Williams, renowned playwright, wrote, A high station in life
is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are
survived with grace. Williams is one of my favorite authors:
insightful, near poetic in his prose. That quote illumines a large
part of the paths of my life. Paths that took me into numbing tragedy
on a personal level. So, I survived with hopefully a small measure
of grace. My life is beautifully marked with grace notes of success
as a nurse and top flight business consultant and double bass low
points. Now, among many other writing/teaching projects, I am working
on my book, The Gift of Adversity. Tragedy? Well, the
brief catalog is: losing my opera-singing voice to a very mean Asian
malaise, nursing in war-riven Vietnam, breast cancer survival over
the past few years.
grew up in Minneapolis, a girl of Norwegian blood, Nordic and fair-haired.
When I lost my Nordic-sun hair to the cancer treatment a few years
ago, I searched long and longingly for a wig to match my former
hair tones. There werent any. Tears and laughter. I wrote
a poem about that, in the phase of my life that I began writing
meaningful poetry. My hair grew back. My poetry phase grew too.
Then, when the poetry period was complete and I had said what I
wanted to say, it sort of fell out. On occasion, the poetry returns,
while other writing pursuits and altruistic service are my focuses
my young girlhood I knew that I wanted to be an opera singer. The
operatic voice is a marvelous instrument, and voice
is still my favorite metaphor for conveying what I want to do in
my life now as I am transiting to new places. I also wanted independence.
I wanted to choose my lifestyle and my living place and have the
freedom in a vocation to create those. Nursing seemed a perfect
fit at that time for a young woman. To make this feasible, I joined
the U.S. Army. I had a very well-conceived plan. I would get my
education courtesy of the army and serve in Germany as a nurse.
I wanted to live abroad, to experience northern Europe. I was promised
Germany. I was packed and passported. Then, the conflict in Vietnam
escalated into full-out, full metal jacket, war. I was reassigned
in Vietnam was the seven levels of hell. And it touched heaven.
Imagine all of the worst, most nauseating atrocities and abuses
of human flesh and spirit and I was fully immersed in it. I also
participated in small miracles of mending and hope, and relief.
I started writing cathartic poetry in Vietnam. And many years later,
in the aftermath of my own personal Vietnambreast cancerI
went back to my poems from Vietnam. I started writing poetry againon
a yearly summering to Tanglewood, Massachusetts, in 2001. From out
of a personal encounter with raw war has come my growing impetus
to help individuals experience and practice peace.
wasnt wounded in Vietnam. But I was injured. I had climbed
the opera ladder far enough to earn a seat at the Julliard School
of Music. Opera singing was my cultural core. But in Vietnam, an
Asian virus struck my vocal cords. My real singing voice simply
vanished. Eventually I left the nursing field, and entered the health
and human services sectors and that led to larger business theatres.
I was in executive management and recruitment, got my MBA and discovered
a gift for business executive consulting. This was a major part
of my life for 20 years, offering a gist and gestalt of my philosophy
of service and self-discovery to executives lost in the deserts
of misperception or self-deception. For many years I was the top
revenue maker for the Senn-Delaney consulting firm. My CEO asked
me once how I was so successful. I told him, I never make
sales calls. I never sell anything, or promote anything. I listen.
I establish a dialog. I listen more. I try to be in myself what
they should be moving towards. I allow them to tell me their in-depth
situation. Then I can build on that. I try to create a sense of
self-perception for them. It really distills down to states
of constructive awareness for these people, and that is a large
part of how I want to work with people now.
years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was in many ways
devastating. I went through all the radical treatments, all the
radical transformations of flesh: hair loss and weight loss. My
own neighbor came up to me at my home and asked me when I was coming
back. He didnt even recognize me. That was an emotional grenade
dropped on my lap. I speak publicly on my bout with cancer, and
privately toosometimes to strangers I recognize having cancer
because of the scarf look. It has brought out more of
my intuitive, philosophical nature. These I try to live,
am now again in the cocoon-to-butterfly transition time of my life.
Im launching Infinite Creation. I am pursuing my voice
of writing, teaching, speaking, guiding and coaching. I am here
to help. My life has been a crucible: formative, rather than merely
informative. Infinite Creation to me means releasing unlimited potential.
It doesnt function in the constraints of time, genes or geography.
People have told me that they have a natural yearning for this.
They do resonate with it. And I always say that it is really not
something that can be taught, or takes time. It is more of an understanding
of themselves, and as they understand themselves, their mind becomes
quieter. In that quietness, they begin to understand the creative
process. Their own creative process. I know what mine is. I dont
know yours intimately. But I can offer the illumination of experience,
empathy and intuition. Philosophically, I am a daily reflective
person. It is important to me to be open, to be a receiveravailable
to tune into wisdom in myself and others. I dont follow a
particular school. I ask myself what insights and lessons are available.
What is my best way of walking through life at this time?