A few posts ago, I mentioned the winding path that one must take up the side of the mountain when the ascent is too steep for the ordinary wanderer.
That metaphor has been ringing so true for me recently, especially in this self-employment journey. Each time I think I’m on the right path, I hit a curve and find myself going in a different direction entirely, never really sure that the path will get me to the top.
When I left my job and started this journey, I was quite convinced that Sophia Leadership was the right path and that feminine wisdom and leadership were the passions that would drive my business. There were so many signposts pointing me along the path – whether it was a horse named Sophia, a fortuitous statue with the word “Sophia” engraved in it, or the amazing experience I had in a circle of women gathered by the lake for our Listening Well retreat.
But then the year ended and a new one began and I found myself feeling restless, knowing something was trying to be born. As it turned out, it was a memoir stretching the walls of my figurative womb, trying to push itself into the light of day. Without totally abandoning Sophia Leadership, I stepped away from some of the passion that drove it to give space for the book to emerge. The book is about my stillborn son and the way that he has been my spiritual guide in my life as I learned and relearned many lessons of surrender.
When the book was in the birth canal, and my primary focus was the labour pains of bringing it to life, I just didn’t feel much like writing about feminine wisdom or leadership and I no longer knew whether Sophia Leadership was the space I belonged. “All I want to do is write,” I thought. “And I don’t want to be restricted by these boxes. Not everything is about Sophia or about leadership.”
So I began to contemplate switching my blog to my heatherplett.com site and making it a more general space about personal growth and transformation and stillborn babies and surrender and LIFE.
But then I hit another switchback on the path. The first draft of the book got done and I started sharing it with a few trusted readers. And as I shared it, I started to realize that it really IS about feminine wisdom AND about leadership, and I really hadn’t switched paths after all.
A few other signs showed up as well. I facilitated an in-person leadership workshop and sat in a circle of people hungry for a new paradigm for leadership, eager to make a difference in the world, and uncertain they have the right to call themselves leaders. They were leaders in search of a guide to point them to the right path.
And then I facilitated an online leadership learning circle for How to Live with your Paint Clothes on, and the same thing happened. An incredible circle of women bravely voiced their calling to leadership of some kind and admitted they were unsure of how to do it and how to work outside the old paradigms of leadership we’re all surrounded with. More leaders in search of a guide.
And then I had an amazing conversation with Bridget Pilloud, and she pushed me kind of hard when I said I was thinking of giving up Sophia Leadership and told me that there is a huge need among women in leadership (including herself in a previous career) for someone to help them see their paths clear to a place where feminine wisdom is honoured and accepted.
Last but not least, Sophia spoke to me in a bookstore. It was one of those restless days when I couldn’t find a book to settle the angst that had taken up residence in my heart. I was wrestling with my wandering tendencies, and the winding path and wondering WHY OH WHY I couldn’t just settle into an ordinary easy path like other people. There were relationship things going on as well that reminded me of my tendency to be an outsider, always on the edge of the circle when others are smack dab in the middle having all the “easy” fun.
Flipping through an art magazine, I heard Sophia whisper “you are called to the edge.” Bam. Just like that. A proclamation that answered so much of my angst and unsettled feelings. “You are CALLED to the edge. This is not an accident.” I’m not SUPPOSED to be in the centre of the circle having easy fun. I’m not SUPPOSED to be one of the people who get called to seemingly easy and straight paths. I’m meant to be out here on the edge.
I am an edge-walker. I am most myself when I am at the edge of the circle where I can serve as witness both to the things going on inside the circle and those happening outside. I am a leader whose vision of what’s ahead on the path helps direct the people at the centre who have less clarity. I help people feel safe because they have a sentry at the edge. I serve as scribe, witness, and facilitator for the people in the centre because I am less attached to the gravity and ideas that pull everyone to the centre. I watch for dangers and I help people avoid them. I follow new ideas and new paths because I know the people in the circle need them.
The particular edge I am called to live on is the edge called Sophia Leadership. I feel more and more certain of that. Bringing feminine wisdom into leadership is edgy, difficult, and not always popular work, but the people in the centre NEED this work. Everywhere I look I see more and more leaders in search of a guide/mentor.
When I walked out of the bookstore, I felt simultaneously like a great burden (of unknowing, doubt, uneasiness) had been lifted off my shoulders, while a whole new burden of responsibility and calling had been added. But the burden was not mine to carry alone – Sophia God was there carrying it for me.
The clarity has carried me through to today. The top of the mountain is becoming a little more visible as I round this latest switchback. I’m not sure how “edge-walker” would play on a business card, but I know what it means to me, and that’s what matters.
In the spirit of being an edge-walker and guide, I am offering new services and clarifying some old ones. Thanks to the roadsigns, there’s more clarity to them than anything I had on this website before. Perhaps one of them will resonate with you. If you need guidance, or if you feel a similar call to the edge, I would love to work with you and serve as your guide.
You can find the buttons for these services on the right-hand side of this blog. Or click on the one that appeals to you below.
(By the way, I am totally in love with the photo my sister took at the top of this page. On my face you can see that perfect mix of seriousness with a hint of a smile, angst with a hint of devil-may-care, and strength with a hint of softness that makes me who I am, standing out here on the edge.)