"I adjust my Janet Jackson microphone headset and peek out from behind the curtain. I see women whose hearts beat to the same rhythm as mine. Women who are craving more connection and community and authenticity and generosity. Women who've lived through brokenness and shame. Women who continue to show up to life and show up for each other."
I wrote this in August.
In September I received a call that I was selected to present at the 2018 Hawaii Island Women's Leadership Summit.
A month later, what I had envisioned, came to life. The only difference was that I had a lavalier microphone (a clip on - I totally had to google that) - and there was no curtain. This meant that I couldn't get my pre-presentation jitters out behind a curtain and I had to get it out IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. And while Bryan Adams "Best Days of My Life" blasted from the sound system, I had to do my Rocky jumping and air guitar strumming in front of everyone. But instead of women running out of the room as I jittered and jolted, more women came in. Including these beautiful new frensies.
After an awkward non-introduction of myself, quickly followed up with an attempt to give a scientific, justifiable reason to think about ourselves for a few minutes... I began my presentation.
It started with my views of powdered milk versus carton milk, the Amway presentation that changed my life, and the salvation I experienced with Benedictine monks. It continued with a dance lesson that taught me about boundaries, getting rid of sarcastic coffee cups, and how I say "Yes".
In the words of Templeton, circa 1973 Charlotte's Web, "It was rich, my friends. Riiiiiiiiich."
I wrapped up the presentation with my secret to "Staying Alive" - and not just "meh" alive, but truly being alive-alert-awake-enthusiastic.
Awwwww, yeah. You guessed it. The Bee Gees.
I mean, The Be G's.
Be Grounded. Be Growing. Be full of Gratitude.
I'm sitting here on the 3rd anniversary of the #wholehearted30 global movement (this may be a movement of only 8 of us, but we are from all around the world...) - and I am astounded and overflowing with delight and surprise and gratitude, STILL, because following my wholehearted THANK YOU to every woman sitting (or standing) in that room, these women who I dreamed about, and wrote about, and wrote for - talked to me, and friended me, and emailed me! Omigosh! They thanked me for talking about powdered milk, and they thanked me for sharing about rotten experiences that added to the rich soil of life, and then they asked me, "Is this what you do?".
Dear new friends who said those five words to me, thank YOU. Those five words were like the entire Sara Bareilles "Brave" in cliff notes - and it went straight to my spirit. I was so, so surprised and stunned when you asked me, I couldn't even respond appropriately - so please let me say it here, "Yes. Yes, this is totally what I do."
Thank you, women who let me be who I am and do what I do. I feel like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz where she is talking about what she had just experienced and she isn't quite sure if it was a dream and she's like, "And you were there, and you, and you, and you, and Toto too...".
Julie Mitchell - you were my partner during a workshop 2 years ago (at the last Women's Leadership Summit) and not only listened as I shared my audacious goal of wanting to teach workshops - you invited me with enthusiasm to be a speaker at Ku'ikahi Mediation's Brown Bag Series.
Emily Forever Sunshine Emmons - you came to my house and taught me to dream in color.
Audrey Takamine - you advocated for me to present at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Lunch and Learn - and always, always, astound me with your generosity and you give me a place at your table of influence. You feed my spirit and my stomach.
Shelly Ogata - you have not only been in my audience whenever I speak - you advocated for me to present for an HGEA seminar. I could write about you forever - you read my blogs and always leaves a note to let me know I've been seen. You send flowers when I start a new job and write me cards on days I am feeling especially crappy. You came to the hospital to be there with me for my last baby. You came to a different kind of hospital to be there with me for my first baby. Shelly, you are my Emmanuel. God With Us.
Marty Kennedy - you allowed me to "nominate myself" and submit a proposal for the Women's Leadership Summit, and Deb Lewis - you challenge me to reframe to positivity and have gifted me with hours of your time. You are an incredible mentor and friend.
Sister - your timely texts and cheers from the stands are invaluable. If anyone knows all of me and still loves me, it's you. I love how you were not surprised at all when I told you, "It was amazing."