Partners in Crime

To break from the past is to be free. A thousand poets and survivors have said it better–that the only prisons are the ones we create, the ones we chain ourselves inside of, lamenting or angry or bitter or sad.

Sometimes you have to visit in order to sift through what you left behind. And there also comes a day when you can stop visiting, when the past can rest and the present can breathe. 

A daring jailbreak sounded good to me on Saturday night, to light a match and walk away after the ash smoldered and the flame went out.

To claim freedom is not to disown but to honor how you got here, and to create space for what wants to come into being.

— From The Past as Prison: Burn It, Bury It, Leave it Behind

302836_10152277497465438_726291443_nEarlier this week, Mani and I announced that we’re getting hitched not only in September under a chuppah, but as business partners at Dominate: Creativity Consulting.

Throwback Thursday to 2003: A nursing Aviva joined me in Providence for In the Bones, the last of five intensive workshops with the Coaches Training Institute. Soon after that, I left my Hillel job and hung a shingle as a life coach. Strong Coaching was born.

Over the next many years, I alternated between self-employment and traditional employment, welcomed Pearlie into the world, and experienced myself grow and change in ways I always knew without knowing I would. (How’s that for a funky sentence? No matter; I like it.)

When I got laid off from my last full-time position in 2012, I didn’t want to rush into the next thing out of flailing and fear. I devoted about a month to putting together and self-publishing many years’ worth of poems, which ultimately became Don’t Miss This. I collected unemployment, applied to the required three jobs per week, and balanced keeping the faith with fretting about the mortgage. Mani and I had been a couple for about six months at that point, traveling between Phoenix and Burlington as often as humanly and financially possible.

I wound up accepting a position in the career center at Hampshire College here in Amherst, a godsend if there ever was one. I plunked a “For Sale” sign in the front yard of my house, and started making arrangements to move. The girls’ dad, whose self-employment offered a degree of flexibility–agreed to move, too. And so it went. Bittersweet. Timely. Necessary. Life happening.

During those on-again, off-again years as a free agent, I did quite a bit of fishing around for a business partner-in-crime. Someone whose skills, talents, ideas, and drive would complement mine, whose positive energy would light up the room, and whose presence would motivate me to bring my best to my work and life–a distinction I’ve always resisted making. I explored all kinds of collaborations, but ultimately, nothing ever really clicked.

What I didn’t know was that I had already found her–or she me–and that our creative relationship would be so woven into our intimate one that it wouldn’t even feel like work.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I can be a wizard when it comes to  wordy retrospectives. I’m prone to degrees of rehashing and nostalgia that really serve little to no purpose. Lot’s Wife and all that.

From this day forward, I’ll be building Dominate: Creativity Consulting alongside Mani, the collaborator of my dreams. We’ll both be working with clients (like you!) and bringing all of our shared passion for creativity to the content we offer. As far as I can see, the connections only grow deeper and the circles wider.

Zadie Smith said it well: “The past is always tense, the future perfect.”

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