Learning to Sail My Ship

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship. — Mary Louise Alcott

I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with amazing friends for most of my life. In the early days, I spent most of my time roller skating and listening to Andy Gibb records with Megan, Stacy and Katie. In junior high I biked to the mall and had sleepovers with Amy, Mary and Katie. Jodi and Julie turned up in high school (along with Mo, Julie B. and Val) and, lucky for me, never left.

My college years were spent studying, volunteering and lip synching to Sinead O’Connor and Crowded House with Regina, Michelle and Tiare. Katie and I reunited in our early twenties, when we rented a house with Megan’s older sister Mozy. In the early ’90s I got married and spent the better part of 10 years packing, moving, unpacking, giving birth, teaching other people’s kids, raising kids of my own and learning how to live waaaay out in the country with the help of Karyn, Heather, Louise, Kristin, Mary and Melinda.

When life brought me to Southern Oregon, it was hard (as it always has been) to leave my people. But somehow I knew there would be more awesome women where I was headed. Sure enough, there were. Maud, Khaliqa, Gabriella, Heidi, Lucinda, Eva, Lisa, Cara, Katy, Kimberly and Brigid showed up almost immediately. Recently I’ve picked up Diane, another Louise, Liz, and a new Mary. As I said, I’ve been infinitely blessed in the friend department.

Where would I be without these women?

Thankfully, I don’t have to wonder about that. Thanks to strong connections and relatively good communication skills (not to mention the wonders of Facebook) most of these women remain in my life. Sometimes daily and often through a phone call, cup of tea or quick text, I stay on track and have created the rich life I have today, thanks in large part to the creativity, intelligence and emotional vulnerability of these outstanding women.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that friends are the glue. They’re the ones you can rely on to brighten a mood, to remind you that this too shall pass and that life isn’t always going to feel so crappy. Knowing this, I’ve spent most of my life cultivating friendships with strong, resourceful, creative, hilarious, passionate, inspiring women.

When I was 9 and swim practice was hard and my little brothers were driving me nuts, who did I turn to? (Megan, Stacey and Katie, obviously.) When the guy I liked in high school didn’t like me back, guess who was there? (Jodi, Julie, Mo, etc.) When I nearly failed my first college history class who did I call? (Jodi…always Jodi) And so it went. I’ve made it through a wedding, three births, too many moves to count, a divorce, several careers, grief, loss and great joy with these women by my side and I can say without a doubt—I am significantly better for it.

As my new business has grown over the past year, developing into an actual career with all the challenges, frustrations and huge successes that go with it, it’s no surprise to find that my greatest asset thus far is…you guessed it—my amazing friends!

Maud, Jodi, Gabriella, Heidi, Lisa, and my sister Molly cheer me on from the sidelines daily. When the tough lessons come and the growing pains seem larger than life, they are the first ones I reach out to. They catch me every single time I fall. I am humbled and enormously grateful to have the support of these fantastic women. And it just keeps getting better. Recently I’ve discovered a new tool in my toolbox and I’m pretty excited about it. Shocker— this one also involves a strong, intelligent woman.

Liz and I met last year in a somatic business coaching group. There were five of us the first go-around. We were all female business-owners with a desire to improve the success of our enterprise by working on mindfulness and somatic practices to strengthen our emotional and professional wellbeing. For me, this work was a natural extension of the personal development I’d been working at with my mentor, Maria Connolly, for over 10 years. It was an empowering experience to witness the inner work of others while chipping away at my own beliefs and habits that no longer served me. I learned a ton and kept myself on track in a significant way in the early stages of the birth of my business. In the process, I made some deep connections and even gained a few new clients in the process. Liz and I in particular spoke a common language and knew that we wanted to continue the mutually supportive work that we’d begun in the group on an ongoing basis.

We met for lunch a few times and talked about the ways in which we could keep the good juice flowing and best support one another. Enter the weekly FaceTime call. Every Wednesday morning, for a few months now, Liz and I check in. Depending upon what the rest of the day has in store, we meet for anywhere between 20-40 minutes. We share successes as well as challenges and ask for advice on tricky situations. The bottom line is we keep each other accountable: When I tell Liz that by the next time we talk, I’m going to have this gosh-darn blog post written, you bet I’m going to finish it! When Liz is dragging her feet on starting the next chapter of her latest book, she gives me a deadline and sticks to it.

At first, the thought of adding one more appointment to my already full calendar seemed daunting. It took a few tries to find the platform and timing that worked well for us both, but just like anything, now that we’ve been at it for several months, I can’t imagine a Wednesday morning without Liz! I love having a wise, generous, creative ally to help keep me on track, yet again.

Because of Liz, I’ve improved my time management, hired a bookkeeper, overcome some pretty huge financial fears and will be submitting this blog post to my proofreader tomorrow! Hooray for Liz and hooray for me!