When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
On my way
The conference was what it has always been for me: a chance to learn, to be inspired, to build relationships with people who also love to do what I do. I was excited to attend sessions where intelligent women shared openly about their experiences as freelance writers, and offered useful advice and warm encouragement for others to find their way along a similar career path. I learned from experts about how to build connections and engagement on social media platforms, and about tools that can help me create posts with visual appeal. Some sessions moved me deeply, as women shared their courageous stories of personal terror and triumph, and as we remembered a kind and beautiful member of our own community who passed away unexpectedly and too soon last spring. I even spent a lively afternoon taking a class with friends at the Collingwood Cooking Academy, where we baked delicious goods with local apples and doted on the resident ducks who quacked enthusiastically outside the kitchen door while we worked. The weekend was filled with an unbridled sharing of ideas and support for one another, and I left the conference feeling buoyed by a vibrant community for the personal possibilities that lie ahead.
The drive home from Blue Mountain was along a route that was mostly unfamiliar. I navigated a long series of turns onto country roads, the open skies revealing sights that were either touching or unnerving to me. At first my hands gripped the steering wheel as I wound through curving roads leading upward, the asphalt made slick by an unseasonably early snowfall, but in time I relaxed into the rhythm of wheels rolling steadily under a canopy of heavily frosted trees. Once I passed the snow belt, the white branches gave way to ones bearing gloriously coloured leaves, clustered together to create a beautiful autumn canvas that stretched on for miles across farmers' fields. I drove past massive wind turbines spinning eerily in the otherwise quiet air, their rotating blades intimidating me in a strange, inexplicable way. I saw flocks of playful sheep and velvety brown cattle grazing peacefully at the sides of the road, and every now and then the sun's rays streamed earnestly through small gaps in the cloud cover, creating brief moments of sublime illumination. Steering myself though the hills and turns, with new discoveries around each bend, made me feel very much alive.
I have a similar kind of unexplored route to navigate in the coming months and years if I want to realize my dreams, one that will certainly be filled with moments of fear and frustration, and hopefully also of surprise and delight. I am so grateful for my experiences at Blissdom and what this community has given me to help me on my way: direction and inspiration to continually keep moving forward, friends who encourage and believe in me, and a new-found confidence that has come from believing in myself.
Special thanks to Jennifer Powell and the entire Blissdom team for the wonderful conferences and opportunities they've created over the past several years, and best wishes to all of us on the exciting roads that lie ahead.