For a little more than a year now I’ve been a sponsor through Women for Women International. The first year I sponsored a woman living in the Democratic Republic of Congo named Elise Nzigire M’Cirindye.Although I never received a photo of Elise she did send two wonderful hand-written letters that were translated by Women for Women. From those two letters I learned that Elise was married with four children ages 20 months to 12 years old. They lived in a mud dwelling with a thatched roof. The majority of her day was spent working in the fields, fetching water, looking for food, cooking, cleaning and, of course, taking care of her family. And, she was a survivor of war. She began her letter, “I am happy to greet you my loving sister!” I don’t know if I can do justice to the feelings I experienced when I received those letters…holding a piece of paper in my hand that had traveled half way around the world, written in a language that I could not decipher, and yet, I felt so connected to the woman who wrote those words. It was goose-bump, spine-tingly, teary-eyed amazing stuff. And, I felt hopeful. The letters represented possibility…possibility that I might actually make a positive difference in Elise’s life…possibility that she could truly create a better life for herself and her family through the Women for Women training program…possibility that this was only the beginning. There were tens of thousands of women to help in war-torn regions all around the world…yet, I felt hopeful knowing that Women for Women was doing more and more work to reach out to these women and help them learn to help themselves. (Flash forward a year to the first small steps of my creating The Infinite Possibility of Women Helping Women – my upcoming CD release/fundraiser.) During the year long program, Women for Women International supports women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job-skills training, rights education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives. When Elise graduated from the program, I received a survey she completed which showed the areas that had improved in her life because of her training: her health, family’s health, ability to get medical care, sense of self-confidence, support network, relationship with her husband, relationship with her family, economic situation, awareness of her rights, ability to make decisions, and ability to send her children to school. Wow! All of that was accomplished with her hard work and my relatively small commitment of $27 a month. That’s when I knew I had to get the word out about the great work begin done by Women for Women across the globe, and the inspiration for turning my CD release into a fundraiser took shape.I’m now sponsoring Deborah Ajak Nhom-gol from the Sudan. She is married with three children and three other dependent adults living with her. They have no electricity, use torches to see at night and must walk long distances to bring their water from a well. She has had no formal education. She has lost family members due to the war. And now, she is my sister. Our lives could not be more different, and yet, I know we share much in common – our basic human needs and desires and feelings. We love our families. We breathe and laugh and cry. We’re women. And it’s my sincere hope that our involvement with Women for Women International will elevate our lives in ways neither of us can even imagine. I truly believe in the infinite possibility of it all and I hope that you will join me and many other hopeful women on this journey! Visit the Women for Women International website to learn how you can sponsor a woman today and stay tuned for more details about the creativity, art, music and women that are coming together to raise awareness and funds for this life-changing organization.
“Only those who risk going too far know how far they can go.” – T.S. Eliot, poet, playwright.
Okay, so I’ve never held a combination CD release-silent auction-fund raiser before. In the wise words of my creative mentor, Jill Badonsky, “So what? I’ll do it anyway!” In Badonsky’s inspiring book, The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard), Audacity – the Muse of Courage and Uninhibited Uniqueness, might just be my favorite. She’s the muse who acts “as if” she can be who she wants to be and do what she wants to do and urges us to do the same. Several years ago, Audacity helped me get back to writing songs and performing. Then she encouraged me to become a certified creativity coach and start my own business – Creative Oasis Coaching. Throughout the past year, Audacity has helped me to record my first solo CD. (People don’t buy CDs anymore you say? So what – I’ll do it anyway!) Today she’s helping me as I boldly go where I’ve personally never gone before – to create a fund raising event that combines my passions for creativity, connections, music, philanthropy, performance, and supporting others in their creative and life journeys. Definitely a major moment in my Mid-Life Oasis™!So what? I’ll do it anyway on Saturday, March 27, 2010 to be precise! (with the help of many wonderful friends!) Thanks to Donna Harris of the always in the know inTown Mix, I’ve found the ideal venue – the dreamy 7 Senses in the Dallas design district. Imagine Moulin Rouge meets Alice in Wonderland meets the inside of Jeannie’s bottle on “I Dream of Jeannie” (where I wanted to live as a little girl!) and you begin to get a sense of the ambiance. (look for an interview with the creative genius behind 7 Senses – Reg Land, in an upcoming blog!) In my last entry I shared the details of my plan for The Infinite Possibility of Women Helping Women event. Since that entry, I’ve received the first piece of artwork and let me tell you it’s amazing. I’m beginning to think that the most difficult part of this entire process for me is going to be relinquishing the artwork to the silent auction with the proceeds going to benefit Women for Women International. (stay tuned for information about Women for Women and interviews, photos and videos of the artists and their work in the coming months) I’m looking forward to the adventure that awaits me, and to introducing you to some fabulous artists and amazing humans along the way! So, as we sometimes say in creativity coaching – Ready! Fire! Aim! – which is another way of saying “Let’s get this party started!” – we’ll figure out the details as we go! p.s. – I was recently interviewed by Molly Childers for The Creativity Portal. Here’s a link to the interview. A big thanks to Molly & The Creativity-Portal!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
As a creative life coach, I often use quotes that I hope will inspire my clients. Recently I shared this quote with a client, and it made a great impact on both of us. I feel energized, hopeful and filled with possibility each time I read it because, while I may not know how to save the world, I do know what makes me come alive – creativity, music & art! That’s why I’m so excited about the plans taking shape for my CD release celebration, which I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago . It began with playing the “what if” game (great creative coaching tool that “what if”!) I began thinking of ways the event might become something more than just a night of live music at a smoky club. (well, luckily, the clubs in Dallas aren’t smoky anymore!) “What if” I somehow combined art with my music? What would that look like? What if it became a charitable event? What if it celebrated and helped women? What if? Here’s where all of that “what-iffing” led – The Infinite Possibility of Women Helping Women – a night of music, art and women helping women around the world!I’ve always been amazed by the number of talented female artists I have as friends. I may be able to write, record and perform original music, but my artistic attempts are purely therapeutic. You won’t find any of my vision-boards or creative oasis journals in a gallery. But, I have dozens of extremely talented friends who create artistic magic out of thin air (and a little paint or film). Now I’m equally amazed by their generosity. Thirteen artists have agreed to each create and donate an original piece of art inspired by one of the songs on my CD. The night of the CD release celebration (date and place TBD) this artwork will be put up in a silent auction with the proceeds benefiting Women for Women International. As I’ve never created or facilitated a fundraising event such as this, I have a lot to learn over the coming weeks and months. This is a classic example of “ready, fire, aim!” – but sometimes that’s the best way to make something happen – dive in head first and start paddling like crazy. I have the support and wisdom of so many wonderful people, my intuition tells me this is all meant to be! In the coming weeks I’ll be posting updates, artist interviews, music and more information about Women for Women leading up to the big event. Madeleine K. Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” I’d prefer to think there’s a special place right here on earth for those who do. ~ All the best from my creative oasis to yours, Jill
Last week, our sweet friend, 8-year Piper, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. Now, even in the hospital, hooked up to a machine and awaiting her first round of chemo, Piper was a hoot. She’s spunky, dramatic, fun-loving and if you can envision anyone donning a purple bob wig and kicking cancer in the booty, it’s this girl!When I visited her last week, I brought a Diva Supply Kit that my daughter and I had put together (because when you’re a diva, you’re a diva – whether at home, school or in the stinkin’ hospital!) filled with fun stuff like a pink-feather boa, shiny hat, VIP badge, autograph book and a stack of 8 x 10 colored glossies and a pink sharpie so Piper could sign autographs for her visitors. The kit was a hit. She put on her diva hat, VIP badge and cheetah scarf and then posed while her dad took pictures until she said, “No more paparazzi, please! No more!” putting a dramatic hand to her brow.Another thing I came prepared to give Piper that day was a guided imagery. This is something I do for all of my clients at the end of each coaching session. Guided imageries are relaxing and a nice way to access the intuitive wisdom of our right brain. My hope was that it would offer Piper a way to relax by being able to put herself in a “happy place” if things got tough during her treatments. I didn’t know if she would have the patience for it, or “get it”, but I thought it was worth a shot.I sat gently beside her on her hospital bed and asked, “Have you ever done a guided imagery, Piper?” She immediately closed her eyes, relaxed back onto her enormous, pink furry pillow and said, “No, but I’m going to right now…. I’m on a beach…I have a big glass of iced tea. Oh, this is so nice. The paparazzi are everywhere. It’s so sunny. I can hear the ocean waves…” On and on she went painting this beautiful, fully realized picture of herself as a diva, relaxing on the beach. Her mom and I tried our best not to belly- laugh so that we could hear what she was saying because it was all priceless.“Wow, that was great!” I told her. “You don’t need me. You really have this guided imagery stuff down. And you know what? Any time you need to go to your ‘happy place’, you can close your eyes and do exactly what you just did here! It’s a great way to relax, slow down your blood pressure and feel a little better all by yourself!”“Hmmmm….”, she said. “Happy place number two…I’m back stage at a rock concert! The paparazzi are everywhere!” And she was off! Clearly, this little girl is well adept at tuning into her own “happy places” and we adults could learn a thing or two from her!As her friends and family well know, Piper rocks!(Some good friends have assembled a team to walk in Piper’s honor this Saturday night at the Light the Night Walk – sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’d like to join them and support Team Piper – click here –http://pages.lightthenight.org/ntx/Plano09/TeamPiper!)
This is a page from my Creative Oasis Journal. I use this type of journal with my coaching clients and for myself as a place to combine inspirational words and images in collage form. The above is my most recent entry and one I’m very excited about because it holds clues to a big event coming up in my life – the release of my CD.
Pink Heels Services: Business Coaching & Consulting
What inspired you to start your woman-owned business?
A few years ago I was feeling stuck, frustrated, unfulfilled and overwhelmed. Working one-on-one with a creativity coach changed my life within weeks! I returned to my love of music, began singing, writing songs and even performing again. I rediscovered the authentic me and life became a joy again. My amazing creativity coach, Jill Badonsky, thought I would make a good coach too. I loved the idea of helping other women create the positive mid-life experience that I was enjoying, so I went through an extensive training course and earned by certification as a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. I founded Creative Oasis Coaching and now love my new mid-life career as a creative lifestyle coach!
What were your primary goals when you started working with Pink Heels?
To learn how to create a greater presence on the Internet, share my message of hope with a greater audience, and formalize my business with things like a marketing plan and branding.
What goal are you most proud of that you accomplished while working with Pink Heels?
I’m very happy that I’ve clarified my mission statement and created a strong foundation from which to continue to grow my coaching practice.
What have you learned about yourself during the journey with Pink Heels?
I’ve learned that although one-on-one coaching sessions, writing articles and blog posts and facilitating workshops, retreats and teleclasses are my favorite aspects of Creative Oasis Coaching, I am also able to handle the necessary business and marketing aspects of my practice. (with the wonderful guidance and encouragement of Pink Heels!)
What is the name of your new small business that is ‘Up & Running?’
Creative Oasis Coaching
Web Site: www.creativeoasiscoaching.com
Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share with the world; especially any potential women entrepreneurs?
Listen to your intuition. If you have an idea that energizes you and brings you joy whenever you think about it, talk about it or write about it – you’re on the right track. Then, reach out for the support you need to make your dreams come true – whether it be working with a coach or finding a support group or taking a class. And for those women in and around the mid-life years, I truly believe that you deserve to create a Mid-Life Oasis™ – because it doesn’t have to be a crisis. I’m living proof of that!