Sunday, May 12, 2013

Show Me the Way: Allies, Teachers, and Guides

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I was recently invited to discuss India, Travel, and Following Your Dreams with a group of 9th graders. I was honored and excited to make this presentation at Marin Catholic School because I was strongly influenced by interesting adults throughout my childhood, those who did something totally out of the ordinary. I still recall the teachers and artists that touched my heart, and the non-traditional adults who told me, "Erin, you can do whatever you want in life, especially if you do well in school. Get the best grades you can and you can go far, far, far." So I did. I believed them, and I took it to heart. I busted my behind and got scholarships that paid my way through university. There, I learned how to focus, finish, and be accountable to an incredible amount of hard work.

The most influential teacher I had was Mr. Huber, my 7th grade English teacher. That very first day of class, he told us to sit down and keep a journal every single school day, and we would be graded on it. He promised not to read what we wrote if we stapled the page shut, but he would check our journals to make sure we wrote something each morning. We could write about a good meal we had the night before, or a boy we had a crush on, or a funny movie we saw last weekend. Anything at all. But we had to write at least a paragraph every single morning. Thus, my first disciplined "Morning Pages" a la Julia Cameron's The Artists Way began at age eleven.

Writing daily stuck. I never stopped! I have all those notebooks stuffed inside box after box, surely to provide fodder for something, somewhere.

Outside of school as a pre-teen, I read all of young adult author Judy Blume's books (Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, etc.). Blume's work touched me so deeply that I sat down and wrote a post letter to her via her publisher. Several weeks later, I received an actual reply in the snail mail, with her photograph, autograph and a hand-written thank you. I was so inspired I could barely breathe.

So, when requested to present to a Global Studies class of 9th graders on the topic of India, Travel, and Following Your Dreams, you can bet I showed up. I donned a traditional Indian outfit (salwar kameez), plastered a bindi on my forehead, loaded up my wrists with sparkly bangles, and toted along my Bindi Girl book and a short video presentation with stills from my upcoming sequel, which you can view right here...

Remember that our story and our experiences may inspire another, young or old, to take the plunge and live their heart's dreams. We must stand tall as examples that anything is possible. My current artist's motto is: "Don't listen to anyone about anything, ever." Sounds extreme, I know, but here I mean, ignore the naysayers. I mean that if someone says the economy is bad and we shouldn't try x, y, or z, ignore them. If they say that you're too old or too financially unstable to go off traveling, or you don't have enough credentials to apply for a job that sounds great to you, plug your ears. Sometimes we need to ignore rational, common sense precisely because it is common and we are being called to create something brand new. Nothing is impossible. As I quote Goethe in my book, The Adventures of Bindi Girl:

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

Align yourself with believing mirrors and pioneering folks who have busted out of the status quo to forge new territories. Sync up with those who put their faith in their vision more than the current paradigm. Let them be your allies, your cheerleaders, your teachers and guides.



  1. What a powerful message, Erin! Thank you. In these times of real change, those pioneer souls who can blaze new paths for us can be seen as the bringers of the brave new woeld!

  2. Show Me the Way...listened to Frampton on the way to bringing the kids to school this morning and now your post...A great message Erin!