DISCLAIMER: This being an Awesome Women Hub event, I am going to greatly overuse the word awesome. :)
AMAZING! How awesome is it that 30 women can get together, get to know one another, and get down to business in the way that only women do? Let me tell you, it is REALLY awesome.
First was a wonderful keynote by Robin Rice, without whom the event would not exist! Then, led by Leslie Stein, we got to know each other. Leslie made us dig deep real fast. We were to all pick a card (or two!) that called to us and then share why we picked our card. With the best activity I’ve ever seen of introducing not just yourself, but who you are, your essence, we laughed and cried in the first hour!
In introducing myself to those wonderful women, I wish I had been brave enough to share more of what I was thinking. The women in that room were so supportive, but my underlying fear of sharing who I really am got in the way. Also, I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone! I wish I had said more. The card I picked was of a man standing at the end of a rock wall protruding into peaceful water. I shared that I saw myself there and that I was learning to explore like he was doing. That was my “safe” thought about the picture. The statement that wasn’t scary to share. Want to know what else I was thinking? That I am alone at the end of that rock wall and it scares the s*** out of me. That I wish my mom was still here to catch me if I fell off. I am coming into my own and learning how to be my beautiful self but being alone at the end of that wall came faster than I ever thought it would. I have a sense of peace and of purpose but I am afraid. Life is scary without her here. I wish I had shared that.
After we introduced ourselves we jumped right into our re-think tank groups. I cannot describe the AWESOMENESS in that room. The responses we all shared were amazing! Live and online, women are on the same page! So much was said and all of it was so important. It is hard to begin to explain or summarize. The messages that really resound with me:
-What would happen if we lived from our true essence, from who we REALLY are? We could connect to each other from the heart and we could remind each other of who we really are when we forget.
-What would happen if instead of seeing competition in other women, we saw camaraderie? When we saw another woman we thought “YEAH! She’s on my team!” instead of “Who is better?” We could band together in collective confidence from the start instead of feeling inferior or superior.
-What can we accomplish if we come together as women? SO MUCH AWESOME STUFF!
During the re-think tank, Trish was in one of my groups. I've always known that Trish and I make a good team but we had a moment that made me realize we are a GREAT team, awesome even. We were discussing one of the re-think questions and when Trish turned to me to explain what she was trying to say and I did. Then when I was talking I turned to Trish for help in explaining what I was trying to say and she did. We kept finishing each other’s sentences all day. It was really cool!
After the re-think tank was over we started an art project that will continue into day two and will be awesome just like we are. We each created a drawing, ripped it into three pieces, and glued it to a giant piece of paper with everyone else’s. Then we all got to add even more around those pieces and then it was ripped AGAIN! Tomorrow we will get to add even more and I am not sure how this is going to end up but I love the creative collaboration!
We broke up into our video making groups, a part of this weekend that I am very excited about also but very hesitant about. I am afraid to be on film. I think that it has a lot to do with my fear of sharing. But with all of the different experiences, attitudes, and essences we all bring to the table I have no doubt that this will be fantastic even if I’m terrified.
After hours in Northampton is something else. Being from Conway, where there is no night life, roaming the streets of Northampton was a treat. We got ice cream and meandered into shops. I met some musicians and talked to people I didn’t know. I found a button that was made for me. It reads:
“Hi! I like goats. Do you like goats?”
It’s perfect because I talk about goats a lot. I love them. Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am going to live on a farm someday and that when I talk about it all I talk about is growing vegetables, having chickens, and loving my goats. Nothing is better than scratching the head of an animal whose sole purpose is to bring humor into my life… and contribute to the biodiversity of the planet… but it’s all about personal opinion now isn’t it?
So much happened on Day 1. We connected. We shared. We created. We danced (I only danced a tiny bit because I was afraid to express myself but some of those women were BUSTING A MOVE!) It was amazing. I want to be in that environment every day. I want to be a confident woman. I want to connect, to share, and I want to LEAD.
I have made a resolution. I am going to share what I am afraid to share. I am going to let myself be vulnerable. When you live from that place, you don’t have any regrets.
Going into Day 2, I am going to be ME.
I am very excited about participating in The Awesome Women Hub New England tour stop this weekend. I am most excited for the Virtual RE-think Tank. I will be there live in Northampton where I’ll be online during the day Saturday (9am-3:30pm) to communicate via Facebook to fellow participants. I cannot wait to see what inspiring stories, beautiful pictures, and great ideas all the awesome women have to share! From all that is collected throughout the weekend, there will be a video created to the tune of a beautiful song:
How awesome is this online community and event? I am beyond ecstatic to be able to go AND bring awesome women with me! Updates on the weekend as it unfolds! I'm ready to do AMAZING things!
Did I mention that I am excited?
So many cool things have happened in the last week to motivate me and help me be delighted by my awesome adventure.
Remember this bus?
I fell in love with it after google searching “blue school bus.” By far the coolest bus I’d ever seen, that bus became the desktop background on my work computer. When I walk by my desk I nudge the mouse and get to look at that beauty.
After setting it as my background, I stared at it longingly for a few days, telling everyone that came into the office that it was my bus, truly believing that it was (and is). While wondering aloud where my bus could be, my boss google searched the license plate that is visible in its front window (She’s so smart). She found a blog that mentioned a blue bus with that license plate and I found out who used to own the bus. Through that blog I was able to find contact information for Barb, a wonderful woman who is extremely awesome and has been amazingly helpful! I e-mailed her about my aspiration to embark on my adventure on the very bus she used to own and excitedly awaited her response.
The day after I e-mailed Barb, I was unable to stop staring at, thinking about, and talking to EVERYONE about the bus. So, I decided to get the picture of the bus enlarged so that I could hang it on my wall as a reminder of my goal. With the help of a very friendly Copy Guy named Mark at Staples, North Conway, I was able to make the picture HUGE to better aid in my visualization. I told Mark about my project and told him that I wouldn’t forget how he helped! I have so much fun showing people that bus and telling them about my kindness adventure!
The next morning I started my day with an e-mail from Barb. Not only does she think that my cause is worthy but knows who has the bus now and that it is in Arizona! She even offered to get his number for me! I connected with the perfect person at the perfect time. It seems that the Universe is smiling on me.
A few e-mails later and I had the number of the man that has my bus sitting in his yard. I called and left an animated, fumbling voicemail that basically stated “I want that bus!” A day later (yesterday), as I am sitting in my living room trying to decide what to write my next blog about, I get a call from the man with the bus. After the details are sorted out (like the exchange of money), I’ll have to haul it back to New Hampshire as it currently would not make it on its own. That might discourage some, but not me. I have found my bus.
The wheels are turning, so to speak, and I am very excited for what is happening.!
There is a giant blue, bio-diesel school bus, with white letters down its sides reading “KINDNESS.” On the outside there are retractable awnings to provide shade at long stops. On the roof you will find solar panels and a rooftop garden. On the inside are all the amenities of a motor home. As you enter the bus you will see a very comfy Kindness Captain’s chair. The Captain is whoever is driving. Behind the Captain is a small sitting area made by turning the front three rows of bus benches into a eating/talking/planning/meditating/creating/whatever-you-need-it-to-be station complete with tables and power outlets for laptops (how else would I blog all about the trip?). Behind what I have affectionately dubbed the Inspiration Station is a small kitchenette complete with camp stove, mini-fridge, small sink, countertop, recycling and composting bins, and the most important appliance for some crew members: the coffee maker! Beyond the kitchen is the sleeping quarters. Made up of as many bunk beds as necessary, with a futon or two, the sleeping quarters will offer the comfy space needed to recoup after a long day of Kindness Adventures. There will also be mesh topped tents stored so as to enjoy the outdoor sleeping that is most desirable when the stars are twinkling but the bugs are out. The last and most important section of the bus is found at the back: the bathroom. Complete with a composting toilet, small camp shower and sink, the bathroom makes the bus a whole traveling home. My favorite thing about the bus is that there are little mismatched curtains in every window... and that people I love are on the bus with me!
Somewhere, there is a giant blue school bus waiting for me to find it.