Synchronicity

In October I will be at Mii Amo, a destination spa in Sedona, Arizona, leading a 4-day retreat with workshops to help participants articulate and achieve their dreams, hopefully by forming their own Stiletto Networks.

This is something I never thought I would do. But through “Stiletto Network,” I’ve come to expect the unexpected. As I celebrate the book’s one-year anniversary, I’m realizing just how many “firsts” the past 12 months have brought.

MiiamoLogoI’m going to tell you why Mii Amo is special (and of course I hope you’ll all sign up for the retreat), but first a bit of history:

Back in 2010, when I started this process, I’d recently stopped nursing my third child and couldn’t imagine embarking on a large project. I was exhausted, just hanging on, and freelancing for The New York Times while raising three active boys seemed like work enough – at least for the moment. I was not, as we say, leaning in.

Still, while reporting an article, I had a hunch that something was changing in the world, so every day I woke up and tried to figure it out. I was doing work that was personally interesting and engaging – interviewing smart, successful women about their lives – and work that felt right in a deep, intuitive way.

For the first time in my career, perhaps in my life, I had no plan for where it would lead. In fact, I’d taken 100 pages of single-spaced notes before I admitted to anyone (including myself) that I was writing a book. I was just loving the work.

This approach, and the book that followed, has brought more blessings, both personally and professionally, than I ever could have imagined, and I’ve become much more comfortable with uncertainty and risk. The past few years have also been filled with meaningful coincidences, what some (including Deepak Chopra, who blurbed “Stiletto Network”) call “synchronicity.”

Synchronicity led me to Mii Amo.

Last summer, after the whirlwind launch of “Stiletto Network,” I retreated to Maine with my family. I was elated by the response to the book, but also completely drained after two months of press and travel, and I longed to hike and bike and sail with my kids, to think and write and stare at the ocean.

Mostly I lived like a hermit in Maine, but on a rare night I ventured out for dinner with my wonderful friend Diana, a fellow mom and writer who lives in D.C. During a long conversation about struggling for that elusive balance, Diana mentioned a place she’d visited on her 40th birthday – a red rock canyon in Arizona considered sacred ground by many tribes, a place she’d found transformative and from which she returned with a well of energy and love.

“I think you’d love it there,” she said. “I think you should go.”

Of course this sounded great, if totally unrealistic; I was already traveling for speaking engagements and couldn’t possibly take more time away from my kids. So I filed it away and headed back to my frenetic city life. Then, on November 23, 2013, I received an email from Diana: “Hello Pamela!! Have been thinking about you and will call you soon to catch up.” Diana and I are close, but we rarely speak during the year for all the obvious reasons. Life is busy. It was unlike Diana to email me out of the blue.

The same night, I was having dinner with the amazing Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare, and the former travel editor for Town & Country magazine. Melissa is of the most erudite people, and certainly the most well-traveled person, I know. Her job is to ferret out new and exciting destinations, to curate experiences for a glamorous clientele, so she seldom goes anywhere twice.

Yet here she was, talking about a place in Arizona she visits ever year, a place where magic happens. “Yes, it sounds New Agey,” Melissa writes in her review on Indagare, “but Mii Amo… is a place that makes you believe that a better you—and that can mean whatever you wish—is attainable.”

As Melissa spoke at dinner, I kept thinking, “This is Diana’s place too.” And it was.

In the same spirit with which I wrote “Stiletto Network” – doing what feels right without over-thinking – I immediately signed up for Indagare’s annual trip to Mii Amo (which means “journey” in a Native American language). I found its location, activities, guides, and healers to be every bit as powerful and restorative as my friends claimed (see Melissa’s piece, Mii Amo: An Addiction, posted after our January trip).

It’s an honor to be leading this retreat, which coincidentally coincides with my 40th birthday. Synchronicity.

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We have to find a way to be successful that doesn’t compromise us as women… When you’re a woman trying to speak and act like a man, you’re expending energy on that while other people are just focusing on the work. If you have to put energy into being someone you’re not just to fit in, you’ll always be at a disadvantage.”

Heidi Roizen, trailblazing queen of Silicon Valley (entrepreneur, corporate executive, VC, educator)

Stiletto Network (Page 105)