Saturday, August 6, 2011

charming places: who needs hawaii anyway?

After the whole "Sorry about the babies" business in June I was a trooper, I really was. I picked myself up by my bootstraps and did what I was supposed to do. I got on with life. I focused on The Happygirl Experiment, went

to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings, took care of my husband and our puppy. I did it all but part of me just needed a break from all the sad, from the container of leftover drugs still sitting in our vegetable crisper to the excited phone calls of "When's your due date?!" I needed to step away for a moment. My therapist thought I needed to relax. My husband thought I needed to do whatever I though would help me feel better.

So as you do when you need to get away, I thought of Hawaii. I'd spent some time at Turtle Bay Resort when we covered the "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" junket and the "Lost" set visits. It's a chill hotel on the North Shore where I could spend my day working out, meditating, cleaning out my head and then falling exhausted into a lovely bed. Last week I made a reservation for August 3-10. I had my plane ticket and my car rental. I was scheduled to leave this past Wednesday and I started packing.

And then the universe, oh the universe and that tricky sense of humor she (it?) has.

This past Monday I was online and I randomly came across a link to BlogHer. BlogHer, it sounded familar. I clicked on the link and it was a feature about BlogHer, the blogging conference that was scheduled for August 5-6. I read it and looked up at L. who was sitting across the table working on his laptop too.

"I think I need to go to BlogHer," I said as I read the description of the conference to him.

He looked up at me "I know. I sent you the dates on this like months ago. I thought you should go to it then. I think you should go to it now."

I didn't remember this and was about to tell him "No, you didn't" when I checked my email and there it was, an email from L. on June 19 suggesting I go to BlogHer. But then, that was right after the loss and I couldn't think about going to a conference. Or going to the market. Or tying my shoes.

It's funny how your intuition works. There wasn't a question, really, whether or not I should cancel Hawaii. There was no talk of pros and cons, why it would be good for me to go, why I SHOULD go to BlogHer. It felt like there was no other choice. This is what I was supposed to do. Within a minute of reading the BlogHer article I was on the phone with Turtle Bay. I cancelled my reservation, my flight and rental car while at the same time registering online for the conference in San Diego. By the time I finished canceling my travel arrangements, an email arrived with my BlogHer confirmation. Two more clicks to book the room and flight and within 10 minutes I had completely cancelled the vacation in Hawaii and scheduled the BlogHer conference.

It is now day three of the event, the last day of the two day seminars and pre-launch day of registration. It is 8:43pm and I am sitting in my hotel room here in San Diego having just finished a run along the waterfront. There are parties taking place right now in the ballrooms below me, but I needed to decompress, to look over these business cards I am surrounded by. So I sit here at my laptop inputting names and contact information as well as reminders of who the bloggers and company contacts are that I met before I forget and they all meld into one fantastic woman whose features I can't quite remember.

This, right now is where I am supposed to be. It always fascinates me that the universe has you on a path and try as you might to stubbornly stay on your path, no sorry, there are other plans for you.

My life has changed in the past few days.

I am in awe of these women who blog about their lives as mothers, activists,  teachers, wives, lesbians, ministers, CEO's, fashionistas, dominatrix. They all have a voice through blogging. These women who I have spent the last 72 hours with are so smart and funny and real, they blow my mind. I have talked with them in seminar rooms, elevators, ballrooms, hallways and while holding puppies at the first night party discussing SEO, cloth diapers, technical solutions, equal marriage rights, fitness (Hello, Fit Bottomed Girls!), chocolate, marketing and shoes. I have had a quiet moment discussing miscarriage with E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic and had breakfast with "The Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper.

I teared up as I listened to 14 brave women share their stories in the Voices of the Year keynote and I smiled as the grandmother behind Michael Angelo's frozen meals showed me her family album ("Here's our vacation in Italy. Here are my boys, aren't they handsome boys?") as her family plated up samples of their frozen meals for the expo attendees. (Seriously, great food. Love that the company is family owned and they care about the details including knowing exactly where the tomatoes are grown that are used in their recipes.)

I wonder if the extraordinary co-founders of BlogHer-- Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone know what they have done for women these past few days. They have connected women with each other from around the world. They invited experts from the most well respected companies in the world to teach us how to be our ultimate best online. We were exposed to products in the expo show that would enhance our lives and enable us to pass along our favorite things to our readers. I'm reflecting back on the 6 seminars I took and am amazed that I now have this information delivered by the experts in their respective fields. How can I ever thank them for making me expand my horizons? Do I want to be an ambassador for something I believe in? Maybe. I never thought it before and now I have offers to ponder. Do I want to publish a book? Maybe. Now I have the advice of authors and publishers who were kind and said "Stay after the seminar. Let's talk." I found out what makes Bob Harper and Giuliana Rancic happy.

What I learned is that I was meant to be here and I knew that on Monday night. I didn't fight it. I didn't ask why. I just knew that this is where the universe wanted me to be. I trusted myself. I trusted.

So over the next few weeks, months and even years you'll feel the repercussions of my experience the past few days. This is what I was meant to do.

To my fellow bloggers, this was truly an honor for me to be here with you. I learned so much from you. Two days ago I arrived alone, now just walking to the elevator it was hugs and "Hey!! Happygirl! Meet us by the pool in ten minutes?" I look forward to our paths crossing again.

Here we go. Stay tuned. You're about to get your happy on!

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