For some time now, I have been featuring incredible people in my weekly newsletter who I consider to be heroes and heroines of our time. People who have overcome major challenges and in doing so have become teachers and mentors for humanity.
Today is no exception. If you live on Vancouver Island, especially in Victoria, it would be most unusual for you not to have heard about the 5th Annual Creatively United for the Planet festival that everyone is talking about.
It’s an Earth Week Festival in support of more than two dozen NGOs and charities. In fact, it begins today, Friday, April 15th! Click here to find out about all the amazing programs, speakers, musicians, events that are happening!
But first, read the back story about Frances Litman, the visionary and founder who birthed what has become one of North America’s largest events of its kind.
Why have thousands of people been flocking to it every year? Because it showcases and celebrates the important work that people are doing to ensure where we live, work, eat, play and study remains beautiful, vibrant, healthy and resilient. And thankfully, more and more people care about that! And they are showing up learn more and find out how to get involved.
So, Who Is This Extraordinary Woman
Behind The Scenes?
Let me tell you what I know. Frances was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Far from it! But that is not what I will focus on. Instead I would like to honour what this amazing woman has achieved in spite of her painful beginnings. How she held tight to what she believed was possible—how life, and the world at large, could be beautiful even though her outer world, for many years, did not reflect that.
It is her determined nature and the loving fabric of her being that causes her to become unstoppable when it comes to making a positive difference. She doesn’t just hope and pray for a beautiful, sustainable, world, where men, women, children as well as the seas, sky, and land are protected. No, she turns her visions into reality again and again.
She has won over 25 awards in various professional competitions.
Many of you know that last year she passionately ran for the Green Party, joining her mentor, MP Elizabeth May, one of the world’s most influential women, environmentalist, author, and activist whose values align entirely with the heart of Frances.
I could never say all there is to say about my friend, but if you want to be blown away—and I mean it—take a look at her internationally award-winning photographs.
How I Have Come To Know Frances
I couldn’t remember when or where we first met, but she reminded me that it was at a talk I gave about eight years ago. I soon became aware that she was a journalist for the Times Columnist and an award-winning photographer. Although, when you meet her you wouldn’t know any of that, because she is humble and her focus is on the other, not herself.
To me, she is a natural mentor, role model and inspiration to countless people, for no matter what the circumstances, she will find a way of turning lemons into lemonade.
Although Frances and I did not become close friends over the years, our paths often crossed through common social circles and attending many of the same events.
And here is what I experienced each time we met, without exception. I was greeted by a passionate, wise, gentle and kind woman with a genuine smile and heart of gold. You also knew when she spoke with you, even briefly, she was fully present. She is one of those people, who after spending time together, no matter how long the encounter, you always leave feeling better than when you first arrived! She just oozes good stuff, that’s what can I tell you!
From Good to Better To Best!
I can also tell you that I am thrilled that our ‘informal’ friendship has taken a turn. We have been enjoying an ever deepening encounter of the best kind. It began when she, Maggie Reidy, another magnificent “new” friend, (although it feels we’ve known each other forever), and I, sat down to talk about entering a business relationship together. It is our intention to take our collective gifts and talents into the world to inspire peace, beauty, empowerment and love via workshops, retreats, podcasts, TV . . . and on and on it goes.
Maggie brought each us bracelets from her recent trip to Maui, symbolizing our friendship and united vision for humanity and the planet.
No Pipedreams for Us
Not only is Frances not one for pipedreams—neither are Maggie or I. All of us, in our own right, have been climbing the mountains that are worth climbing, for the betterment of ourselves and humanity. And as a team? Wow! It’s currently beyond our imagination where it will lead us. All we know is that we have been divinely guided and feel blessed by this union.
Our business meetings are hardly traditional. We begin with prayer and intention, followed by what’s happening in our lives. Then we laugh A LOT, dance around in my living room, eat healthy, yummy food, and scribe ideas onto the whiteboard as if there’s no tomorrow! And at the end of our meeting, we shake our heads and say, “Seriously? We got all that done in an hour when the rest of the time we were just having fun?” Maggie’s got a play list to die for! Make that “To Live For!” That’s what can happen when you aren’t doing it alone, with conscious collaboration, with respect and kindness, with untied values and vision. And well, when you are all pretty zany to begin with!
It was Frances’s birthday on Tuesday (April 12th). Maggie and I decided to give her a wee surprise party. Just the three of us (oh, and Matt Kahn dropped in a little later). Do we know how to have fun or what?
Creatively United for The Planet. Saturday, April 16th. Come and “Claim Your Gift”
Be sure to Claim Your Gift from Maggie and me at our debut workshop this Saturday from 1:30 – 3 pm.
Location: Royal Bay Secondary, Room 8, 3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way, Colwood.
Room 8. Bonus – It has an ocean view!
Here is a link to the festival website for Saturday.
Can’t wait to see you there!
Two ideas and two writing prompts
1. Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due! Who do you know in your life that inspires you? That makes you feel good? That makes you want to do things that are wonderful? Why not tell them so—through a phone call, an email, or a surprise visit? Do it.
Writing prompt: Today, when I think of . . . my heart expands. Today I want to tell her/him that . . .
2. Are you carrying a vision of something that you are passionate about but don’t know where to begin? I bet there are others just like you who share that passion. And guess what? You don’t have to go it alone. In fact, it’s way more fun when you do it with people who share your ideals. Consult good ol’ Mr. Google and see who in your city might be doing similar things. Contact them . . . and let me know how it goes!
Writing prompt: I am passionate about . . . and would love to come together with others to make it happen. When I think about that,I feel…
As always, please leave your comments below or join us at Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to join the conversation.