Ramblings of a Creative Mind

Thoughts on Work and the World from an Executive Mom


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From 32,000 Feet

I’m sitting on a plane on my way home after a long week on the road, and I’m tired. Baked, fried, closed for business. Once I get to my seat, I usually want to shut down. I don’t talk to the people sitting next to me. Instead, I prefer to put on my headphones, crank up the beats, close my eyes and shut the world away.

Tonight is a little different though. I heard the mumble of the muffled pilot’s voice and would have ignored it, if it had not been for the woman next to me leaning across my lap to peer out the window. Curiosity got the best of me, so I paused the beats just in time to hear him say “Milky Way Galaxy.” Now, I’m peering out the window too, staring at the black canvas sky, littered with stars.

There are millions of them. They’re magnificent. I haven’t seen so many in years. And yet, they’re always there.

Stars don’t disappear, just because there are clouds in the sky. They’re no less brilliant, just because the lights of the city are brighter. Stars were here before, are still here now and will be around long after our short time on this earth is done. We look for them, wish on them and wonder what they really are.

To me, a star is like a dream – it’s that hope you have inside, where you’re headed, and what you believe in.

When times are tough, it may be tempting to lose hope. Your vision is clouded by trouble, emotions or fear.

When you’re caught up in the bustle of bright, city life – work, the hurrying to and fro – you may lose sight of your dream. Paying the bills or climbing that corporate ladder distracts you from what really matters.

But the dream is still alive. It was there before, is still deep inside of you, and can guide you on the road ahead. And there are millions of dreams. Yours, mine, and the one belonging to the woman sitting next to me. And together, they are magnificent.

There’s reason to hope. The stars still shine. It’s easy to see them from 32,000 feet up, but when it comes right down to it, it’s just a matter of perspective. Open your eyes. Look up. Make that wish, and believe.

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All Ships Rise

Ship_Rough_SeasI recently had the opportunity to hear Kim Malek, one of the founders of Salt & Straw, speak at a conference.  If you have not heard of Salt & Straw, it’s a gourmet “farm to cone” ice cream company from the Pacific Northwest.  If you have not tasted their ice cream, put it on the Bucket List now.  It’s worth it.

And while the ice cream is fantastic, her story is even better.  Kim followed a dream – one that she had held for well over a decade before it came true.  As she shared her journey of making a dream become a reality, she also spoke of the tough things that got in her way, of taking great risks and how hard it was for her to keep moving forward in the tough times.  Her motto, when the days were at their darkest, was “all ships rise.”

Lately, a lot of friends have had extremely tough times financially, professionally and personally.  Friends have lost fathers and children.  People have lost their homes or jobs, and others soon will too.  I’m not sure why right now.  I just know that it is.

We all have our struggles, some more than others.  Being on the outside of it, you try to help when asked, and you hurt silently along with them too.  Walking through those woods, it is difficult to see a path through it.  You can become discouraged, depressed and destructive.  But just as the tides change and ships eventually rise, yours will too. How quickly will it rise?  That’s up to you.  It starts with your frame of mind.

One of my friends has had more than enough heartache; in fact, I think she’s dealt with more in her 30-some years than most people will in their lifetime.  She has had health issues, family issues, relationship issues, money issues, lost parents, lived without power and running water while working full time and caring for kids… you name it.  But if you met her, you would never know it.  In fact, I have never seen her without a smile on her face.  She is one of the most uplifting people I’ve been honored to know.  She never complains, but instead keeps marching onward – living her life for others.  She is the first to lend a hand or a heart.  I’ve often referred to her as a living angel, and I think she is.  I aspire to have the spirit, the generosity, the wisdom that she has.

During a particularly bad time for her years ago – when I was also walking along a dark road emotionally – I asked her what her secret was.  She told me that she had faith that things would get better and believed it would, that she was grateful for what she was going through as she would be stronger for it, and that “all ships rise.”

What an odd circle.  I heard this many years ago and again last week.

Seasons keep changing, but the tide always rises.  It was a good reminder to believe, to dream and to persevere – no matter what challenge you may be facing today.
Your ship will rise too.