Yesterday I spent many hours cleaning, clearing, purging, shredding, stacking, sorting, filing, excercising (by hauling away junk) and exorcising gremlins from the past. There is a room in my house that has become a repository for memory; some treasured, others I have avoided as fastidiously as I have steered clear of moving through all of that stuff. Although a few piles and boxes of items belonged to my parents, both of whom passed in the last few years, most of it was connected with a magazine that my husband Michael and I published from 1988-1998, called Visions. Based in the Philadelphia area initially and then moved down to South Florida when we did in 1990, it focused on wellness, spirituality, transformation, environmental concerns and peace and social justice. Over the years, a host of wonderful writers offered their talents and dedicated advertisers promoted their businesses with us. We could not have sustained the magazine without such a team.
Alan Cohen, Andrew Weil, Bella Abzug, Ben & Jerry, Bernie Siegel, Cris Williamson, Dean Ornish, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Grover Washington, Jr., Holly Near, Jack Canfield, Joan Borysenko, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Olympia Dukakis, Ram Dass, Richard Bach, SARK, Shirley MacLaine, Wayne Dyer and Wally (Famous) Amos were among the transformational teachers/musicians/artists/entrepreneurs and politicians who graced the covers over the years. It was my joy to speak with these notables and yet there were times when I didn’t recognize my own talents in the process; it hadn’t occurred to me at the time what a win-win it was for all of us, since the interviews helped to spread the word about their important work. As I turned page after page of the publication, taking a magical mystery tour of the 80’s and 90’s, I was able to, at times, step back and dis-connect myself from the fact that these were my words in the interviews and the publisher’s message, and think “This woman knows how to write. She’s going places.” In retrospect, I can see how the seeds were planted for my current writing, including this blog; so similar was the style even then. Would that I had been able to see myself that way all those years ago, since this creation was also a breeding ground for many of the insecurities I faced then. I saw that the magazine was the best and worst thing that happened in my marriage, since although it provided us with a creative outlet and an income for a decade, it was also a source of conflict, since Michael was the left brain, linear-logical business minded partner and I was the right brain, somewhat airy fairy cosmic foo foo partner. Our ideas for the ways in which the business ought to be managed, were sometimes at odds. I felt wimpy at times, wavering when it would have benefitted us for me to stand firm, looking for creative solutions, rather than being paralyzed by problems.
As I look at this photo, which was in honor of the 10th anniversary of the publication, we didn’t know at the time that it would also be our last hurrah. Six years earlier (1992), we were living in South Florida and Michael was diagnosed with Hep C; the same year I survived an ectopic pregnancy and we lost our home to Hurricane Andrew in Homestead. Fast forward to 1998 and I needed to take charge and eventually we needed to make the decision to sell the publication to a friend who ran it for 7 years and then he sold it. It is now called New Visions and although I am not involved in it, I see it as my ‘great grandchild’ out there in the world and am proud that we planted the seeds that have blossomed beautifully.
As I gaze lovingly at this photo, I remember the day it was taken. We wanted something Annie Liebovitz-esque; ala’ her image of Whoopie Goldberg in a bathtub of milk. We opted for a tub filled with magazines; although what you don’t see are the pillows and towels beneath them, since that many layers of magazines would have been too heavy. I still remember our photographer friend, perched on a ladder, taking aeriel shots. What is also not evident was that this was a challenging day, since Michael was in a great deal of pain behind that smile. Six months later, Michael himself was aeriel, as he passed on December 21, 1998. As I come up on the 14th anniversary, I am letting go, letting go, letting go of all that kept me tethered to the past in unhealthy ways and am dancing forth into my new life.
I can now have compassion for the hair down to her waist waif who so feared rocking the boat, making waves, disturbing the peace and who would go along to get along, and see that in many ways, she was the ancestor to the assertive, confident (most of the time) and creative conscious entrepreneur who is now writing this missive. I am making peace with my past, forgiving what I have steadfastly clung to, remembering the 3 F’s (faith, family and friends) that got me through these experiences and I can now claim the title of visionary.