Connection, acceptance and gratitude

brene brown quote, Creative Alliance '12, connection, inspiring quotesSince arriving home on Sunday, I’ve been struggling to find a way to share my Creative Alliance ’12 experience with you.

I’ve searched for words with enough weight to convey how one weekend changed me from the inside.

But each time I think I’m getting close to finding a way to convey how impactful the experience was, my words evaporate before I can write them down.

I’ve decided that sometimes trying to put something so powerful into words somehow diminishes it.

Nothing I can say here can do the experience justice.

But what I will say is that I feel new. Tired, but new.

I headed into the experience feeling blocked, overwhelmed and discouraged.

When it was my turn to share my reasons for attending, I said through tears, “I used to be a writer, but I’m not anymore. And I want to be.”

And over the weekend, I felt a shift.

With each conversation, it felt as though a piece of me woke up.

Since coming home, I have:

  • danced in the living room with my children in the middle of the afternoon.
  • begun reading again; I started with Robin O’Bryant’s Ketchup is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves and have also ordered Molly Campbell’s Characters in Search of a Novel.
  • been inspired to make a meal that required shopping for ingredients and following a new recipe.
  • laid on my bed, thinking only of how lovely the steady breeze from the ceiling fan felt on my face.
  • put my iPhone down more than I ever have.
  • laced up my running shoes and, for the first time in a long time, went for a run.
  • picked up a pen and wrote my thoughts down on paper…just for myself.
  • let go of another chunk of my grief.
  • breathed.

There in Ojai, I felt a connection that I simply can’t describe, but this quote conveys it perfectly:

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. –Brene Brown

Yes…that. Exactly that.

Thank you to each of the women who attended Creative Alliance ’12. You are each magical, brave, creative and brilliant.

And I am so grateful to call you my friends.


  1. Sherri

    Bingo. I couldn't have said it better myself…and look how much you've LIVED in just the past few days. xoxo

  2. You are still a powerful writer. You remind me of a field of flowers in the winter. The flowers are still there even if they are hidden to our eyes. But come springtime they will bloom again. As will you. No. As are you.

  3. I will tell you this, new friend… I never doubted you were a writer… but the post you read during the Salon was poetic. Sometime in the near future, feel free to add to your list, "heard a little voice in my head that whispered, 'you are a writer'"…. and if you need to be reminded of that, you can call me. xoxo

  4. cheryl

    It was lovely. both the post and the experience.

    It's nice to be here.

  5. IlinaP

    Well done! I agree and am in awe that you have found a way to capture the weekend. I am still struggling to find the right words that aren't too fluffy. It doesn't help that I have been sick since I got home. What a way to end a great weekend. Sigh.

  6. I already told you how I feel. Thank you for this wonderful reflection on the weekend. xx

  7. It was worth all the sleep I lost to stay up and get to know more about you and your story!

  8. Ellie

    Beautiful. You ARE a writer, you always have been … and meeting you and seeing your grace and courage and beautiful spirit was such an honor. I can’t wait to get to know you even better.



  9. Jessica

    I'm so proud of you and proud to call you a friend. Love you lady.

  10. Kelly Tirman

    I wish this comment box would let me draw you a pretty picture to express my feelings :) You ARE a writer. The above post is beautiful. <3 you!

  11. You are a writer and one I look up to daily. So glad to have you by my side in this journey called life. Love you my beautiful friend. xoxo

  12. Laura

    You are, in a word, incredible. I adore you. xo

  13. heather

    I can't find words to describe Creative Alliance OR how glad I am that you were there. Your words were powerful and so was your overall presence. I'm so glad to know you. xoxo

  14. Amy

    I'm having so much trouble trying to capture last weekend in words and I'm so happy you feel like writing and reading again. My reading list is identical to yours, by the way. It was great to see you again!

  15. angela

    You are absolutely a writer. I am glad the weekend gave you the perspective you needed and the opportunity to look for and find that part of yourself again. Even when you are not actively "writing", your skills and your words are waiting for you to return; I can't wait to see what you do with the inspiration you found there. (Just like lacing up your shoes and going for a run can remind yourself of what your body can do, picking up your pen and writing will remind you of what your words can do, even if you're out of practice!)

  16. alexandra

    I've heard so much about CA from the people I know that have gone.

    I'm glad you were there, and that it was transforming, re affirming, and inspiring.

    What a wonderful thing to happen in anyone's life.

    Lovely, encouraging post, Nichole. Thank you.

  17. Lee

    Nichole – I'm not sure what to say except that meeting you was awesome and the picture of you in Sue's video is so damn perfect and it's so YOU even though I don't know YOU that well at all but I can see the soul YOU are….and so whenever you feel bumped off your mark again or off track or start thinking too much about what you're not or what you are….just look at that cool picture of you…will you? 'Cause to me – your pure shining soul is so clear in that photo. If you look at it, you'll see exactly who you are. And you are a writer. ;) You know??

    Thank you for taking the leap of faith to be at CA….truly.


  18. I needed this. Thank you.
    (It is all about me, right??)

    You are the bees' knees, my dear.

  19. tracy@sellabitmum

    Beautiful. All of it. So wish I could've been there to hug you and tell you in person that you are an amazing writer. xo

  20. florinda3rs

    It was a shifty kind of weekend, wasn't it? And I don't think I truly felt the effects of it until after it was over…but in some ways, I'm not sure it will EVER be over. Good ways. So glad you spoke up. and I'll look forward to reading much more of what you're writing.

  21. Tonya

    You're amazing. Every word of this is beautiful. Without saying much, you speak volumes! Some things just can't be explained, I totally get that. I'm thrilled that you had such an amazing experience. I wish I could have been there.

  22. Ann

    Watching your CA12 journey remind me once again why I chose the LTYM path. It was an honor and a blessing. And I couldn't agree more about Suebob's photo of you. It took my breath away.

  23. Elaine

    I can tell this was a truly amazing experience. I wish we could have more get-togethers like this, that are more intimate and full of time with those we can truly relate to and that share our desires and goals.

    Beautiful quote.

    And I really enjoyed reading your list of the things you've done since your return… :)


  24. rheabette

    I love that list! You are living your life, girl!

  25. Natalie

    I love your words and you say so much by saying so little. What an amazing experience! Next year I hope to go!

  26. Jessica (@jessbwatson)

    I'm so glad that you went and that it was such an amazing experience for you. And someone with your talent can never deny the writer within. You've got it and I'm so glad that you now FEEL it too. xo

Add a comment

(required, won’t be displayed)

About this post