This week is our second official Vivid Menopause planning retreat. I arrived on Denman Island yesterday afternoon and I’ve been having a wonderful time with Bronwyn (and Bob and Bella, too!) So far we’ve eaten delicious food, walked a beautiful path by the sea, drank delicious coffee, and have barely stopped talking. There’s so much to do and it’s all so exciting and good! At the top of our list is finessing the first round of the Vivid Leadership Course, which is thrilling. Fourteen of you just received the first ever leadership manual and are beginning the coursework to become Menopause Mentors. Fourteen cities all over the world will soon be hosting Vivid Menopause Circles. Fourteen communities will soon have a safe, inspiring, and hopeful place to tell menopause stories and create connection and friendship. After leadership work we’re going to be planning 2016 themes, finalizing 2016 classes and retreats, and recording podcasts live and in the same studio. On Thursday we’re hosting our first ever Vivid Social, where we’ll get to share the vision and beauty of Vivid, surrounded by art and delicious snacks.
Along with the fun and planning, Bronwyn and I have also been having some really thought-provoking discussions about what it means to act as an elder and what it means to lead in a vibrant and healthy female way. We are being challenged by the words of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes and her admonition to heal our wounds and forgive. We’re taking Tara Mohr’s insight to heart and refusing to wait until we’re perfect or perfectly ready in order to do the work we want to do. We’re getting ready to put more brave and true things into the world. There’s so much to come and we’re just two people trying to do it all, do it in a timely fashion, and do it well. We’re learning some of these processes as we go. We’re brushing up on old skills and learning new ones. It’s a beautiful collision of hope and trust.
In order to create Vivid, in order to live the real, lush, beautiful, life-filled dream we couldn’t shake, we had to leave the safety of known places. We had to go off the existing map in order to chart a new course. And most of all we had to brave some challenges which were clearly designed to keep us in our place. Every single woman who has ever done anything new or brave has had to face this accusation: who do you think you are? We’re up against it at every twist and turn of our life. Sometimes the voice is a friend or acquaintance or authority figure. Sometimes the voice is our own head. If we listen to that voice, though, the safety of rules and known paths will become a cage. Beautiful, creative work doesn’t grow well in cages.
Every act of autonomy and personal truth is revolutionary. This week we are going to share stories of women who have pushed back against society’s rules or cultural norms and acted from their own truth. We want to talk about women making and breaking and doing brave and beautiful things. Artists, inventors, developers, agitators, questioners, writers, thinkers, and believers: women who didn’t say OK when they were told to sit down or be quiet. Our story of creation and action may seem small next to women who are calling out injustice and working to end hunger but no story of exercising personal power is small.
Who do you think YOU are? We’d love to hear your stories.