Friday, August 24, 2012

Carry With You

“Carry with you maps and string, flashlights,

Friends who make you sing

And stars to help you find your place,

Music, hope and amazing grace.”

-          Mary Chapin Carpenter

After I was informed of my corporate job moving locations and my resulting layoff, it was very challenging to work another month and a half until my last day, caught between two worlds, wanting to wrap up existing responsibilities in a professional manner, yet needing to consider my personal future.  I encountered a range of emotions as I faced a lengthy chapter in my career coming to a close and the uncertainty ahead – depression, fear and anxiety, yet there was also a glimmer of hope, daring me to ask myself “what if?”  What if, instead of choosing the “safer” path of another job in the same field, I chose to venture into unchartered territory?  What if I followed more of my heart and less of my head?  What if I took a leap of faith to finally pursue my dream?  What if “maybe someday” became today?  What if?

During this time, my “maps and string” consisted of late night online research on creative careers and small business and creative, motivational and informative books stacked on my nightstand to read at bedtime in an effort to stay focused on positive and forward thinking.  Concentrating on potential and possibility helped me to remain calm and determined during and in the wake of my layoff.  
One of the brightest “flashlights” for me during this time was author and career coach Gail McMeekin’s “The 12 Secrets Of Highly Creative Women A Portable Mentor.”  Gail’s inspiring book was like a beacon of hope for me and one of the influential tools that helped pave the way for my leap of faith, launching Plumeria Papercraft and embarking on an exciting creative journey.  I was grateful for an opportunity earlier this year to participate in Gail’s “The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal” group, gathering weekly via Gail’s Facebook page to discuss each chapter/secret and share experiences and insights with a supportive group of creative women.  Completing the journal and participating in this group actually empowered me to launch this blog!  My deep gratitude to Gail for the insight and wisdom she shares in her books and for the guidance she so kindly provided during our journaling group.   

I’m amazed at the many blessings that resulted from joining the journaling group – an opportunity to connect directly with Gail whom I admire and respect, launching my Paper and Ponder blog, and also, meeting kindred creative spirit, author/journalist and fellow blogger, Tina of Tickled Pink Woman, her lovely blog focusing on self care, mindfulness and creativity. 

How tremendously grateful I am for "friends who make you sing" - new connections in the creative community like Gail, Tina, and Etsy friends, longtime friends near and far, "coworker" friends.  No, they don't make me sing literally because I'd surely scare them all away (ha ha!), but they make my heart and soul sing with their friendship, kindness and encouragement, they inspire me and they motivate me to keep believing in "what if's."

I hope you are gathering your own "maps and string, flashlights, friends who make you sing" and heading toward your "what if's!"