I am centered.
At the moment I'm sitting in a waiting area at LAX, completely in flux, several hours to go before my flight. I should be a nervous wreck.
But I'm not.
Any words I can dig out of my head won't do justice for what the past three days have been like, so I'm not really going to try. And the details of the weekend are likely only interesting to me and others who were there.
But the glow I feel inside - even as I sit in my least favorite place (airport) and anticipate doing my least favorite thing (flying) - is real and it warms my spirit.
I think there are some people who don't believe what I witnessed at Creative Alliance could really happen. If I'm honest with myself, I was probably one of them. I'm still new to this blogging thing, but I've observed enough Twitter dramas and blogging conference weirdness to know there is a lot of clanging around vying for attention in this world.
For me, Creative Alliance was about connection, authenticity, vision and respect. I listened to women who are the best of their craft share what they know and how they stay the line. They spoke openly and freely about how they can struggle with balance, about how they dig deep to keep building and dreaming, even as the crazy pace of life tugs them in a myriad of directions.
It was invigorating to be in a room with dozens of women who have so many ideas, so many visions, that a common thread among them all was figuring out how to choose which ones to pursue?
When someone expressed ways they were stuck, or struggling, women were clamoring to offer their support, encouragement and advice.
I learned more about the business end of blogging - something I don't know much about and have been wondering: is this something I'm supposed to care about? I have left other conferences feeling like I must be approaching this the wrong way, because I don't know that I'm interested in any of it.
It was liberating to be informed and educated about the business of blogging without feeling judged or intimidated. It was empowering to hear women speak with passion and determination about their goals - without apology, excuses or putting down others' visions.
It grounded me. I have been doing that 'what does blogging mean to me, what the heck am I doing this for, what is my end goal' shuffle for weeks now.
Wise, lovely, compassionate women pulled me aside and talked me through my fears. What I figured out, in a nutshell, is that all this existential hand-wringing is just so much white noise. What I have here isn't broken, and I should stop trying to fix it.
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
I have put my hammer down.
I communed with other writers - women whose blogs I read with something akin to awe, and whose creative spirits I admire and respect. They shared their tricks of the trade, their favorite resources, their coping mechanisms. They shared themselves.
I was honored and humbled to read a piece for Ann Imig's amazing production: Listen to Your Mother - Mom Salon. I sat, breathless, listening to the other readers take us on a journey of laughter, tears, pain and redemption. Ann's vision for Listen To Your Mother is so inspiring, and Ann herself is overflowing with grace, love and talent. Give yourself a treat and check out the Listen to Your Mother website to learn more. You can also find her at her personal blog, Ann's Rants; the place I go when I want to laugh until tears flow.
And last but absolutely not least, my heartfelt thanks to Lee, Jessica, Andrea , Cynthia and all the other core team members of Creative Alliance for this unbelievable weekend.
Thank you for fueling my spirit, inspiring me and embodying what it means to be strong, creative, authentic, professional, loving women.
As Lee would say -- it was totally epic.