Going Gray

I used to joke about how coloring my hair was akin to keeping my portrait in the attic the way the fictional Dorian Grey did – one day, I’d have to face reality. The day has come! I’ve decided to let the gray grow in.

In The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, a handsome British aristocrat has his portrait painted, and promptly falls in love with the beauty of his image. He makes a deal with the devil that allows him to stay forever young, while his portrait, which he keeps locked in the attic, ages.

If you google “going gray,” you’ll discover that graying hair is a trend. Apparently, a lot of baby boomers are facing their Dorian Grey moment. Most women who’ve transitioned successfully from artificial color to a natural look, profess to love their salt and pepper tresses.

I’ve colored since my mid-forties. While I was still in the corporate work force, I felt pressured not to age too visibly, since I was working with colleagues young enough to be my children. Now that my sole focus is writing and I have much more flexibility in my schedule, it feels like a good time for this grand experiment.

Liberating myself from the time and expense of coloring is appealing. But I confess, I’m ambivalent. After consulting with my hairdresser, we agreed to continue highlighting without coloring the roots to help blend the colors. This means we’ll need to trim off old color with every haircut, and that the new growth will mingle with the old color, hopefully, in a pleasing way.

According to Wilde’s novella, Dorian was so freaked out when he saw the portrait, that he stabbed it. His servants found an aged dead body in the attic next to the portrait, which had grown young again.

Dorian faces his portrait in the 1945 The Pict...

Dorian faces his portrait in the 1945 The Picture of Dorian Gray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t plan on destroying any of my old photographs. But I may need to avoid mirrors! While the process will be gradual, it will likely be a shock as more and more gray hair grows in. I plan to post pictures as the process unfolds over the coming months, so stay tuned. Drop me a line if you have tips or words of encouragement.

Signs of Hope

They aren’t big or flashy. They are about the size of a bread-box. But they are eye-catching. I’m talking about the signs I noticed in my neighborhood: the first one, a hopeful sighting, the second, an affirmation, and the third, a trend. I was on a Sunday evening walk, when I noticed this:

It’s a declaration, an incantation, a prayer. I love that it begins, “In this house, we believe,” which is a statement of true faith. Right now, our faith is being sorely tested. From conversations with friends, and scanning my Facebook feed, I know that I’m not alone in wondering where my country went. Basic American values like fairness, freedom of speech and religion, and everyday common courtesy and kindness seem to have been tossed aside like yesterday’s trash.

To put it crassly: Donald Trump is ruining the American brand. If I no longer feel at home in America despite being born and raised here, how must economic migrants or political refugees feel? Thankfully, a few principled Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham are speaking out. Northern California Democrats are introducing legislation to overturn the refugee ban, and many organizations are challenging the new administration in the courts.

There are many reasons for hope, but these simple signs declaring that “Kindness is everything” in yards outside houses in my Oakland neighborhood have lifted my spirits tremendously.

Here in the Grand-Lake district, we are diverse and open-minded. I vote at my local Baptist church in every election, and I shop small merchants on Lakeshore Avenue. On any given day, I can hear a half a dozen languages spoken before I reach the bus stop in the morning. We are every shade from ecru, to café au lait, to burnt toast, and every religion, or none. We are runners, bicyclists, square dancers, and practitioners of hip-hop. Whenever something happens – the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, Prince’s death, or a hostile takeover of our government – we gather to mourn, celebrate, or protest.

Lately, it’s mostly protest marches. Here is what we believe:

Black Lives Matter

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

No Human is Illegal

Science is Real

Love is Love

Kindness is Everything

 

Visit facebook.com/inthishouseproject and like their page. Namaste, y’all.

A Sea of Pussy Hats

The Oakland Woman’s March, 60,000 strong, snaked around Lake Merritt and through the streets of the city on a windswept, mostly dry, Saturday. The mood was celebratory – and defiant – following the inauguration of Donald J. Trump the day before.

Pink, rose, and fuchsia pussy hats – knit caps with cat ears – adorned the heads of men, women and children, making bright pops of color against the concrete buildings and slate gray sky. The San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Band, installed at Grand and Harrison Street across from the Cathedral of Christ the Light, blasted out trumpet flourishes and catchy drum riffs.

I folded into the leading edge of the march, walking under signs that read, “You’re so Vain, You Probably Think this March is About You,” “Free Melania,” and “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” The image of Trump’s clenched fist, one of the most bizarre optics of his all too bizarre speech, was countered by thousands of protesters, many with children in strollers, marching through my city.

What Barack Obama has called “the audacity of hope” is the best way to describe the mood; that, plus a kind of infectious joy and in your face resistance to our newly installed president. All of us had other things to do, and places to be, and yet we chose to be right here, declaring our allegiance to the First Amendment and the rule of law.

Millions around the world joined in the protest. As images from Antarctica, Sydney, Berlin, Paris, London, Washington, D.C., New York, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles popped up on my Facebook feed, I was comforted and inspired knowing that the world is watching, that we are not alone, and that whatever happens next will not happen under the cover of darkness.

We may be living through a “post-truth” era, but smartphone video has forever changed the ability of power to hide its abuses. We ordinary citizens have extraordinary power to shape our destiny – and it’s clear we’re not afraid to use it.

As I wrote in one of my posts as the marches unfolded, “Patriarchy, your days are numbered.”

One of my extended family, a guy, commented that he thought this was a divisive sentiment, that I was excluding men. On the contrary. To me, patriarchy is a rigid system of attempting to control others and how they think and act. It’s quite possible to be female and yet part of a patriarchal power structure – Margaret Thatcher comes readily to mind. Clearly, men of good will are very much part of the movement resisting Trump and standing up for our freedoms.

When patriarchy crumbles, and true, human-centered values flower, we all win. As Gloria Steinem said at the Washington, D.C. event, “This is the upside of the downside.” We are at a tipping point. It is up to each of us to stand for love, compassion, equality, and true care for our planet.

I walked home from the march with a renewed sense that this is not only possible, but unfolding before my eyes. This is our moment. Let’s seize it! For ideas on next steps, visit https://www.womensmarch.com/100/ and follow #WhyIMarch.

 

Travels with Mohammed, a postcript

When I began the Travels with Mohammed blog, I called it a “blovy,” a combination blog and love story. As our journey began, we were over the moon with excitement, our itinerary a list of beautiful adventures free of the constraints of reality.

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If you followed Travels with Mohammed, you saw firsthand the beautiful sights and delicious meals, the skylines of Paris and Barcelona, the pristine blue of the Mediterranean Sea in Mallorca. Many of you wrote me that it was as if you were traveling with us.

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Five weeks in Europe was a grand adventure. We sat for hours in cafes, savored the red sandstone cathedral in Basel, the winding streets of the Marais in Paris, the canals of Girona in Spain. We drove from hill town to hill town in Provence, chasing one magnificent vista after the next. We even swam in that salty, blue Mediterranean and hitchhiked from the beach back to the town of Deia. We went without package deals or tour guides, totally on our own, free to wander to our hearts’ content.

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But this “trip of a lifetime” came at a cost. Five weeks of togetherness in three countries proved challenging. All the normal travel mishaps befell us, testing our patience and our resolve to be our best selves together.

The GPS in our car didn’t work, leading to fierce arguments and hours of driving around Provence in circles. We didn’t know that Perpignan had two train stations, one for the high speed TGV, another for regional trains. We couldn’t find the rental car return, which was buried on the second level of a parking garage attached to the station. We came within moments of missing our train, shouting at each other in the elevator, saved only because the train was late. I came down with a dreadful cold, and Mohammed spent our first day in Girona sightseeing alone. Suddenly, we couldn’t seem to agree on which restaurant to choose for dinner, let alone the next logistical challenge of our itinerary.

I could go on, but if you’ve done any independent travel, these things have happened to you too. By the time we got home, our relationship was hanging by a thread. When I describe this to friends, they just laugh, and tell me their own travel horror stories. Some couples seem to take travel stress in stride, and find ways to repair the cracks. We tried. But it didn’t work. And so, with great sadness, Mohammed and I have parted company after 18 months, some of the happiest of my life.

I had no idea that being together 24/7 for 38 days would lead to the dissolution of our relationship. I wish it hadn’t. But I can’t bring myself to regret one moment of our trip, even our fiercest arguments. We were in the moment, living life with passionate engagement, which is what makes travel so intoxicating.

A tour or a cruise would have been less stressful, it’s true. But nothing can erase the vivid memory of speaking garbled French with a woman on a park bench, or waking up to the sounds of Paris coming alive in the morning, or getting lost in the the Jewish quarter of Girona, or getting picked up by a young Spanish couple in a dinged up Honda, our skin salty from the sea, and being driven back to town. May I please do it again very soon!

 

 

Retirement and the loss of identity

Work has always been a refuge for me. It signified perhaps more than it should have – that I was valued, worthwhile, accomplished. Like many Baby Boomer women, when I first began working in the early 1970s it was still unusual for women to have careers outside of nursing or teaching, or to plan to remain in the workforce for an entire lifetime.

I began my career as a journalist. Later, I worked in corporate communications largely because the pay was better and the jobs more secure. Outside of a few months off when my daughters were born, I’ve worked steadily for 44 years. So thinking about giving up my profession was very disorienting and scary.

Last August, I finally pulled the trigger. After much angst and second guessing, I left my secure position as a corporate editor. Of the many things that kept me up at night before I retired, the loss of my professional identity was the most worrisome.

Eleanor Vincent

Eleanor Vincent, picture by Lynn Watson

I was leaving behind the accomplishments of four decades — awards, professional contacts, raises and promotions. A biweekly paycheck is very motivational! Who would I be without those tangible markers of success?

During the final years of my career I wrote and edited health advice and information for the nation’s largest HMO. Our work was used by patients on a daily basis. I found that very satisfying because I was helping physicians communicate in plain English in ways that directly affected the health of our readers. I worked closely with many Kaiser Permanente physicians and health educators across Northern California for almost a decade. Whenever I got a note of appreciation, I felt as if all my hard work was worth it.

As I crossed days off the calendar in preparation for my retirement party, the questions swirled. Who would I be without my work? How would I cope with the loss of routines, colleagues, and all the perks of my corporate identity?

Luckily, I had a second career in waiting. I’d never stopped writing while I was working. I went back to graduate school and got an MFA in creative writing from Mills College in my mid-40s (concurrently working full time) and began writing a memoir. Swimming with Maya was initially published in 2004. That cemented my identity as a writer and gave me hope that once I could afford to retire and live on a fixed income (which I viewed as my own personal “genius grant”) I’d be able to write full time.

So from my mid-50s onward I was planning my escape from corporate work. The book was republished in 2013 and was quite successful as an e-book and paperback so that caused me to dream even bigger.

I had another ace up my sleeve. My father always had a dual career as a college professor during the academic year and actor during the summers. After he retired from teaching, Dad moved to Manhattan and pursued his acting career full time. I saw my father enjoy his years in active retirement enormously. From childhood on, I had a role model for how this might look.

About a year before I retired, I began seriously envisioning how I’d invest my time once I was no longer in a gray cubicle. I spoke with fellow writers Susan Ito and Louise Nayer about the San Francisco Writers Grotto, a writing center and co-working space for writers where they are both members. The Grotto would provide the office space and support of colleagues I’d be giving up when I left corporate work. I initiated the application process and after some months was accepted. In the weeks immediately before I retired, when my anxiety was at its highest, I knew I’d have a place to land.

In retrospect, my corporate identity was a prop. Had I been more confident in my abilities as a writer, perhaps I would not have had the career as an editor I had. On the other hand, having that professional persona gave me a lot — the ability to raise kids as a single mom, something to fall back on after two divorces, financial stability, and a sense of empowerment and self-esteem.

Now with the financial foundation I put in place over four decades, I am carving out space for my identity as a writer. I started at the Grotto one month after I left Kaiser. In the ten months since, I have worked steadily on drafting a novel and am now working on revisions and shopping for an agent.

I always knew that one day I’d devote myself to my creative work but I couldn’t have dreamed how satisfying it would be. Being willing to take the leap and leave behind my old identity means my days are now spent in celebration of my creative freedom — and a lot of hard work!

An Unexpected Gift

by September Vaudrey

My guest on “That’s the Way Life Lives,” September Vaudrey, is a warm, engaging writer. We first met through social media and this blog. After several years of “virtual friendship,” I met September last May while doing a reading in Chicago. Our shared experience of our daughter’s deaths, and our mutual decision to donate their organs and tissues to strangers in need, forever unites us. Enjoy September’s inspiring words and please support her by purchasing her new book, Colors of Goodbye.

 

My husband and I stood next to our daughter’s motionless body. Katie, 19, lay on a gurney, a ventilator forcing air into her lungs, while her heart was shocked back into a sustainable rhythm. A cerebral aneurysm that lurked unsuspected in Katie’s brain had ruptured, cutting off all blood flow. Six hours later, she was declared brain-dead.

“Katie had signed the organ-donor line on her driver’s license,” the neurosurgeon told us. “Is organ donation something you would consider?”

“Absolutely,” Scott replied. I nodded in agreement. If Katie’s young, healthy organs could no longer be of use to her, I knew she would want them to help others. Our daughter would not live, but perhaps she could live on.

Katie Vaudrey

Katie Vaudrey

The next day, Katie gave the final gifts of her life. A 37-year-old mother received her left kidney and pancreas. A 43-year-old man received her right kidney. Her liver saved the life of a 68-year-old grandma. Her heart valves were saved for future use. And a 26-year-old woman who received Katie’s lungs was now breathing the fresh June air. In addition, Katie had donated bone, cartilage, and connective tissue for various orthopedic reconstructions, skin from her back for burn grafts—and both her corneas, which restored vision to a young man and woman.

All because she signed the line on the back of her driver’s license. I would give anything for my daughter not to have given these gifts, but it brought deep satisfaction to learn how much good had come from something so awful.

Two of the most meaningful gifts from Katie’s donation were not ones listed on the donor report we received.

Because it takes about a day to find suitable matches for organ donation and get the recipients prepped for surgery, our family received the unexpected gift of a 27-hour vigil with our girl. I never left her room. I sat with her, held her hand, stroked her warm skin. That sacred vigil will forever linger tenderly in my heart. It also allowed time for our older kids to fly home from college so we could gather together as a whole family, one final time. We prayed over Katie and said our goodbyes. What a gift that vigil was.

And I received the additional gift of hearing from three of Katie’s recipients in the months following her death. While I find peace in knowing Katie’s soul lives on in the next reality, it bolsters my resilience and gives me joy to visualize how her final gifts are living on in this world through those to whom she gave the gift of life.

Deciding to be on the organ donor list is simple, it’s free, and it gives the greatest of gifts—not only to organ recipients, but to donor families like ours, in ways you may never have imagined. You can learn more here.

Eleanor and September

Eleanor and September

About September Vaudrey

September Vaudrey and husband, Scott, have five grown children and two grandchildren. September is on staff in the pastoral care department at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. She teaches workshops on parenting, grief, and marital restoration. Her book, Colors of Goodbye: A Memoir of Holding On, Letting Go, and Reclaiming Joy in the Wake of Loss, tells the story of September’s journey to rebuild her life in the aftermath of her daughter Katie’s death.

Website: septembervaudrey.com

Twitter: @septvaudrey

Facebook: SeptemberVaudrey.author

Instagram: septembervaudrey

E-mail: svaudrey@gmail.com

 

An Upward Spiral

My daughter died 24 years ago on April 6,1992. While more than two decades have passed, the impact of Maya’s short life continues.

Grieving for Maya invited me to mature spiritually and emotionally, and to reach a new understanding of the meaning of love. Love, in my new universe, included the ability to allow my child to have her death, on her own terms.

Maya’s life continues to inspire me, and countless others through the miracle of donation and transplantation – and through you, my readers.

I was 24-years-old when I became a mother and fell hopelessly in love with my bright, beautiful little girl. I could never have imagined that 19 years later I would be staring down at Maya’s face in a coffin.

Maya, age 18 months, at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis

Maya, age 18 months, at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis

I can’t sugarcoat the process of letting go. I thought it would kill me. Swimming with Maya shows how day by day I fought to raise my surviving daughter, Meghan, continue my professional life as a writer and editor, and find my balance in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.

Grief recovery is a dance where for every step forward you take two steps back, and yet somehow in the end you begin to spiral upward. Other than mothering, grief was the hardest work I’ve every done. I was fortunate to have a strong inner core, a set of spiritual beliefs, innate resilience, and a host of friends and family. Even so, there were days when I thought I wouldn’t make it.

Deciding to donate Maya’s organs and tissues to strangers in need was a huge factor in my recovery, and in the way Meghan dealt with the loss of her sister. We were privileged to have something miraculous came out of something horrific. That gave us hope. Having hope motivated me to keep on keeping on.

In my latest post on Inspire Me Today, I talk about the five life lessons I took from the experience of becoming the mother of an organ donor. I hope you’ll visit on Wednesday, April 6, and leave a comment. Because April is National Donate Life Month, it’s an important time to consider becoming an organ and tissue donor.

Nearly 124,000 Americans await such a life transforming gift.

Save a life! Become an organ and tissue donor.

Save a life! Become an organ and tissue donor.

You can register to become a donor at Donate Life America’s website. Let’s keep the upward spiral going!

 

 

It’s a brave new – digital – world for authors

Many writers are excited about publishing and promoting their work online. So many options, so little time. It can seem overwhelming. So when fellow Dream of Things author Madeline Sharples asked me to join her on a panel at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, I jumped at the chance.

Eleanor and Madeline at the Swimming with Maya launch party

Eleanor and Madeline at the Swimming with Maya launch party

The Annual Digital Author and Indie Publishing Writers Conference (DAISP 2016) targets writers who want to learn about the latest publishing options. Major digital publishers include Author Solutions, Amazon, Apple, BookBaby, and Smashwords, as well as the traditional “Big Five” New York Publishers.

Slated for Feb. 26, 27, and 28 at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys, DAISP 2016 features industry experts, educators, agents and publishers, who will provide practical tips about how writers can navigate this brave new world.

Experienced authors in multiple genres, including memoir and narrative nonfiction, will join the discussion. That’s where Madeline and I come in. We’ve both used social media and online networking to promote our books successfully. Our panel, “Building a Platform and Social Networking,” will offer real life examples of how to use online channels effectively, including their limitations as well as advantages.

As publishing evolves, more authors are making their books available through indie and mid-sized publishers, or becoming a DIY publisher.  Each path to publication has pros and cons, but all require authors to become active proponents of their work using social media, blogging, podcasting, and other tools. A key issue for many writers is how to balance their writing time vs the time needed to connect with readers. We will talk about that at our panel on Saturday, February 27 at 11:15 a.m.

“The past four years have brought about more upheaval in the publishing industry than the previous 400 years combined,” says conference presenter Keith Ogorek, SVP-Marketing at Author Solutions and writer of the Indie Book Writers blog.

In the last few years, the publishing world has undergone an indie revolution. The exponential growth of e-books and digital readers has accelerated change, because physical stores are no longer the only way for authors to connect with readers.

Eleanor Vincent

Eleanor Vincent, picture by Lynn Watson

My experience with Swimming with Maya bears this out. When it was reissued in 2013 by Dream of Things, a micro publisher in Chicago, we focused primarily on digital channels to promote the new e-book and paperback. Since then, the book has twice appeared on The New York Times e-book bestseller list – sales have topped 20,000 – most of them to e-readers at a price point well below the original hardback. Amazon reviews (209 of them) have provided amazing word-of-mouth support.

As I used social media to market my book, Madeline provided a role model as well as practical support. Her memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, and all the work she did to promote it, created a high bar. With her help as well as online guidance from experts like Jane Friedman and Dan Blank, I created a platform.

This work is fun, challenging, and never-ending. As I query agents and publishers for my next book, a novel entitled Co-opted about the ups and downs of living in an Oakland cohousing community, I will need to retool my marketing. I’m eager to hear what other presenters at DAISP have to say.

I’m grateful to everyone who has joined my social networks, reviewed Swimming with Maya, or sent their friends to my blog and website. If you are one of those supporters, thank you!

If you’d like to attend DAISP, you can get admission to the Keynote address and a free lunch if you register and use my name. Just enter YOUR NAME in the Writer Club / Coupon Code / Student ID box for Saturday’s events. You can also receive a special discount and get the pre-registration price at the door if you use my name (ask for Lilly). May not be combined with other offers. That’s up to a $50 additional discount off the pre-registration discounts.

Registration is here: http://www.wcwriters.com/special/index.html – for the “friends of the conference speakers” special.

Please join us, or let your So Cal friends know. It’s going to be an awesome event.

Letting go

As we greet 2016, I’m celebrating a clean slate – emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. The past year was a parade (some might say a circus!) of “let goes” which brought an avalanche of good into my life.

If only it was easy. But part of the value of letting go, I find, resides in its difficulty. It requires trust, faith, and spiritual maturity to release old, outmoded stuff.

I “retired” from work in Health Education at Kaiser Permanente in August of 2015. But retire is so not the right word. It’s been more like a headlong leap into my writing and artistic life.

In the process, I did two important things – create a new work space in my home and join a co-working space for writers in San Francisco, The Writer’s Grotto.

But wait, you exclaim, why do you need two work spaces? Oh, my little grasshoppers, because writing is a lonely profession, one that actually requires a village to do sanely and well. And what a magnificent village I have joined! (More on that in later posts.)

A private sanctuary is also vital for my creative life and, thus, the home work space. I live in my imagination – a lot! – and I like it that way, so I don’t handle moving stuff around in space very well. For that, I need helpers. And three splendid ones appeared: Brittni Coleman, Mohammed Ghaleb, and Camilla Hardmeyer.

Brittni helps with the transformation

Brittni helps with the transformation

With the help of these more practical angels, and with many fits and starts, I have been able to transform my home office since I left nine to five work.

Office before and after

Office before and after

I must also credit Marie Kondo, author of the best selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Loaned to me by my daughter Meghan, this little book gave me the courage and motivation to tackle a massive decluttering.

I began with clothes. Then I sold or donated more than 15 boxes and bags of books. For me, books are like old personal friends so I practically sobbed on my way to the Friends of the Library bookstore. I also gave away old, outmoded furniture. This opened space for a new look and feel in my office.

Shelves reconfigured and reinstalled - with many fewer books

Shelves reconfigured and reinstalled – with many fewer books

“No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past,” Ms. Kondo writes. “The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.”

Once begun, letting go gains momentum and magically extends to our inner world. It is an ongoing, mysterious process, so I’ll report back as 2016 unfolds. To create space for the new, we must release the old.

Rev. Jeff Anderson at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living speaks to this. You can follow Jeff at his website, or watch his talks online. I send him a big “namaste” for his inspiration and friendship this year.

I’m grateful for the support I’ve gotten to take the plunge and purge. And for all the wonderful new people and experiences that appeared in 2015.

May you be blessed with the ability to let go and receive all the good your heart desires in 2016. Let me know how it goes. I’m cheering all of us on!

 

A Spirited Woman

Nancy Mills loves to connect and empower women. A dynamo with seemingly boundless energy, she recently called me before breakfast to be sure that the links I’d submitted for the 2016 Spirited Woman Directory were working properly. Nancy is both a visionary and a stickler for detail.

Founded by Nancy in 2001, TheSpiritedWoman.com is a leading (and growing) virtual global community designed to empower women. Its mission statement is “Women inspiring women.”

Nancy Mills

Run with marketing savvy and technology panache, the services offered include an international Spirited Woman Blogger Team posting inspirational offerings,Top 12 Pick Lists of books and resources, and The Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves, which raises funds for the Spirited Woman Foundation to help heal and support women through actions of empowerment.

But the crown jewel of Nancy’s virtual empire is the annual Spirited Woman Directory: A Collection of Stories & Resources for An Inspired Life! – which celebrates “the every woman visionary who is inspiring and changing the world one spirited woman step at a time.”

The 2016 Spirited Woman Directory

Since the first directory was published online in 2012, more than 275 women from eight countries and over 35 states have participated in the project.

This year, I was fortunate enough to be one of them. Nancy’s enthusiasm is contagious. After speaking with her for just five minutes, I was won over by her passionate commitment to her vision.

Nancy is blessed with an uncanny ability to find and bring together women from around the globe who are doing amazing healing and creative work. Getting to know these women through monthly calls and Facebook posts has been proof positive: Women inspiring women really works!

“I gravitate toward women who are doing their best to help others,” Nancy says. “I view myself as a cheerleader for other women and I think the women who join the project feel the same way about what they do.”

Each woman listed in the directory writes a short version of her life story intended to uplift and support other women and provides links to her website and social media so that viewers can find her.

The Spirited Woman Directory is a free informational tool to download, and/or embed and share. It is available via websites, blogs, e-lists, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and other social media. Early in 2016, you will also be able to download it as an App on your mobile phone. It is designed to be shared globally by everyone.

Nancy believes her vision of changing the world one woman visionary at a time has never been more vital. “The divine feminine needs to come forward and help heal a world gone mad,” she says. “If we can light a fire of inspiration, we can touch one life, and another, and another. We’re all here to make a difference.”

I’ve always believed in the power of networking and of women supporting women. Nancy’s enthusiasm, her belief in other women, and her ability to tap her intuition to bring women together, have inspired me to double down on my commitment to live a spirited life and to make a positive difference in the world.

Please view and download your free copy of The Spirited Woman Directory and then share it with your friends and virtual networks. Help us light a fire of inspiration!