Remember all those wishes yesterday? Well, I’ve got BIG news! BIG! Even bigger than the little wish I voiced yesterday!

First, the fun stuff…

I rode my bike to work today! For the first time this season and the first time post-surgery! Woot! So… I’ve got a good start on that second wish (though the wind wasn’t technically at my back). It made me feel so energized to finally be riding again! And this time with less bouncing!

Now for the BIG stuff!

RETREAT!! Yes, that’s right! I get to go for one – for a whole week! In June! On the East Coast! Expenses paid! (Okay, maybe it’s time to cool it on the exclamation points.)

But it’s much bigger than that… it’s not just a retreat, it’s five glorious days at the ALIA Summer Institute. (That stands for Authentic Leadership in Action.) It’s something I’ve been dreaming of for awhile, and when I first broached it with my boss (a couple of months ago), I had every reason to believe it wouldn’t happen. And then with all the turmoil in my life, I set it aside and almost forgot about it. But things are going so much better at home, and Marcel assures me he and the girls will be okay without me for a week (with a little help from our wonderful support system, I’m sure!), so with some measure of fear and trepidation, I brought it up with my boss again. A couple of hours after posting my wish for a retreat, he walked into my office, we had one of the best conversations EVER and in the end, he approved my request.

But wait… it’s even BIGGER than just a week at any ol’ leadership conference/workshop/retreat… I get to spend 5 days in the presence of some of my greatest heros in the field of progressive leadership. Peter Senge, for one, AND… oh, this is good…I get to attend an extended workshop (five modules) with none other than Margaret Wheatley!!! (I applied late, so I didn’t think I’d get my first choice in modules, but I DID!) (Oh dear – more exclamation points. I can’t help myself.)

Now, I know that might not seem like a big deal to many of you (“Who the heck is Margaret Wheatley?” you’re thinking), but let me tell you a little story… About ten years ago, when I had only been in a leadership position for a few years, I came across the work of Margaret Wheatley and the Berkana Institute (which she founded). I was drawn to her like a magnet to steel. It’s hard to explain, but back then I just had this strong sense that some day, I needed to be her student AND I needed to get involved with the Berkana Institute.

I haven’t thought about it much in the years in between. Other stuff occupied my mind, I changed jobs, did a lot of growing and parenting and leading, and I found other leadership gurus and mentors who inspired me along the way. Far back in the recesses of my mind, though, whenever I traveled to Africa, I’d have fleeting rememberences of my interest in Berkana – always with some level of confidence I would connect with them when the time was right. Then this year, Margaret Wheatley’s name started coming up again, and so I ordered one of the books I hadn’t read yet (A Simpler Way, which I talked about in this post.) Reading that book brought back a strong wave of emotions and inspiration, reminding me of the way I’d felt when I first read one of her books ten years ago.

Then I found out about ALIA, and all the pieces started falling together. And now I get to spend five days with her! On the East Coast! It’s a ten year dream, coming to fruition!!

And, just for a bonus, here’s another little piece of synchronicity… A few months ago, I read Storycatcher by Christina Baldwin (another one of those people I feel like I need to spend time with), and she shares a story of Marianne Knuth, a Zimbabwean-Danish woman who founded an organization in Zimbabwe called Kufunda. Once again, I had a strong sense that some day, I needed to connect with that woman and that organization. Well, by now you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say next… SHE’S going to be at ALIA too! And Kufunda is connected to Berkana! Holy frickin’ synchronicity, Batman!

Yeah, you can tell I’m a little excited. The truth is, though, I’m a little nervous of how excited I am, because sometimes too much anticipation ends up leading to disappointment. And with so many disappointments lately, my little ol’ brain keeps reminding me that this might be another one.

But hey – if we can’t dream and anticipate and get caught up in the wonder of it all, what fun would life be? Maybe this is the beginning of the easy stretch on the journey. 🙂

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