Earlier today, there was an amazing event at WICA called WOW! Stories.  (WOW standing for “Women of Whidbey”) Dozens of women spoke about their passions, shared inspirational stories and encouraged the audience to fill their hearts with hope.

All of the speakers were marvelous, but I’d like to use this post as an opportunity to highlight a few that resonated with me.

I know Suzanne Kelman from working with her on WICA’s production of Sweeney Todd.  She played Mrs. Lovett and I played Pirelli (see picture at the end of the post for proof.) She spoke about her recent transition into screenwriting.  On the ferry ride on her way to Pitchfest in California, she thought about turning back as soon as she arrived at the airport.  But an encounter with Peter Lawlor on the ferry made her change her mind and continue on her path.

Peter had told her about how, at 90 years old, he was finishing up his 3rd book of poetry, building his racer for the annual soapbox derby and taking himself on a cruise.  His passion for life at 90 propelled Suzanne to continue her journey and pitch her screenplay.

An interested producer asked “I love the script.  Could you make a sizzle reel?”

To which Suzanne replied “Yes!” not knowing what a sizzle reel was.  Through the power of Facebook and the support of this creative community, she created the trailer, and the movie, Maggie the Brave, is scheduled for filming next spring.

Diana Lindsay, who organized this amazing event, gave a speech entitled “What can you do when the odds are long and medicine comes up short?” which focused on her journey to overcome Stage 4 lung cancer.

These were some of the highlights of her speech:

-We are capable of more healing than we think.

-We are capable of more knowledge than we think.

-We are capable of more love than we think.

-We get more time than we think.

And finally, “Love your cells.”

One of the final speeches of the day was Peggy Taylor.  I first encountered Peggy Taylor at a SERVES retreat training for AmeriCorps.  It was a workshop about fostering creativity.  We were led through a guided meditation where we pictured a door, opened it, then pictured a being that gave us a gift.  I still have the drawing on butcher paper, and I remember the gift I was given–a bronze heart on a chain.

Peggy left us all warm and fuzzy and ready to conquer the world with such nuggets as “The more you use your creativity, the more there is” and “We will all become those goddesses (referenced earlier in Diana’s speech) that will heal this world.”

As communities, we need to take the time to celebrate ourselves.  Events like WOW! Stories foster an environment of hundreds of people intentionally practicing positive thought, mindfulness, and hopefully getting a fire in their bellies to go and create the next round of inspiring stories.

Me as Pirelli, posing with WICA’s Executive Director, Stacie Burgua.