Once, while riding my bike through San Francisco in a gigantic bike parade for a friend’s wedding, I shouted at the top of my lungs, “This is the best day ever!!!” I couldn’t think of any other possible thing I would rather have been doing in that moment. I was giddy, elated, totally content.
This kind of deep joy is rare, and when it comes, it is a huge gift. But that’s how this Sunday was, during the workshop I led with Kelly Rae Roberts at the Teahouse studios.
Best. Day. Ever.
It began with a simple conversation. Me, calling my dear friend Kelly and asking her when she would come and teach at the Teahouse. (This is also a ploy to get her back to the bay area for a girl’s weekend) “You and Mati have both been asking me that! but I don’t really want to teach. I just want a good excuse to come see you guys and have a really fun weekend being together.”
So we hatched a scheme… and the plan was simple: We would create the kind of experience we were most craving in our own lives — Connecting with women in deep and real ways. Not on the internet. Not via text or email. The kind where you break bread and tell each other everything. We didn’t want to teach so much as share stories and connect, laugh and cry in equal measure. We wanted minimum preparation, total faith in serendipity and trust that just the right people would show up. We wanted beautiful food and even more delicious conversation.
And guess what? It was beyond our wildest dreams. It really was.
I fell in love with each and every person there. I was blown away by their stories. We laughed a lot and we cried too. We declared our superpowers. We talked about transitions and motherhood. We talked about creativity and vulnerability and finding our tribe. It was open and inspiring, powerful and brave. It was, above all, real.
I learned that if you bring the real, others will too.
We also brought a lot of intention to the day. For every person on the roster, we chose an adjective for their nametag. Since we didn’t know the people who were coming, we had to intuit what they most needed to hear. We made them goodie bags and wrote them love notes. We decorated the space. Mati painted the words, “Show the world you magic” on the wall. We covered the tables in vintage fabrics. We hung up twinkly lights and tied aprons together to hang on the wall. In the end, it was like living inside of a Kelly Rae painting! And all of that prep, it felt like ritual. It felt like connecting with each soul who was coming, before they even arrived.
I am still processing all of the goodness packed into that gorgeous day. For me personally, it was also a really important day of discovering my sweet spot with teaching. As I have said on this blog before, I am very anxiety prone. Public speaking gives me panic attacks and I have often wondered if the suffering I experience each and every time (often for months before the event) is worth it. Maybe there is another way?
I think I found my answer.
I teach through telling stories. I can tell a good story! It is in fact one of my superpowers. I’m not interested in giving lectures, being an expert, or giving advice. I want to share my life in a way that sparks something in you — delight, inspiration, a nugget of wisdom. I want to connect with you by showing you my real self.
I didn’t have a panic attack the night before our workshop. (This was a first for me) And I didn’t feel afraid throughout the day. I only felt tremendous gratitude to be someone who got to sit in that circle. It was pure joy, and my body knew it.
Thank you to everyone who showed up this weekend (both for Sunday and for my Saturday photo workshop peeps as well. You guys were so much fun) It was an honor. And we will do it again. I think I found my sweet spot.