First, my apologies that I missed blogging last week. I had just returned from a week-end in Rhode Island that was incredibly inspiring...so much that I was stumped and all coherent thoughts worthy of writing escaped me. I finally found a way to put pen to paper but first you need a little background information.
Last May, I received a grant for a 2-week residency program on Martha's Vineyard to focus on developing "The Healthy Knitter." The name of the residency is Turkeyland Cove Foundation; I highly recommend applying if you have a creative dream that you wish to pursue. I tell you all of this because the trip to Rhode Island was a reunion of sorts. Almost all of the 100 women that have received grants to attend the residency program came together to meet one another, to connect and get reinvigorated to carry on our creative works. When you get that many individuals together that are all working in some way to make the world a better place, it can be inspiring beyond belief but also a little overwhelming. So, I didn't write and instead contemplated how I should begin because there were some people I'd like you to meet.
Today, I introduce you to a woman named Paula Francis, a woman that radiates with compassion, peace and happiness. I'd heard of this woman last summer and finally had the opportunity to meet her during the reunion weekend.
Paula is walking around the United States in the name of happiness known as the "Happiness Walk." Her travels were inspired by Peace Pilgrim, a woman that gave up everything (even her name) to raise awareness of and to spread peace. Paula is doing the same thing...walking with just a small pack of clothes and spending the night with people that host her along the way yet there's a twist. She's interviewing folks to find out what makes them happy and what matters most in their lives. The mission of the Gross National Happiness non-profit organization is to "increase personal happiness and our collective wellbeing by changing how we measure progress and success." The data she collects from her interviews will be transcribed, analyzed and then provided to policy makers as evidence of the values that need to be at the forefront of policy making.
In the past few years, Paula has walked almost 4500 miles in the name of happiness. From June to November she'll be walking up the West Coast beginning in Santa Monica and ending in the Seattle area.
Meeting Paula was truly an honor and when she showed me an image of the word "Coddiwomple" on her phone I felt it was destiny to have met her. I thought to myself
"not only is this woman all about peace and walking but she knows what coddiwomple means." To have such strength, trust and commitment in self and others is truly beyond inspiring.
From the map above, it appears that next summer Paula will be walking through Idaho and since that's where I typically spend my summers I might just see if I can join her. In the name of happiness and peace...
I'm pleased to report that the next shipment of Project Peace bags arrived on my doorstep last week. On Friday, I dropped them off at the screen printers. Supposedly it will take 2 weeks but fingers crossed they are done sooner than that. For those of you on the waitlist, I'll be emailing you to let you know they've arrived and to provide further instructions. Hopefully, there will be enough to go around this time with 165 in this batch. My mother has been very busy!
We are half way through Coddiwomple with lots of walking and knitting taking place. It's never too late to start if you are interested in receiving some walking encouragement from now until the end of April. Simply purchase the pattern for coddiwomple on Ravelry here. You'll receive the pattern for a mystery project and daily tips to inspire more walking.
Paula's inspiration and motivation for a better world reminds us that no dream is too big. All it takes it's a dose of courage and simply putting one foot in front of the other. This is the way to discovering happiness....one step at a time.
What's your dream? What have you wanted to accomplish but always thought "naaah, can't do that because..." What if you said, "yes, I can do that and this is how...." Dream big. Paula shows us it's possible.