It was eighteen years ago that I sat in my luxury corporate offices overlooking Tampa Bay and realized how lost I felt inside. My heart and Soul was calling me to do more, make a difference in the world, give back to society. I had found a lot of healing through expressing my creativity through crafting. So, my dream was to help people to use the expressive arts as a way to cope with the stressors of everyday life. My intent was to sell my successful company and open up a Creative Arts Center in a beach vacation destination. I also wanted to teach in a community college setting while also teaching creative art workshops for personal and professional development. In order to follow this dream I pursued a graduate degree in art therapy. I didn't realize what challenges I would have to endure in order to realize that dream. Over the next eighteen years I experienced the '4 D's' divorce, death, debt and disability. I felt physically, emotionally and mentally hopeless. I asked myself why did I have such a burning desire to create good in the world despite the fact that it wasn't manifesting. I was making many attempts to put myself out there as a artist, teacher, coach. Every time I took 5 steps forward I then took 3 steps backwards.
Where I Create
At my weakest point I packed up everything sold my house, moved near my sister and was ready to give up. I was also considering selling my beach cottage that my friends and I so loving designed and decorated. It was a great collaboration and showed me that it takes a village. As my health situation continued to decline I wasn't able to use it. The house sat empty for a year and a half, calling me enticing me to move in, but I didn't feel well enough to travel to it. I was so physically and emotionally worn out that I was ready to give it up on my dream.
I took a detour to Durham, NC hoping to pursue a wellness plan to achieve optimum health. It was a nice resting place, but was not a home. I was still fighting a legal battle that continued on from the death of my ex. While in NC I decided to partake in a coaching program located in Asheville, NC. Networking with other women business entrepreneurs and participating in the coaching program saved my life. This group gave me the courage to emerge from my self induced isolation and continue the pursuit of my dreams.
I moved to my cottage the summer of 2014. Hurricane Arthur was there to initiate me to island life. A hurricane was nothing compared to the last few years of my life so it didn't dissuade me from staying. It didn't matter to me though I was already feeling defeated and demoralized. I was low on funds and definitely not having fun. I was in constant pain and needed a lot of assistance from my children. Of course they resented it and felt lost too. We had vacationed for years on this island but how were we going to be received in this new isolated community. How were we going to thrive. My son soon left to attend a college that was 10 hours away in Maryland. My daughter started 10th grade at the local high school. My best friend and her husband lived on the same street as me. During the hurricane I got to meet my new neighbors and experience the support that a small community provides during challenging times. I also lost my best girlfriend of over 30 years and another close friend to cancer the next year.
What I Create
I began to come up with a wellness strategy and a way to began crafting a life. I changed my food plan, became more mobile and started to get to know the community. My daughter immediately was accepted into her new school environment. She introduced me to her new friends' mother who was looking for a knitting teacher to teach at her gallery. My daughter encouraged me to go talk to her. I was using a walker at that time and still not feeling 100% and felt awkward, but I went to meet her. We immediately connected and I began developing a fiber arts program for her shop and teaching. I will forever be grateful for the wonderful opportunity. I began to craft with vengeance, knitting and crocheting, designing art-to-wear, writing and documenting my progress through social media and blogging. I met a wonderful group of women who attend my weekly knitting workshop. I've worked with vacationers and their kids over the summer crafting art. I take time to observe the changes in my natural surroundings and smell the roses. It's been a dream come true. It's true salt air is good for the Soul.
What I Do
It's been a great two years. I've also achieved my dream of being published. One of my essay's have been published in a collaborative book project. Another one will be published in the fall. My children are well on their educational and career paths. I'm still challenged by my health and legal issues. I have a strong community of support here on the island and it continues to grow as I put myself out there. When I made that declaration for change 18 years ago I didn't think the road would be so long and winding. I'm excited to see what the next phase of the journey brings and I know that I will continue to pursue crafting the life of my dreams.
'I am blessed to have the love and support of these wonderful Souls." Thank you!
I am a expressive arts facilitator, fabric artist, teacher, storyteller, entrepreneur and Certified Dream Coach.