I have had a wide variety of artists here for the parties. Art is subjective and affects everyone differently but the common thread and what I am hoping to achieve by always having an artist here is that art, whether you are immersed in it, creating it, or just simply looking at it, it feeds your soul and is the very definition of self-care. My mom always had some sort of project going, I remember her painting birds on boards long before ‘shabby chic’ and ‘put a bird on it’, needlepoint, knitting, and always sewing. It still makes me crazy (in a good way) to walk into Michael’s or Aaron Brothers - lord, the potential projects!!! But speaking for myself, I got practical, had a very cerebral career as a computer programmer, then focused on my kids and their art and development. I spent many years denying myself art - it was expensive, it takes time, worst excuse of all: I don’t “deserve” it...and I nearly forgot how soothing and amazingly therapeutic it is to create. So that is why I always have a guest artist and I thank you Lorijo for sharing what you do with the WWS.
I like to start off the party by reiterating my mission for WWS: it is simply to bring women of all age, race, and background together to focus on self-care. I expect that you will notice and be affected by different aspects of the party each time you come and I think that happens for many reasons: what is happening in your life, what you feel the need for at this time, even who you end up sitting next to. I still have my fears (even while I know that it is going to be true) that I will not make every guest happy, but know that I craft each party to appeal to ALL of your senses: the food and drink, the music, the visual of the arts, the wonderful smell of the soap, and your emotions...maybe they will all affect you, or perhaps just one will on this day, and that is what is I am aiming for.
I have repeated this quote by actress Phylicia Rashad several times now...I figure that the worst thing that could happen is that those of you that have heard it before will give a big sigh and then begin to say it out loud along with me. I take that back, I think that would be the BEST thing that could happen! This IS the very heart of what I want to accomplish with WWS:
Any time women come together with a collective intention, it's a powerful thing. Whether it's sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.
We all need to slice out this kind of time for ourselves, to have a safe place where we can encourage self care and focus on who we are over what we do. A place where you can come and just “BE”.
Sometimes I choose my one-word theme before the party and then I find my speaker, but more often I am talking with a potential guest speaker and the word just comes to me, loud and clear. When I sit down to collect my thoughts for what to say to you Wild Women I just love how many facets the one-word theme can have and that the opposite of the word always presents itself as a part as well. I read recently that inside every truth and every appearance there is a bit of opposite. The secret to getting is giving. The secret to giving is making yourself open to receiving, the glorious irony of creation that tucks its greatest truths carefully inside of paradoxes. Well I’m not exactly sure what the opposite of a wall is, but ‘window’ is what came to mind.
Jim Rohn said: “The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy”
So another way to look at it is that a wall for a human is protection and a sort-of opposite to that could be vulnerability.
According to Bob Marley: “Being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure.”
Brene Brown gave a Ted Talk on vulnerability, it is a very worthwhile 30 minutes so check it out if you haven’t already heard it. It is packed full of thought provoking ideas and I LOVE words! this is fascinating!
“The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’ Over time, this definition has changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.”
And because I absolutely believe that it is imperative to walk the walk, here is my own story and bit of vulnerability:
About 7 years ago at a dinner party someone I didn’t know asked me what my passion was. To me, this is an embarrassing story but I share it for a couple of reasons - one is because this is the very vulnerability that allows us to connect, share, and become stronger, and the other is that it really forced me to grow. When I switched my career to stay at home mom, I spent a couple of decades focusing on my family. I do not regret this for a moment, it was my privilege and honor to spend my days with my kids. But what I found in that awkward moment was that I had no answer to that question ‘what is your passion’. I don’t even remember what I answered that night but I do remember first being mortified and then analyzing the hell out of the situation and here is what I discovered (and am continuing to discover): #1 It wasn’t that I didn’t have a passion it was just that I wasn’t giving myself any credit and I needed to be saying it aloud and often. #2 saying it aloud and often is not selfish, it is self-care! #3 Before you spend time banging your head against a wall because you think you have no passion and why does it seem that everyone else on earth has a passion and what the heck is wrong with me to be so lacking (ok, maybe I was being a little emo and dramatic but I swear that is how it felt at the time), take a deep breath and don’t worry!
You all know by now I’m a HUGE Liz Gilbert fan (you know, Eat, Pray, Love). Here are some words of wisdom from her:
Don't worry about finding your passion. Just look around today and ask yourself if there's absolutely anything you can find in the world that you feel even 1% curious about and then follow it.
That trail of pursuing your curiosity very loyally, with discipline, knowing that your curiosity will eventually take you to your destiny, I think that's where you find your passion.
Looping back around, finding your passion and the curiosity that can take you there requires vulnerability and the willingness to put yourself out there. WWS stretches me this way three times a year to put myself out there and really feel my vulnerability. I am managing it all better with experience, but I still have to work to calm myself and deal with the fact that this party will not ever be perfect. More recently, instead of beating myself up about the loose ends and missed goals, I am trying to focus on a goal of joy.
I have not read any books by the author Emery Allen (I don’t even know if Emery is a man or woman), but I found this quote:
“I think I fall in love a little bit with anyone who shows me their soul. This world is so guarded and fearful. I appreciate rawness so much.”
Walls and windows, guardedness versus vulnerability. Behind the walls we put up feels safe, but if you are willing to risk a little, to take little steps to do things outside your comfort zone, you may not always be safe but you will most definitely be LIVING.
Here’s the thing: it’s those walls that create isolation and make you feel like you are the only one with your struggle. It’s the willingness to be vulnerable and build a window, even if it is a teeny tiny one, that affords you healing.
I share these things that I wrestle with and that feels vulnerable and it scares me but inevitably I will have someone tell me that they struggle with the same types of things and when that connection is made and those feelings are shared, THAT is the payoff and THAT is when you will think to yourself: I am not alone
<Anna Sings> Anna Martin is a junior at LOHS and so unbelievably gifted and special. She fell in love with opera in 2011, when she was chosen to sing in the children's chorus for Portland Opera's production of Hansel and Gretel. She planned and produced her "Voices Together" concert this January, where the net donations to JDRF were over $10K. On May 2, Anna competed in the OSAA Voice Championship, where she won first place as a junior. Anna also plays on the girls' golf team at LOHS. She looks forward to studying voice and language in college, and hopes to sing on the stage at the Met someday!
Ingrid Kincaid is an internationally known speaker and workshop leader whose presentations are rarely politically correct. Her style is a unique mixture of creativity, down-to-earth practicality and ancient wisdom. Ingrid always challenges the status quo by inviting audiences and individuals to turn their beliefs and perceptions upside down. She offers private consultations either in person or by phone. She is passionate about working with women, helping them discover what’s possible when they remember who they are.