A couple weeks ago I took two days off work to attend the How Women Work conference.
I’m passionate about HWW. I first met the founder Carolin, at a time when I was seriously doubting my decision to move to the desert. To use a well-worn but like all clichés, very apt, she was like an oasis of calm and strength and encouragement and I drank greedily.
I volunteered and was involved with the production of the magazine and had my first piece published in the same magazine of 2011. Since then I have had pieces published in the 2012 and 2013 magazines. The joy and pride of being published has helped me be more committed to my writing. Now I snatch bits of time at traffic lights, in meetings, anywhere to get my thoughts down.
This year’s conference came at a time when I could feel my spirits lagging and I was almost vampiric in absorbing energy from the youth volunteers. Sometimes I feel so jaded by life that it is so good to be around spirited people who are full of potential and dreams.
My interaction with the other adult volunteers was, I hope, more symbiotic, as I drew inspiration while womanning the stations and ensuring a smooth conference for delegates. So much so that at the end of the second day Kofi asked me why I was speaking with a South African accent. You know who you are! I even met someone whose grandfather or was it great grandfather was the 1st police commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago.
The enthusiasm from the delegates and the facilitators of the various workshops, panels and forums was palpable. I don’t really like singling out specific workshops but attending ‘The Power of Imagining Your Future’ with Frances Schnepfleitner has been a tipping point in my life. It showed me that many of my thoughts and actions have been about staying away from the feared image of my future. And in doing so, I am at risk of making little or no progress towards the desired image of my future.
I realized that I had been afraid to think and plan for the future I’d like. I’m now in the process of doing a vision map, for the first time in about 10 years. I’ve had fun downloading and printing pictures of Aston Martins and views of Mayaro beach but I have also mocked up a cover of my novel. Additionally, I have also written down words that are important to me such as Trust, Peace and Grace.
I also thought about what I wanted for Kwame and I managed to resist Sade’s bassist, Arsenal’s star striker, international man of mystery and the African default – doctor. Instead I choose characteristics that I am trying to help him form such as: God-seeking, Talent-using and Loving.
But I can’t deny that the memory of the conference and the positive feelings are diminishing. I feel that I need to top up, continuously. This is normal and expected which is why there is the opportunity to spread the feeling throughout the year with the ‘Equipped to Succeed series’. It’s a chance to fan the flame that diminishes with the memory of the conference.
Do you have any ideas for my vision map? Is it time you did a vision map?