It seems only right that I should start a new blog with a story about the woman who inspired me to write something more useful than I have been. Her name is Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki, and last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to sit and listen to her give a three day lecture on the Egyptian pantheon. Honestly, she could have discussed how to remove lint from the bed sheets and it would have been just as enjoyable. Dolores is an elder among elders, and a teacher to us all. To listen to her talk is akin to sitting around a grandmother on a stormy night, as she gives a sense of confidence, safety, and community no matter how dark or torrential the world outside may seem. We have more to take in that anything we can learn from a lecture, record in a notebook, or publish in a book. I feel I have been given an opportunity that future generations will never have, because she exudes and energy and inspires in a way I could never convey to anyone who has not experienced it personally. In the same vein, Dolores makes her audience feel like a close friend, a confidante, family. While she is present, one feels as though he is the only one, or among an intimate crowd, around which Dolores’ world centers, and indeed he is. All of her energy focuses on the faces, hearts, and souls before her, as if we were her children. At the end of her time speaking with us she imparts her final words of wisdom, faith, and love and sends a bit of her heart and soul home with each and every one of us with an emotional connection forged strong enough in a mere three days to make one want to cry and stay at her side forever just to hear her words. This is the embodiment of our path. This is our legacy. This is where one realizes that she is part of something huge. This is where I am inspired to make this path not just the path I live, but to make it my life. This is my smack in the face. This is my calling. This is that voice inside me screaming, “you have a higher purpose than this! Get out of bed and do it!” This is the assurance that I have not closed all my doors, that there is still something greater in this world for me. This is a god-form-kick-in-the-astral-ass, and I am no longer content or willing to sit here and let the noise of the mundane life drown out what is imperative that I hear and heed. This, Dolores, is my empowerment.