When I left the advertising industry (many moons ago) my creative director at the time passed on some advice that he had once been given: “Don’t look back, otherwise you will bump into trees and create other obstacles in the road ahead that weren’t there before…” At least that’s what I think he said. I remember being amused because I didn’t think I was leaving. It was the year our president Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison and I was full of hope and joy about the future of the country and had no intention of not returning.
Actually, all I had asked for was 6 month sailing sabbatical….Funny how everyone in the agency except me knew I wasn’t coming back. And when I did eventually return, looking for a 6 month job to fund more sailing adventures, the agency no longer existed! But that’s another story.
As I was off to join a yacht in the US Virgin Islands, my mentor also gave me the gift of a USA dollar bill to keep in my wallet for good luck. I still have that dollar in my wallet and that was 1995, about 25 years ago.
This brings me to thanksgiving because somehow one person’s genuine wish for my future well being all those years ago and the token lucky US dollar activated a contingent of American angels in my life, in the form of friends, mentors, students, clients, colleagues, authors, guides and fellow travelers who have enriched my life in so many ways, including by stretching and growing me from time to time.
The main point of this story today is to show up on the page and thank all the Americans in my life and, even if you aren’t American, to wish you well in the years ahead no matter who is “acting” president, so that we can all look squarely into whatever honest mirror he or she offers us. Our task is to see the mirror and to stretch and grow to our next developmental level, to respond to what we see right in front of us instead of wine or whine…
with Kaitlin Felix and Lorraine Curran-Vu at the American Women’s Club in Zurich.