Monday, November 02, 2015

Following the Bread Crumbs - A Story About Synchronicity

I love it when life opens up paths and I don’t have to fight my way through the brambles and the swamps to find my way. It happens so rarely that I’ve learned to really revel in the feeling of rightness and soar a little on the thermals before the next section of hard slogging and creative despair finds me.

October has been a great month full of lots of creativity, travel, friends and inspiration. There have been more than a few full circle moments and they have left me with a full heart and much gratitude. I’d like to share one of these experiences with you. It is one of those stories that unfolded itself without much help from me, all I had to do was follow the bread crumbs and enjoy the synchronicity.

Bread Crumb One: A few years ago my good friend Ruth Booth sent me a link to a TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert and said I had to watch it. I had no idea what a TED Talk was at that point but Ruth knows me really well and I trust her and so I watched it. I loved it! I fell in love with Elizabeth Gilbert that day. I’m a big fan of her way of thinking and talking about creativity. I have re-watched that talk many times and also her second TED Talk. If you haven’t watched these talks, treat yourself.

Bread Crumb Two: Almost two years ago my husband signed me up for Facebook. I was resistant at first but decided that if I set parameters and kept to them that it could be a good thing and it has been. One of the bonuses is that periodically I see a post from Elizabeth Gilbert that makes me say “Yes!” and gives me a little boost.

Bread Crumb Three: My local bookstore chain sends out frequent emails promoting a whole range of things from books to housewares. I rarely read them, but late last spring I happened to notice Elizabeth Gilbert’s name in the subject header of an email so I opened it. They were announcing an event where she would be speaking in late September. I quickly pushed the button to go to the link for tickets and I bought two, one for me and one for Ruth.

Bread Crumb Four: After a long summer of anticipation the big night arrived. On the way in we got a copy of Big Magic, her latest book. Elizabeth spoke well and was very entertaining. She mentioned an author and I jotted down a phonetic spelling of the name (yes, I took notes!). She also mentioned a podcast series that she had created called Magic Lessons. I read the book and enjoyed it and I learned a lot from it. It is easy to read and full of gems and important insights into creativity. I read the part about Brené Brown with great interest and flagged her books on my bookstore website.

Bread Crumb Five: I was heading out on a roadtrip in October (driving to Wyoming NY for a yummy, inspiring retreat with fellow CZTs that is hosted by Chris Titus) and downloaded the Magic Lesson Podcasts to listen to in the car. Somehow I loaded them into my podcast list backwards, the last one first - I think the universe had a hand in this. The trip down was frenetic with heavy traffic and high winds. When the traffic eased a little I listened to that last podcast first. I listened to it three times. It was an interview with Brene Brown. She said some really important things in that podcast. She said thing I needed to hear, she said things my students needed to hear, she said things you likely need to hear. On the way home I listened to the whole series from front to back, in the proper order. It is all great stuff but truly, that last one was intended for me. You can find them here or on iTunes and they are free:

Bread Crumb Six: I downloaded Rising Strong by Brené Brown to read on the way to California. I truly can’t say enough good about it. It has changed my thinking on so many topics. It will be a road map for me going forward. It will change the way I create. It will change the way I teach. It will change the way I meet strangers and friends and family each day. I will be buying a hard copy of it so that I can mark it up and love it even more. It is all about how people come back from failures, both large and small, in their daily live and in their creative lives. It talks about shame and empathy and the fear of not measuring up, not ever.

Bread Crumb Seven: I listened to Brené Brown’s TED Talks this weekend. Full circle, back to TED. They are good - not as good as the book - and well worth watching. I’m not sure I would have been ready for them a few years ago. I needed to follow the bread crumbs and walk the path that lead to them.


  1. both of these teachers have so very much GOOD to share with the rest of us. i love your story of how it all led you home to a deeper understanding of yourself.

  2. Thank you for sharing this - it felt like I was sharing the trip with you and hearing things I needed to hear too (which brought tears to my eyes). I, too, love synchronicity. Oddly, an email to a friend a month ago led me here. She is part of a local calligraphy group and just forwarded some information on a seminar you will be teaching here (Surrey, BC) in March. I'm hoping to reschedule some things so I can attend. Thanks again. Now I have to go out & get those books & listen to those talks....


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