My story.


The old story I could tell about myself is the ‘school of hard knocks’ version. Grew up in a rowhouse in a working class Baltimore neighborhood…only child of a single mom determined to put a roof over our heads as one of those rare female photographers making a living in the 1970s...scholarship kid privileged with a prep school and university education determined to find ‘success’ and a stable purchase on the thing called her life.  

Married and divorced too young. Breast cancer at 31. Birth of a son at 34. Another failed relationship at 41. Became the independent single mom I’d hoped not to be. Along the way, always a dogged persistence to apply talents—innate and cultivated—to society’s many challenges through the world of politics, non-profits, consulting businesses, relationships.

Yet the more interesting stories are the ones I have only started telling lately.

The one about a woman just entering her 50s with a tool box full of life lessons, a basket overflowing with trust in life’s flow and a mainline dose of humility…..Or the one about a human of the 21st century enjoying a reconciliation between ‘assertive masculine’ and ‘receptive feminine’ such that her gender, and all that it connotes, matters less and less…..

Or the entrepreneur who listened to a soul calling after a brush with death, left the secure world of a government job, and birthed a beautiful expression and named her Arts Corps…..Or that same entrepreneur devoted to that same soul, who left the secure world of traditional family structure and financial support, and created another expression of service and named her Creative Ground.

Dropping conventional names and labels, this soul of myself, finally found the through line to it all and, in this moment, brings the gift of ‘pollinator and incubator of learning and transformation’ to everyone and anyone hungry to navigate his or her inner wilderness, embrace change and radiate more grace.

Yes, I have a traditional resume, CV, whatever we need to call it. Yes, ‘til now, I’ve deliberately traced my lineage of validating experiences as proof of my street cred. If this kind of information would be helpful, you can find it here (Linkedin Profile).

Yet for this next round of inevitable transformation, I’m shedding the conditioned world that measures everything and living with fewer metaphorical clothes and coverings. I intend to live from a confidence that my power as ‘pollinator and incubator’—expressed through creative relationships of all kinds whether they be brief intersections or long-term collaborations—is enough.

I choose to believe this power, a power endowed from the inside and not from anything outside, can carry me into new worlds of experience and creative expression, support me to feed and house myself and my dependents, and inspire more expression of the unique gifts in all of us.

I am also convinced that our way forward in this time of chaos and collapse invites many more of us to offer our true gifts, our indigenous powers, as service without the weight of minimizing caveats or unnecessary apologies. Because of this, and because of the profound joy I experience watching our gifts emerge, in myself and in others, I will model this choice as best I can.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. For now.

artwork © Lana Sundberg 2008

artwork © Lana Sundberg 2008