One of my favourite books is A walk on the beach by Joan Anderson. It is a true story about a woman who, having raised her kids, decided she wanted some time to herself and so took a sabbatical from her marriage.
She went off to Cape Cod where she met Joan Erikson (widow of Erik Erikson) and the two struck a great friendship. It was during that time that Joan E. advised Joan C. to stop thinking. She needed, according to the senior Joan, to spend time doing something with her hands, rather than over-thinking her life.
Joan E. then taught her how to weave and she had to weave a piece where each colour of thread represented a stage in her life. As she looked at this creative snapshot of her life, much became clear to her. It turned out to be a life-changing exercise. Joan did go back to her husband, but was a different person when she returned.
I thought of this book this week because so often we do overthink stuff. As I get older, and perhaps wiser, I’ve decided that you can’t take a stand on everything, you can’t always be right, or more to the point – win. Sometimes you have to you’re your your battles, and stick to what is important in your life, and let the rest go.
This week Kate, Kim and I spent an afternoon, cutting paper, sticking labels on tags and name tags, all in preparation for the upcoming conference. While at the same time having a great discussion, tackling the problems of the world, business and life in general.
So often we are stuck in front of our computers, churning out words and work and not communicating with each other, or in Kim’s case, behind a camera. This literal hands-on activity was freeing.
Our afternoon made for a pleasant change and it gave me an opportunity to think and talk out loud about the future – mine and theirs – their studies, their summer and where we were heading with Company of Women.
I remember feeling that same sense of calm when I volunteered to sort the donated clothing for the refugee families. You know what you are doing is important, but you are not in charge, you are not facing difficult decisions – you are just helping out.
Perhaps we all could do with some down time to switch off, get away from thinking too much about what’s next, and instead do something totally different – be it volunteering, gardening, cooking, weaving or yes, sticking labels on cards.
Because in freeing our brains, we often reach insightful conclusions.
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.