A dear friend posed a series of questions to me yesterday and asked that I write my responses as a favor to her. Although it’s raining unexpectedly and I had less than two hours sleep last night because of ‘partying’ next door. I’ve decided to answer them one by one in a series of posts (as fluently as possible) and (as she suggested) … celebrate at the same time.
What’s happened in the last year?
If you’ve read the posts leading up to this one, you’ll already know some of this because I’ve tried to share my journey as I’ve moved ahead, but here’s an overview of pivotal events from the past twelve months to the best of my recollection. The list ended up much longer than I expected it to be even though I’ve LIVED these past 12 months day by day. Please feel free to skim quickly just to get the gist … and it’s okay to laugh aloud along with me, because that’s what I did when I finished writing and tried to ‘proof’ the piece. Good thing my obsessively perfectionistic inner editor was on the job as I typed because I don’t have the energy or inclination to fix whatever errors remain.
1. In the Spring of 2010 I learned that two friends I’d made three years earlier while attending a Writers Retreat were planning to return to Taos to participate again, and I decided to join them.
2. While attending the 2010 Writers Retreat with Jen Louden in late July, I reconnected with seven friends from 2007, met even more writers & created many new relationships, learned the Dance of Shiva from Havi Brooks, and took to heart Jen’s suggestion to try writing for various versions of myself instead of just me here now.
3. My experience of sharing a writing piece with another friend the next day downstairs at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House sealed the deal by making me see how writing for my 44 year old self from the perspective of me at 66 ‘resonated’ with her own issues & experiences at forty-something.
4. I drove those 960+ miles from New Mexico to Southern California praying for help, and immediately received assistance in abundance beyond my wildest imaginings … each one leading to something else and I dove in eager to ‘invest in myself’ and follow my path purposefully doing the following things which (in retrospect) seems absolutely cRaZy to me now and makes me wonder what I was thinking. Of course, I wasn’t thinking … I was plunging headlong into the future after being happily retired for a decade! Here’s the mind-boggling list of what I took on immediately last Fall in black and white:
- I signed up, paid for and participated in The Festival of Change at Online Clarity
- listened FREE to the the Successful Author Secrets teleseries (which seems to be no longer available because the link doesn’t work now that Christine & Lynne are no longer partners) and it led me to
- Jeneth Blackert’s Mastering Your Dragons CDs (that I purchased), a free link to her Pink Candy materials (a nifty series of downloaded but not yet opened resources that may be obsolete by the time I check them out), and a teleseminar introduction to
- Baeth Davis’s September Your Purpose Summit at the Wild Horse Pass Spa in Phoenix, Arizona which I readily purchased, brought my sister along as guest, participated in fully and & paid additional money to have my hand read by
- Kay Packard from the Academy of Hand Analysis then met and worked with
- Isabel Parlett – the Soundbite Shaman participating in her R&D program for HowYouSayWhatYouDo and joined her Yum Yum Mentoring (currently closed to new members) after sampling her free materials in addition to
- working individually with Lynne Brodie – the Heart Sage
- and along with everything else, I purchased & participated in the Get Your Book Done Live program with Lynne Klippel and Christine Kloser
- attended Breakthrough (in December of 2010) after participating in a program called Opening Up to Prosperity (in November of 2010) with Barbara DeAngelis … and finally to help make sense of and manage everything
- I signed up with Samantha Bennett for her Procrastination is Genius – Get it Done training too
5. In the midst of all this, I purchased several domain names and started this blog, publishing under my real name rather than a pseudonym as I’d done previously … authentically sharing my progress and challenges in narrative form while publishing some ‘labyrinth’ pieces as well … eventually teaching myself through trial & error experimentation to use AudioAcrobat … adding sound files successfully to my WordPress sites so they don’t ‘vanish’ mysteriously as they did at first.
6. After falling ill from exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed by taking on so much all at once, I set up a coaching call with Jen Louden in late November to talk things through. I gained clarity, confidence and a sense of direction with specific next steps. I confess I’ve not yet followed through with all of her suggestions yet, but I’m making steady progress. In yesterday’s phone conversation, my dear friend Sharon (aka WGASA Woman) reminded me to stop and take time to celebrate what I’ve accomplished (much as Jen did when we talked on the phone in November) … and I want to remember to do this often.
6. I listened to LOTS of ‘free’ and for ‘telecalls’ and ‘virtual’ classes on many subjects in a wide variety of ‘teleseminar’ series … posting links on Facebook, Twitter, and even sometimes here at Giraffe Journal as I discovered them because I thought others might be interested too.
7. I’ve continued to ‘invest in myself big time by purchasing products and ‘virtual’ training programs along with several ‘tele-summit series’ of interviews with ‘experts’ in a wide variety of fields on diverse topics … some of which I’ve listened to and others which lay waiting for me to find the time to dig in:
The Festival of Change at Online Clarity
Women on Purpose Summit: From Purpose to Prosperity
You Wealth Revolution
Amy Ahler’s Women Master Series
The Tapping Solution & 2011 Tapping World Summit
Jennifer Lee’s Right Brained Business Summit
two online courses at the Abbey of the Arts
Website Creation with Christina Hills
8. My Labyrinth Journal website is up even though it needs substantial work. I’ve shared My Story and published four posts thus far … two of the ‘narrative’ variety and two ‘labyrinth’ pieces.
9. I’ve learned a great deal about Facebook after creating an account initially to share photos from Taos with friends. Once there friends from the Your Purpose Summit in Arizona found me, and I accepted ‘friend’ requests to stay in contact. Two of the paid ‘virtual’ trainings mentioned above had ‘closed groups’ associated with them so participants could connect for support & encouragement, and that led me to create a closed Facebook group designed to bring together a community of writers who had worked with Jen in Taos. In addition, I created two ‘public’ pages there … one associated with this blog called Virginia at Giraffe Journal, and the other linked to my new Labyrinth Journal website named Writing the Labyrinth to Access Inner Wisdom.
10. I surprised myself by joining writing communities including Networked Blogs, She Writes, and Tiferet Journal and connected with people all over the internet. Only recently (quite by accident) have I learned that there are LOTS Google links associated with my name making visible just about everything I’ve shared anywhere … a discovery I felt distressed by initially because I value my privacy, but that I’ve come to see as unavoidable if I’m going to continue moving forward … and may, in fact, prove beneficial once I publish my writings officially and offer services at the Labyrinth Journal website.
11. I’ve gathered ‘marketing’ resources and taken baby steps toward essential shifts from the inside out that are congruent with who I really am so that I might finally make some money from my writing and related services I’m able and willing to share with others.
12. I’ve practiced ‘trusting myself’ and being calm, experimented with ‘Maitri‘ and other meditation practices including the Hawiian practice of Ho’oponopono. I’ve embraced confusion and found some measure of clarity by leaning into rather than away from troublesome issues. I’ve learned to be less invested in what others think of me and my writing as I’ve become more comfortable with who I am … just as I am.
13. Several months ago I created a ‘draft’ of a Labyrinth Journal book (with the intention of publishing) and sent it to people for feedback, acted on their suggestions, and plan to follow through with publication very soon.
14. As always, I write daily in my journal and I’ve worked diligently on my GYBD Live book project … though it’s turning out to be something different than what I set out to write initially. I love to light one of Carla’s candles (available from Zena Moon) each morning and consider the message contained within contextually as I integrate and act on whatever guidance arises on the page while listening to meditative music on my Palm Pre Plus in place of the CDs I’ve listened to for years.
15. I continued to read daily … finding inspiration and encouragement in books by Mark Nepo, Mark David Gershon, Christina Baldwin, and Susan Piver most recently. I’m looking forward to digging into works by Seth Godin, Brene Brown, and others soon.
16. I’ve made progress towards getting myself off of mailing lists that keep my inbox cluttered, though confess this to be an on-going challenge. I’m learning to practice better discernment in saying yes only to that which resonates internally, and no thank you to all else … trusting that whatever I need comes to me in a timely manner.
17. I’ve taken copious notes while listening to numerous calls daily on many different subjects … soaking up information to synthesize and bring me back to myself … learning to trust my inner guidance with some measure of confidence and authority while remaining open to others and perspectives different from my own.
18. As mentioned previously, I’ve left a trail all over the Internet that Google captures … allowing people who look to find me … for good or ill. Even my ‘anonymously’ blogging self under the pseudonyms ‘storyteller’ and ‘happily retired gal’ is secret no more. I have stepped into my present fully to ‘savor & serve the world’ along with Jen and so many others. I hope you’ll join us.
I’d planned to include my answer to the second question about what I’ve learned in this post, but have decided to save that for the next one … just because. Alas, it’s now Monday at 9:35am and there are links to add, but I’m going to publish ‘as is’ so I can take Molly for a walk and clear my head. I’ll return to add the additional links (or not). When composing at the computer, my inner editor is exceedingly intrusive (as in picky, picky, picky) … and never seems satisfied with anything, but enough is enough!!!
I’d like to add that through all of this manic activity, I continue to enjoy working in my garden. I discovered long ago while ‘reclaiming’ my yard (after neglecting it for too long) that spending time outdoors keeps me connected to my neighbors and passers by who stop to comment & chat. Molly and Ms. Kitty keep me grounded and moving as well. I’ve connected with my sister weekly on Fridays and taken a series of photography classes at Ritz Camera with her on Saturdays … attended monthly Retired Gals Luncheons and connected individually with a few friends on a regular basis. My writing buddy from 2007 has retired finally and we continue to talk on the phone Sunday mornings. I still enjoy my happily retired life … learning new things every day … and I’m delighted with everything just as it is … for now.
Wow, Virginia! Don’t know how you do it but sure am glad you’re finding yourself and also some peace!
Frankly, I don’t know how I do it either, and I’m glad I’m finding myself along with peace as well. What a pleasant surprise to find your comment. I suspected this post might be one of those that receives no response at all. Fortunately my anonymous blogging experience of the past few years coupled with my ‘inner journey self-acceptance’ allows me to relax enough to accept ‘what is’ without taking anything personally. The teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz come to mind and I recall the synchronicity of our ‘introduction’ in a Barnes & Nobel store decades ago. That’s a story I’ll tell here one day perhaps … or maybe I’ve already told elsewhere and can add a link at some time in the future. Right now, I want to express my gratitude for your ‘reinforcement’ of sharing my truth … and move on to writing a follow up post in which I continue answering Sharon’s questions.
Hugs and blessings,