It’s a grey drizzly day in Seattle with a touch of ice in the air. I’m warm and cozy inside the Honey Bear Bakery section of Third Place Books, nestled into a battered but cushy leather couch, next to a blazing fire in a stone fireplace. The three 20-somethings sitting across from me on a matching couch each have a white iBook open just like mine. We’re all buzzing away on the internet inside Seattle’s favorite independent bookstore. Some things just cut across age and gender lines, don’t they?
I’m supposed to be in a workshop over at the Women of Wisdom conference right now, but I’ve already been so filled and nourished by my experiences there yesterday, I’m playing hooky. I’m slowing down and cogitating on the insights that have already come my way instead of going back for more. (Of course I won’t miss tonight’s concert with Lisa Thiel and Shawna Carol. I heard that Kellianna is making a surprise appearance too.)
Within the first hour or so after I arrived at the conference, I must have heard a variation on this question half a dozen times: “So how’s the deck coming along? When it will be done?”
I found myself answering, “Well, when you think of me, will you send me a little energy to have spaces in my life keep opening up so I can finish it?” Of course they all said yes, which is lovely. It feels good to have that kind of support. (For the record, my goal is to have the Minors all done by the end of this year.)
It was a little disconcerting though, to have women that I don’t know well, or don’t know at all, ask me with a tone of concern in their voices, “And how is your father doing?” And then I realize — of course. They read this blog. I just have to smile. The internet can be an amazing tool for connection.
One of my favorite bloggers, Chavala, was in a writing workshop with me yesterday afternoon. It was great to see her face and to reconnect with her in person. I was very nervous, but I stood up in the workshop and read the first paragraph of my SageWoman article. Whew. I’m very confident as a visual artist but less confident as a writer. I was pleased and gratified at the group’s response; but I was especially happy that I had conquered my fear and stood up to read in spite of my thumping heart.
I met my friend Waverly for dinner and we talked a mile a minute, asking each other (like we do every year) why the heck we don’t get together in person more often. Since I manage her websites, we’re in constant email contact, but only see each other in person about once a year, at WOW time. The same goes with my friends Lori and Deb. They are such fabulous women, and we always have such a great time together. They let me stay in their womb-like basement guest room, leaving me the key under the mat because they go to bed so early (women after my own heart — early to bed, early to rise, just like me). This morning we talked and talked and talked, catching up on a whole year’s worth of news and revelations, in their cozy living room with the salmon colored walls adorned with Lori’s wild artwork.
And I haven’t even mentioned reconnecting with Christina Baldwin after nearly a decade, and being moved to tears by her presentation on the Seven Whispers. Or all the other conversations, hugs and gales of laughter. I feel so full and blessed.
I’ve been involved with the WOW conferences for most of their fourteen year history. Over the years I’ve attended workshops, been a vendor, hung my art in the art show and taught workshops on the Tarot, lunar astrology and nature journaling. I’ve managed and updated the WOW website for the last three years and did the graphic design for the print catalog last year as well. This year I gave them permission to use my “Star” from the Gaian Tarot to advertise the conference.
It occurs to me that the women of WOW are the only people in my life (other than my husband and close friends) who know me in all the different roles I play. They know me as an artist specializing in Goddess themes and now Tarot; they know me as a workshop leader; and they know me as a web designer. Most people who encounter me know me in one or two of those roles but not all of them. It surprised me to find how good it felt to be in a community of people who knew me in all those ways.
This afternoon, sitting in this bookshop in a city a hundred miles from home, I feel nurtured, embraced and cradled by all these lovely women of wisdom.