Mojo. Our Essential Selves.
I've always had mojo. At least I thought I did. I never wanted to blend in. But I didn't exactly want to stand out either. That's what they call a conundrum! I did small things like wear weird 'bicycle jeans' when everyone else was wearing Levis. Or listen to "I'm a Hog for Ya Baby" by the Siegel Schwall Band when others were listening to "Spiders and Snakes."What a rebel!
But I chose practicality over my own essential self when I entered college and chose to attend business school. My parents didn't push me either way - although I'm sure I heard a sigh of relief when I chose business courses. But then came Dr. Reed, my Psych professor. He called me on it when he wrote three little words on a paper.
So, do it!
I was minding my own business, studying business - accounting actually - and he pulled out of my paper a something I didn't even realize I'd written. I'd said I wished I'd pursued dance instead of business. This wasn't something I'd been mulling over. Just something that flowed from my subconscious into Dr. Reed's paper.
And he said "SO, DO IT!
Wow! Really? Could I actually do that? Well. OK. So, I did! I walked across campus that day. Enrolled in Eddie Gasper's "Dance for Stage" class and it changed my life. I auditioned for his new company and never looked back.
That decision seriously rebooted my mojo. I took a right turn into "the creative economy" - a world of performance, theatre, dance and loved it. I wasn't drawn by the LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION, but the creative process. The artists. The imagination. The stories.
After working in several different jobs in "the industry" I eventually landed at the Film and Television Board. I was in my element! Creating community. Advocating for creatives and commerce. It was fabulous...
But‚ wait! I forgot to get married, to have kids!
In 1995 I gave all that up married. Sold my city condo. Left my great job. And did what I thought was the right thing - partnered in a marriage. But I gave up my mojo and my essential self in the process. What the hell. An independent career woman. I'd made a name for myself. A great life and STILLLLL I did that. What was I thinking??
(Now one BIG lesson I've learned is that amazing things happen in these side trips. I became a step mom to two fabulous kids. And a "sister mom" to their mom. We created a community - an extended family that was very cool... but...)
10 years, 40 pounds, depressed, emotionally wrecked & much poorer I found myself divorced and in the process of reinvention. I know I'm not alone in having experienced this particular "ring of fire" (Martha Beck's term). A painful, growth-ful, never-want-to-go-through-it-again time of my life. It's something we all experience in some form or another. And I know now that these experiences are how we get to our right life.
And then one day...
...a couple of significant things happened.
I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do. Interviewing for a J.O.B. I knew it was NOT not for me when they said all women had to wear panty hose (!) NOOOO!
I sped away and, like a good digital nomad, I found a bookstore where I could work, drink coffee, and wander the aisles for inspiration. Perusing the fiction section, art books, business books, architectural books, spiritual books. I love books.
My first nudge came when a phrase on the cover of an O Magazine popped out at me. It said 'We Should All Work Like Dogs, All the Time.' The article was by Martha Beck whom I'd never heard of. Her Rule #2 was to "do as dogs do."
"...we should do what comes most naturally, reflexively, effortlessly‚... my first and last sales principle is this: Love sells better than hate. Find a way to package what you can't stop doing‚...Use the work-like-a-dog principle to make your career and time-budgeting decisions. Should you? Only if it makes you salivate with desire." - Martha Beck O The Oprah Magazine
The next nudge was when I found THE CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR.
Again, it jumped out at me. The spine of the book is orange and purple and the title combined the words 'creative' with 'entrepreneur' WOW! The author's methods for planning your business involved visual journaling. This is something I've been doing since I was sixteen. I've always kept journals. I have dozens of them.
In this book, author Lisa Sonora uses visual journaling and mixed media and other creative means as tools to plan your business. Now that doesn't sound like work, that sounds like play!
This started me thinking‚ visual journaling makes me "salivate with desire" - maybe there's something to this.
I bought The Creative Entrepreneur and O Magazine, headed home to percolate. How can I incorporate everything I love about the careers I've had and serve both myself and the world?
(Did I mention that I was in the middle of trying - it was 2008 - to sell my house? Yeah. Fun times.)
Packing and Percolating. and I come upon a folder labeled "1998 Personal Coaching" 10 years prior! Hmmm? What's coaching?
Google here I come, and guess who pops up as "the best life coach in America" ?
MARTHA BECK!! And she has a training program starting in a month??
OK, Universe! I'm listening! I signed up for Martha's next session and I was off.
Plus, Lisa Sonora was doing a new thing - teaching "online" (whatever that meant!) So I started taking courses from her too.
12 Years Later.
I'm now a certified Martha Beck Coach and Lisa Sonora is a good friend. (the photo is me at her creativity retreat having my aha moment deciding that my mission was all about re-booting mojo.
That's what Athena Village is. Supporting other women in their visions while I reboot my own. So there you go!
Thanks, Martha! Thanks, Lisa! And thanks bookstores! Still my favorite place to go to percolate (my antonym for procrastinate!)"
[this image is my workspace in Mexico at Lisa's workshop in 2010 - where I became friends for life with Lisa and Joy Agcongay - both members in the village.
Here are some links in Athena Village...