New to this adventure? Start here.
A friend asked me recently if I was 'dating these days' and I was about to respond: "ain't nobody got time for that" when I stopped abruptly and changed my tack mid-sentence:
"Actually, yes. I have been dating, but not romantically. Entrepreneurially."
I've been connecting with fellow entrepreneurs across virtual coffees thanks to Skype and actual coffees via Toronto's coziest cafes. I've been set up with these beautiful, talented women by mutual friends, met them online, or spotted them at a group gathering and made plans for one on one time afterwards. Sometimes I ask them, sometimes I get asked. We trade flirtatious and witty DMs via Facebook or Instagram and send hearts and kissy face emoticons in one another's comments sections.
What strikes me is the similarities between these interactions. I have been on the 'date' below, over and over lately and I don't want to stop:
I sit across from her in a small cafe and study her face. I see only beauty. I see her eyes light up while she talks about the creative pursuit that sets her heart on fire. I see her eyes well and tremble with honest tears from relating a piece of her pain. I see a flash of fear as she catches herself sharing this vulnerably with a stranger, followed quickly by a release of breath as she realizes there is room for her vulnerability, right next to my own, and we both smile. From that moment we are new 'old friends' - kindred spirits simply enjoying one another's presence and happily waiting for inspiration to strike as to how exactly our souls would like to play together. Attracted to one another's ideas. Inspired. Grateful.
And then, inevitably, Doubt, that old lover of mine, probably feeling jealous, sidles up to me.
Doubt comes over after the glow of connection has faded and whispers in my ear: "are you sure it's supposed to be that easy?" "If you're connecting heart-to-heart with all these women, when are they going to realize ________________ (fill in with utterly false but nevertheless convincing self-deprecating phrase-of-the-day)?"
In essence, when is the expiration date on my worthiness for things to be going well?
Whoa. My brain thinks THAT?!
It's a thought that's hitting me hard this week, especially as so much abundance meets me and especially since it's Thanksgiving here in Canada and all I have to be grateful for has me bursting at the seams like an overstuffed turkey. I keep intentionally steering my life towards bringing light to the unlit parts, but this one caught me by surprise, as some waves do. I feel confident in welcoming others' vulnerability and beauty and pain because I have engaged in battle with the demons who have held me back from welcoming my own. And won. It never occurred to me that sometimes there is no need for battle, only for acceptance, humility, love.
Loving yourself through the hard times can seem like the logical place to practice self care. It's equally as valid a practice, I am learning, when faced with a season of abundance. It shows you exactly where you're still hiding from love, exactly where it still scares you, where you think you're not worth it, where you think you're still small, where you remain stubborn and prideful, where it is most vulnerable and intimate.
This dynamic often shows up in a partnership - you are met with the unmet parts of yourself when the light of someone else's love accepts them and you haven't yet. And while I'm 'dating' entrepreneurs, my current partnership is with my dreams, and they have a lot to teach me about love too.
When I talk about my Nurture retreat (come! we've still got space for you in November!) or the big dream Nurture Retreat Centre project I have on my heart, it beams out of me lighthouse-style and calls in all the likeminded folk to its shore. You lovely people, whom I admire ferociously, friends and perfect strangers alike, are reaching out to me to be involved in this initiative and are willing to give your time, expertise, craft and handmade products to help 'nurture Nurture', if you will. It is incredibly humbling. You are doing so out of the goodness of your hearts, your desire to be involved in something bigger than yourselves and, importantly, because you want to.
That's Grace too.
I sent a call out via social media this week asking for volunteers for Nurture's upcoming crowdfunding campaign, set to launch early 2017. I'm putting together a small team of people whom I can share the workload and the excitement with. I was so heartened by the response to have the incomparable Ashley Beaudin (of the incredible #theimperfectboss campaign) as my go-to copy & pitch letter maven, and Laure Stromboni (of the soon-to-be-launched Lorette Lingerie) as graphic designer extraordinaire, as well as others who have signed on to be campaign ambassadors when it's ready to launch.
I'm still looking for people with the following skills (or any other magical skills you can think of) to join the team. The application is open to anyone, as our meetings will be largely held online through Google Hangout & Asana Project Management.
- Someone who loves systems & project management as much as I love organic butter (that's A LOT, dear Nurturers.) You might start gleefully drooling at the idea of creating timelines and spreadsheets. Colour coding is like breathing to you.
- A connector/PR/influencer courtship consultant. Someone who knows people, who can also genuinely reach out, connect with them and get them on board to donate or spread the word. Or both.
- A marketing & social media strategy enthusiast, heart-centred & detail-oriented. Someone who sees the bigger picture, grasps analytics & knows which actionable steps to take for the biggest effect.
If the above describes you or someone you know, send me an email with a statement of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you more details! For those of you willing to be ambassadors once the campaign is set to send out (early in the new year), please send me an email too.
On this Canadian Thanksgiving, I am so, so grateful for all of you. Thank you for reading these words, thank you for being present to this process with me, and thank you, from both the grit of my battleground to the grace of my full heart, for your help.