Sunday, April 17, 2011

The first leap into flight

I have just taken a leap of faith into the world outside of a 9-to-5 job. For the first time in my life, I am not responsible. I just paused to look at my writing and was fascinated by the sentence “I am not responsible.” That phrase can be taken several ways. First, I am not responsible for any one else's life at this point. The kids are well launched in their own lives. Second, I am not responsible for following other people's rules or other people's expectations or other people's agendas. Now this is both encouraging and terrifying. So this blog will be exploring the day-to-day transition into my new life and to add my voice to the world.

The other day I was mulling over what was getting in my way of actually writing the first post on my blog. I realized I didn't have a clear view about where things were going to go. I wanted to be more specific about my purpose, and my hopes of what I could accomplish. Just then a car pulled out in front of me and there on the license plate was the word "CLARADY". I laughed and thought “Well, that's about right! I am getting clearer but I still think I need a bit more time.”

Part of me felt I should just start the blog and follow where it leads. As if in confirmation, I found this quote by Audre Lorde. “While we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.” Hmmm, do you think this is a sign?

The final confirmation was yesterday when I was listening to a CD by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I heard her say “Perfect is the enemy of done.” And here I am, wide awake in the middle of the night writing my thoughts out into the world.

I have been retired for 4 1/2 months and been traveling, recovering from the that nasty virus that was going around and organizing my home. I finally have time to put my own house in order by doing those things that we put off when we're working full-time. My files have been updated. I have thrown away warranties for appliances I haven't had for 10 years. All of those recipes I've torn out of magazines and printed off the Internet have been three hole punched and put in a binder. I can open my cupboards without anything falling out! I have renewed my friendship with the library and have been reading like mad. In fact, the most frequent call I get nowadays is the automatic voice message saying that I have another book on hold at the Hennepin County Library.

I chose "My Dumbo Feather" as the name for my blog because I wanted to have something to hang onto as I venture out into the world of blogging. I find myself intimidated and amazed and encouraged that there are more than 77 million blogs speaking their unique voices into our world. Too many people have been silent for too long and I have to admit, I have been one of them. I so love the story of Dumbo with his friend, and the encouragement and faith his little feather represented. It seems obvious to me that with ears as large as Dumbo's, flight was inevitable. Clearly, Dumbo could not see that just as I cannot see where this blog will lead me.

Though out the years as a parent, friend and therapist, I have given "Dumbo feathers" to my family, friends and clients and watched them take those transitional objects out into the world. I wanted those Dumbo feathers to serve as support until faith and belief made them unnecessary.

I have collected a number of Dumbo feathers in my day. In fact, sitting on my desk right now is a small clay angel with a quill, poised to write made by my friend Kara and a small green glass stone next to a small note book to write my creative ideas from my friend Sharon. My most recent feather is a handwritten note on my computer that says “You can call Virginia.” I met Virginia, Kara and Sharon at a creative writing retreat in 2007  with so many wonderful creative women and that put me on the path to this blog today. Hi, everyone!! Look at me, my ears are flapping.

So I send these first words out into the world and hope they take flight and bring joy and hope and fun.


  1. Kudos to you Jan!
    I commend your courage and am delighted you've taken this LEAP into the 'virtual realm' to add your voice and perspective. I love the marvelous name you've selected for your blog and the reasons behind it. I look forward with eager anticipation to whatever you share next and want you to continue to call whenever need or desire arises.
    Hugs and blessings,

  2. Just this morning, as I opened my organized, clean cabinets I sent a blessing your way. The gratitude that accompanied the blessing was huge as I remembered how lovingly and yet fiercely you tackled the task or creating organization in my cabinets and rooms.
    And, here you are, inspiring me to get my butt into my closet and clean out any of the crap that seems to provide excuses for doing what I love instead of what I "have" to do.
    I miss you dearly and wish you would get on a plane and come back to play.
    Congratulations on the blog.
    And a big shout out to Virginia for helping us tip-toe into the water.
    Love you,

  3. Good morning to you both, Sharon and Virginia. Thanks so much for your encouragement and support. (we did have fun clearing out didn't we, Sharon.) Love and blessings Jan

  4. oh YEAH!!! I LOVE the DUMBO FEATHER!!! Congratulations to you!!!

  5. Look at you - your ears are flapping! Congratulations Jan! It's good to read your words here and marvel at your first flight! Love and creative blessings, Kara