Let start this blog off with a little overview of the most recent phase of my life. For the past four years, I’ve been a retail store owner/operator, running the S.A.G.E. Crafts craft supply store in Sedona, AZ. My motivation to open it was that the old local store had closed and I missed teaching there, plus I arrogantly thought that with my business background, I could a better job of it than the previous owner had done with her shop.
As seems to be a norm for me, I took all of the best ideas that I had ever seen about craft stores and tried to implement them all in time for the store’s opening in December, 2004. To me, that meant a working website, a monthly printed newsletter, weekly make & takes, two classes a week, product demonstrations, open studio times, plus all of the initial setup, buying, receiving, stocking, plus a complicated Point of Sale software system to keep track of all of the inventory, plus so much more… And all with only two employees!
Well, to say that opening the store was an eye-opening experience for me would be a huge understatement. Although I did my homework on the business front, I really had no idea how much of a commitment it would turn out to be in time, energy, and my own resources. I finally closed it on December 6, 2008 for two reasons.
First, I finally had to admit that it was never going to break even and I couldn’t afford/didn’t really want to carry it anymore. Second, I finally had to admit that it wasn’t fun anymore, that quite a lot of it hadn’t been much fun from the beginning, and that the only time I enjoyed it was when I was in the classroom teaching – and that was more rare than I had expected.
So, this past six months has been a time of tremendous change for me – on the financial front with all of the implications of the Wall Street meltdown and its impact on my personal financial situation, on the business front with the whole process of closing the store, as well as on the personal front with all of the goodbyes to staff and regular customers, plus the tremendous workload of a store closing sale, moving out the stuff that I was keeping, and trying to organize my home to be ready to put the equipment and supplies that had initially come from my home to the store back into a “craft room” again.
And, silly me, I decided to paint the entire house – inside and out – the week after the store closed. Having to move everything in the house out of the way of the painters, as well as having all of those men around my house for about three weeks was more of a challenge than I had anticipated. Especially when it was happening while I was trying to pack up the rest of the store and deal with movers getting everything to a storage unit or my house where it belonged.
While in a way I did enjoy most of the challenges that I created for myself over the last few months, they did take their toll on me. I wound up missing Christmas entirely, and barely acknowledged the New Year. I’ve been hibernating for the past month or so, trying to rest and recuperate, to process all of the changes in my life, and to sort out what I wanted to do next. And then, on January 16th, my car was totaled in what I had thought was a minor accident. No one was hurt, thank god, but the car’s repair bill added up to more than the car was worth. Which meant that I now had to change cars on top of everything else that was going on.
Plus I also am in the process of changing my name. Not officially; at least, not yet. Perhaps later. Three of the shamans that I’ve met over the years have given me new names. In order: Credo Mutwa (a Zulu shaman from South Africa) gave me the name “Pilisa,” which means “she who makes whole,” Hale Makua (a Hawaiian kahuna from the big island of Hawaii) gave me the name “U’i,” which means “beautiful,” and Walking Thunder (a Dine’ elder from New Mexico) gave me the name “Rainbow Child.” So, the intention is to use those three names in order as my first, middle, and last name. I’m not sure whether I want to use the English version or the Dine’ version of the last name – assuming that I can learn how to pronounce it in Dine’! Speaking of pronunciation, you would pronounce my first and middle names as: pill · ē · sah and oo · ē.
For years I had been unwilling to use any of the names for any reason. They seemed like a lot to live up to. I’ve told people about the names, and several times I’ve had people say that my new first name suits me quite a lot better than my old name. While that gave me a little boost, I have had an ongoing problem with my perception of my personal power and the possibility of misusing it.
For the last four months or so, (with a lot of soul searching and a past bit of therapy on the subject) I’ve been feeling more comfortable with my names and have been asking a just few of my closest friends to use my new first name to help me get used to it. They were very accepting of my request and willing to do so. Now that I’m more used to my name, I’m taking it to the next circle.
So, starting this New Year, I’ve started asking everyone to use my new name as we meet in person. This doesn’t really seems like a thing to do over the phone or via email, so I’ve restricted it to people I’ve seen in person. Thus, the name for my blog. If you still know me as Nancy, feel free to keep using it for now if you are uncomfortable changing (I have a feeling that my family will fall into this category). If I haven’t talked to you in person yet this year and you are finding out about my name change via this blog post, use whichever you prefer until we discuss it in person.
I’m still unsure what will be next for me, as I’ve been too brain-dead and tired to even want to think about more than the next hour or day (at most). I’m finally starting to get the house back in order, but more than that and the occasional small art project seems to still be beyond me.
So, as David Bowie put it so very well, it’s a time of ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!
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