Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I'm in Arizona for the ATM, Debit, and Prepaid Conference. Please contain your excitement. There is actually some good information on offer. It's just packaged up by boring people in boring conference rooms. I've been a bit spoiled by innovation conferences like GEL where there are rooms full of fascinating characters. Weird, but fascinating, which is exactly just the right kind of fascinating for me. 

But enough about the conference. I'm really struck by Arizona. And not because it's "maverick-y" as Tina Fey (or is it Sarah Palin?) would say. As I was driving from the airport, I was reminded of the book Women Who Run with the Wolves. In the introduction, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes talks about how the life in the dessert seems small on the surface and yet is huge underneath. There are intricate root systems and creatures of dazzling diversity that live below ground. There is a whole ecosystem that survives and thrives away from the watch of the human eye. Pinkola-Estes talks about how many people, women in particular, have these huge wells of emotion and thought and concern that exist beyond any other person's grasp or understanding. 

The beauty of Arizona is stark. It's another world here, like nothing I have seen or experienced anywhere else. Here, everything feels and looks foreign. My boss was commenting today how the food, the art, the culture, the history, and the landscape are unlike those in any other state. And you might think that sounds a bit odd to be some place so foreign in our own country. Somehow though, in it's foreign-ness, it's opened me up to new possibilities, to new ways of seeing everything in a different light than I saw it just yesterday. My stress from the last few days is gone. Anxiety vanished. How did that happen?

I believe in that saying, "So often what's needed is a change of self and not a change of scene." But for me, a change of scene provokes a change in me that I desperately need and can't always ignite in my everyday living patterns. On occasion, our systems need a little shock and travel can do that for us, particularly to a place wholly unfamiliar. I needed to expand my mind to take in the new possibilities that my current tasks are providing. And I needed to get away from my computer screen, even for a little while, and not troll though my usual set of tasks. I guess the universe gave me exactly what I needed exactly at the time I needed it - Arizona.  

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