I originally started A Woman with Wings to give back to organizations, charities and causes that I believe in - inspirational groups that raise the status of women and children around
Soroptimists International, ("best for women,") A Window Between Worlds (dedicated to using art to help end domestic violence and to help domestic violence survivors heal,) Haven House, the first crisis shelter of it's kind for women and their children who have left their abusers, and Glendale Adventist Medical Center's Cancer Services. (Please see my Charity Page under my profile A Woman with Wings.)
As my creativity grew, my vision for this online community grew to include mothers and daughters, women of all ages from around the world sharing their creativity and compassion with each other - inspiring each other to be all that they can be according to their own definitions of success. My first story profiled on the home page of A Woman with Wings demonstrates mothers and daughters coming together to raise funds through their creativity, for an organization called Kenya Help (please see www.kenyahelp.us.) Their efforts are significant and young girls on both sides of the world are learning what it takes to be leaders, compassionate leaders. Their results are tangible and real.
We live in a culture of sharing through all of the online technology that exists - it is easy to share one's thoughts and opinions through blogging or connecting with friends through Facebook; you can even look for a new job through LinkedIn. However, there isn't an online community to date, that I know of, that fosters and nurtures the next generation of leaders based on two principles: creativity and compassion. If I could create the next great physics equation it would be "creativity + compassion = leadership."
I am fortunate in many ways but my richest opportunities to date have come through teaching creativity, my Journey Within Workshops, to domestic violence survivors, women in crisis and cancer patients through Glendale Adventist's Cancer Services Program. On Friday, May 14th, I was reminded of just how important it is to share in a kind, compassionate way, why the genuine, authentic approach to people is so invaluable - and that sharing yourself in the smallest of ways - a smile, a kind word - a simple thank you - has the immense ability to brighten and cheer and yes, heal.
I tell you the following story not to sadden you, but to remind you and myself of what's important in life - and how a simple exercise in writing and the creative expression can have lasting impact on those around you. Several weeks ago, I was working with my Cancer Survivor group and the exercise that day was to write about Cancer: Cancer is ... What does it look like, feel like, even taste like ... to let the words flow from within to express what some people call The Divine, or Creativity.
One of the participants had not returned to my class since January of this year. I remember her first sharing, telling the group that she wasn't at all creative, had nothing interesting to say and really wasn't a writer at all. I was sad to see her not continue with us, but was delighted to see her return just a few weeks ago.
This time, she poured herself onto the page, wrote with great passion and simply let her hand flow, words tumbling everywhere. Cancer is .... an Awakening piece is from her heart, not her head - the words are poetic and wise. I took her words and put them into an image - one that complements their meaning. For some reason I felt compelled to get this back to Cancer Services as quickly as possible - the beauty and creativity that she shared took her from "I have nothing to say, I can't do this" to a heartfelt expression for all to feel and cherish.
Friday the hospital called to tell me that this woman's breast cancer had spread to her brain - she suffered seizures and cardiac arrest, and finally died on Friday. One minute she was with us, the next not. One minute a survivor and thriver, the next not. As far as I know, the last words she wrote were the ones from class. Her family and the hospital cherish what she did, for she left something behind that will never die. I have attached Cancer is ... An Awakening, the words, for you to read and share with others.
I believe there is great creativity, wisdom, and compassion for self and for others, in all of us. So often in life, all we have to do is get out of our own way ... and allow for our limitless
capacity to share our thoughts and dreams and desires, wisdom and humanity with others.
There is great wealth in sharing ...
Service is truly why we are here. As I continue to write and share my thoughts on what it means to be a woman in today's world, I hope you will join me and share your thoughts and beliefs with the community. Consider Wings a social networking site for cause - your causes and charities and organizations that are dear to you. Over time, this community, your community, will grow in number and we will create a substantial body of creative expression through mothers, daughters, fathers too, artists, charities, and non-profit organizations. I plan on aligning Wings with the National Charity League, Girl Scouts of America and other outstanding organizations that build character and leadership skills in women through service. The bond, love, nurturing and mentoring between a mother and daughter is crucial to
the success of our communities, this country and ultimately the world. The bond, love, nurturing and mentoring between women is also crucial to the success of our communities, this country and yes, the world.
When women come together, truly come together, the world will be a different place.
Thank you for listening and I hope to see you on Wings soon.
Until my next posting, be creative, compassionate and above all, be you.
Cancer is ....awakening, awakening, awakening ... what