A dream came true for me yesterday.
Around a year ago, I was on a video call with a Washington-based women’s group. We were sharing dreams for our careers and businesses.
I mentioned that I was interested in leading writing workshops with groups of company employees. I imagined helping people process how their daily lives and work expectations had evolved from pre-pandemic times to the current time, and how they envisioned life in the future.
I received encouraging responses, but then life happened, other opportunities emerged, and I let my dream sit.
Fast forward to September. A friend from junior high school contacted me to say she was on a committee organizing a women’s leadership conference. For Microsoft, in Fargo.
We had reconnected in 2019 at a local reading for my memoir, The Same Moon, and my story had resonated with her. Now she asked if I would be interested in speaking at this upcoming conference. Its theme would be “WEvolve,” as in, we all are evolving, and we are in this together. The day would focus on physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
Planning the talk felt like a big lift. What could I say in the midst of this pandemic, about how to be well? I turned to several friends, who provided listening ears, thoughtful reflections and encouragement.
As the big day approached, I titled my talk, “Your heart is where home is”—an evolution of my thinking since writing the tagline for my book, which reads, “Sometimes you have to run far, far away to find your way home.” I still think that’s true too, but life is complicated.
Yesterday I spoke at the WEvolve conference. Although people attended virtually, the planning committee and some of us speakers gathered to broadcast from the Fargo Microsoft campus. As the first speaker, I shared a bit of my “whole-life do-over” story from my early twenties, when I ran off to Japan. Then I turned the focus to a few things I’ve learned since then: the value of being still; how parenting our son has taught me that identity is less about what we do than who we are; that sometimes we need to shed old parts of ourselves, and sometimes we need to hang on.
I also spoke about the transformative power of writing. In the small group classes and one-on-one coaching sessions I lead, I experience how writing can open the door to heart-healing at all ages.
At the end of a year that has stolen the dreams of so many, I recognize that yesterday was truly a gift. The organizers, the other speakers, the attendees, my friends with me in spirit—all of them pointed to the power of community. And now, 300 copies of my memoir are winging their way, courtesy of Microsoft, to people in Fargo-Moorhead as well as in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Amazing!
It was only after I spoke that I realized a version of that dream I had shared many months earlier had come true—thanks to an old friend who thought I had something to share and others across the country who helped me finetune that message — beautifully illustrating the power of “WE.”
Maybe others would like to hear this message of encouragement. I would love to visit with anyone whose company, organization or church group is looking for a speaker on these topics. Feel free to contact me here.
Or perhaps you’re interested in joining me for a small group writing class or individual coaching. Please see more information here.