The Wisdom of Friends Project sprouted from a desire to celebrate the gift of friendship and unveil the depth of everyday wisdom! 2011 was a special year, one of fearlessly opening my heart to the intentional cultivation and nurturing of a beautiful “growth” friendship garden.
Watching those seeds of friendship grow and yield a rich increase served up powerful lessons related listening to my intuition, giving freely and detachment – unconditionally sharing love, time and energy and allowing the warmth and watering of these actions to blossom. The six women who enthusiastically accepted the invitation to share their nuggets of wisdom each week SO enhanced my joy. They’re what I call “growth” friends, you know, those people who while in their company encourage you to be your best. They model learning from the ups and the downs. Their goal is to live fully and by example you witness them grow in their understanding of how life works best for them and you see them get lighter as they shed beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve them. It is a beautiful thing to observe and I wanted to celebrate this experience by collaborating with these six talented and amazing women to share our wisdom!
Here’s what happened…one Tuesday in late 2011 in the wee hours of the morning I woke up with this idea dancing around in my head that just wouldn’t let me sleep. I keep a journal at the head of my bed, just for these moments. So, I got up and started writing. I captured everything that begged to come out. Then, I sat there in silence and thought, “I really want to gather nuggets of wisdom from several ladies (and include my own) who I deeply respect, have grown to deeply care for, admire their past and/or present work, and believe have lots to share when it comes to managing life’s journey. And, how cool would it be if their years of life experience spanned the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s?” I sat with this for a few days, as I needed some silent time to go inside and intuitively sense who best to include, and later that week in a burst of thought several names came to me. I have to add, that all of the names that came to me did not say, “yes,” to my disappointment, but more than half were interested and wanted to know more. Hindsight has revealed that those who said no simply weren’t the right ladies to participate at that time, nor was my project the right project for them at that time. It’s all about setting the intention, detaching from the outcome and letting things flow!
Well, I composed an email sharing this whole experience and said that I wanted to pull together what I called at that time, “Wisdom Among Friends.” I let them know that each week, throughout 2012, I wanted to collect at least two nuggets of wisdom from them that fell into a variety of categories. I added that they were certainly free to add categories of their own, but we would begin by tapping into a list that I’d compiled for inspiration. I asked that they contribute anything from single statements to short paragraphs. Whatever they decided to contribute each week was their choice; they just had to keep it “original” – sharing from their mind, their heart, and their experiences. These six dear friends said “yes” and The Wisdom of Friends Project was born!
Each week I looked forward to receiving their emails, eager to benefit from their lived experiences, lessons learned, observations, “aha” moments, and insights shared from the heart! It was a glimpse into their days and weeks and into mine, as we all pulled from the happenings of our lives. I heard from them from time to time over the course of the year how the project forced them to slow down and pay closer attention to life as it unfolded and other personal benefits of being part of this group. Our challenges were revealed in real time as well as our successes, moments of gratitude and opportunities to grow.
We celebrated our accomplishment with a fun photo shoot and a meal in early 2013. We had so much fun! I highly recommend starting your own Wisdom of Friends project. Would I do it again? Yes! Was it challenging? Yes! There were times when some of the participants forgot to submit for a week or more, but I consistently sent loving reminders, and soon we’d all be caught up, then we’d circle through again. And, because I decided to create and maintain a blog each week highlighting some of our entries, that also put some demands on my time. That was cool, though, because I learned some great personal lessons that just wouldn’t have surfaced if I hadn’t shared this journey at that time, with that particular group of ladies.
Well, I was left with a database of hundreds of wisdom nuggets unsure what to do next. I sat with this for a couple of months. First, I thought about collecting them in a book of quotes, but that’s been done over and over again, so I put that idea to bed. Then, I thought, hmmm, what do I really love and what do I really love to do. I love quotes, I love writing and I am a HUGE advocate of introspective writing. So, one morning while doing some stream of consciousness writing, I thought, “How about creating a journal with guidelines for introspective writing, sprinkled with some of our wisdom nuggets”? The seed was planted!
The idea was now ripe, my knowledge around how to make it happen, not so much. So, I dived into research, chatted with a book coach for some advice and I was on my way. I’ve experienced some ups and downs, and wins and losses along the way, but I finally arrived at a final prototype that I am quite proud of. Because I published this myself, it was now time to find a printer, which meant more research. I guess it goes without saying that I learned TONS! Getting quotes sobered me up a bit to the whole publishing and printing process.
My husband has had a front row seat on this journey, so one evening he said, “Why don’t you create a Kickstarter project for your journal”? At first I was resistant because I thought Kickstarter was for BIG projects that involved technology and large-scale causes, but I learned that you can create all kinds of projects on Kickstarter. So, I waded through another process, which was long and involved, but once again, I learned tons. So, here I am, more than half way through my 30 day Kickstarter project as I let everyone I know, and I mean just about everyone, know what I’m up to. It hasn’t been easy asking others if they would consider a pledge of support because it means exposing myself to rejection. But that’s where the important lesson comes around learning to separate who we are from what we do; you just can’t take “no” personally. Also, if you never ask, how will you hear “yes.”
So, I ask you, would you check out my Kickstarter project and consider a pledge of support? Simply view the video and if you are so inclined, click the green button, “Back this Project,” select your reward of choice and that’s it! I’ve included the link for your convenience: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1004940462/im-going-inan-introspection-journal.
Regardless of whether you decide to pledge or not, thanks for checking it out. Would you send some good energy my way on this gateway project? I’d love that and it’s free! A lot more amazing things are going to blossom from this project. I’m buckled up and ready for the ride!