the minute Baeth asked for someone to share … feeling surprise & trepidation when she called on me. I stepped into the spotlight to share my ‘core’ story feeling nervously apprehensive, however taking this risk allowed everyone in the room to ‘meet me’ personally. Afterward, many listeners approached … wanting to know where to buy my book … hoping to take it home with them, disappointed to learn it wasn’t yet available.
They put cards in my hands asking me to let them know when it’s published, so I need to take action and get that done. I also want to get the word out … so last Thursday I purchased 8 domain names at GoDaddy and I’ve chatted with a website designer I met in Arizona last weekend about my vision for developing the sites. Yesterday I added one more domain for this Giraffe Journal site where I intend to playfully explore possibilities in the meantime … and invite others to do likewise.
So … please feel free to stick your neck out and leave comments below. Share your reactions to this post & new site … your own ‘aha’ moments and/or pivotal life stories. I’m eager to meet you and want make Giraffe Journal safe space for interaction. In future posts, I’ll continue with my own stories and add some of my ‘convoluted writings’ … scanned from the pages of my journal.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll return soon … and often.
Hugs and blessings,