The internet is like a candy shop for me. There are SO many interesting people to meet and ideas to explore. When it comes to the places I visit most regularly, though, it’s almost always about the people. I’m drawn to new sites/blogs if I feel drawn to the people behind them.  

Here are a few of the people who’ve caught my fancy recently: 

1. My sister Cynthia, a talented photographer who inspires me with her capacity for artistic captures, has started a new project she’s calling 100 Conversations. She’s approaching 100 strangers and asking their permission to photograph them. In the process, she’s having delightful conversations with them that alternately make me giggle and bring tears to my eyes. I only found out about her little secret last night (even though I was at the Folk Fest with her where she took a good portion of the photos she’s taken so far – she’s sneaky that way), and couldn’t stop until I’d seen every picture and read every word. It’s beautiful.  

Me & Katharine

2. Standing in the lunch line on one of the first days at ALIA, I started chatting with Katherine Weinmann and within minutes we knew that we were kindred spirits. After that first meeting, we bonded over meals, in the hallways, along the wooded paths, and on the dance floor. When we left for home, she gave me a wonderful, heartfelt gift – a children’s crown, accompanied by her beautiful words “I see the queen in you”. She’s on a sabbatical right now and has started a new blog to talk about the personal journey she’s on.  

3. Speaking of kindred spirits, I haven’t met Julie Daley (yet), but I’m pretty sure we’ll bond pretty quickly if/when we do meet.  I first connected with her on Twitter and since then her blog has become one of my favourite places for wise, soulful writing about what it means to be wholly, beautifully female. Her words make me feel like I have come home.  

4. I met so many inspirational people at ALIA, I couldn’t begin to list them all. But one that’s definitely worth mentioning is Thomas Arthur, a contemplative juggler/photographer with the heart of a poet/mystic (or perhaps it’s the other way around). His evening performance (a combination of juggling, speaking, and film) was one of the most moving things I’ve seen in a long time. And one of my favourite fun moments at ALIA was the evening on the dance floor when he taught us how to group juggle. He’s got an intriguing new project on the go, called earthanima – a beautiful, whimsical look at the way the earth speaks to us.  

5. Mihirini De Zoysa is one of those people you almost can’t resist looking at, partly because of her stunningly beautiful eyes and smile, but mostly because she has such an open compassionate face you just know that you will feel safe in her presence. She’s another one of the people I bonded with at ALIA, though we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I would have liked. She lives in Sri Lanka and she has recently started a new project there called “I Can” in which she and others are inspiring kids in schools to be change-makers in their communities. She wrote about it here. Some day I’d like to visit her in Sri Lanka and hear more of the hopeful stories coming out of this inspiring project.  

Kathy (on the right)

6. Last but not least in my “people who inspired me at ALIA” list is Kathy Jourdain. She was one of my companions in the Leader as Shambhala Warrior workshop, and together we worked through some pretty big stuff – like fear and resistance – especially when we found out we each had to write a blues song. I would have loved to have had more opportunity to hear Kathy’s fascinating life story – she found out she was adopted at the age of 46 (she found out through Facebook! There’s a new take on how social media impacts our lives!), and has worked through divorce and some other fairly significant obstacles – but since our time for story-sharing was limited, I’m now catching up on some of her stories on her blog.  

Who’s inspiring you these days?

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