“It will likely take me months to capture all of my thoughts about my journey to Pakistan. . .” These were the opening words of the blog post I wrote 3 years ago on the airplane, just hours into our journey to the country that would change the course of my life. Months to capture my thoughts? Try years. Maybe a lifetime.
Three Years Ago
We spent twelve incredible days working with entrepreneurs in Islamabad and Karachi as part of the first Pakistan Start-up Cup in 2013. Today, this entrepreneurship competition has not only grown, but helped seed the first women’s entrepreneurship WECREATE Center in the world that is now also in Zambia, Kenya, and Vietnam. After returning from the trip filled with eye-opening and world expanding people and events, I found it harder than expected to process, much less express, all that I felt, thought, and experienced. So, instead, I lived it.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there. . .” ~ Rumi
Meeting and connecting with the women of Pakistan was both affirming and ground shaking. Yes, we were the same. We had many of the same dreams, challenges, ambitions, insecurities, and confidence. Although we were different in our experiences or stages in life, when we opened ourselves to exploration and finding our connecting points, and stepped into the instinctual ritual dance of reaching out and reaching back to one another, only our common ground remained. And this became the new lens of my life.
“I believe. . .”
My business coaching model already focused on women owned businesses, and I expanded that to include conference speaking and group talks. Only now, instead of speaking to what I “knew” about women and business, my journey to Pakistan had me curious about what I didn’t know, and my talks became conversations. An invitation to speak at the local TEDx came and I was asked to consider speaking about international entrepreneurship in the context of the “mind shift” theme. I wandered back and forth between the series of paths I could go down, and every road lead to an essay I’d written years before that “I believe in tribes of women…” My time with Shehneela, Munuwara, Binish, Anam and others had me unable to ignore the evidence that the power of women connecting was not “just me”, just my experience, or just my story, and that the mind shift that needed to occur in our world was that women supporting women can change the world.
Tribes of Women
I keep in touch with some of the women from my journey to Pakistan, but not as often as I like. I hope to see them again one day. In the meantime, I exist knowing that, just as it always is with tribes of women, they are out there cheering for me, as I am for them. If I need them, they will be there, as I will be for them. Because, tribe is not something we’ve ever been without, it’s simply something we have to remember is there, and return to it.
“. . . When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” ~ Rumi
Author, Amy Reeves Robinson, is the founder of Tribe of Women