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Born on a decade boundary, the year 2020 is a life milestone I began to envision in 2010. I set my sights on it being monumental, having come through the last decade boundary like the phoenix rising from the fire. I managed to keep my home after foreclosure and after almost 2 years of severe under-employment, I found work where I could apply all my knowledge and experience in a new setting. The accent from a year of trials, growth, and simpler joys came in the fall of 2010. To say I was grateful for this demonstration of how the Universe always has my back seems to be such an understatement, given that now, a decade later, here I am in the midst of a global pandemic, Earth’s millennial check on humankind, as my dreams become reality.

These are my reflections on manifesting abundance and joy while so many are losing theirs.

In 2010, my aspirations for 2020 were simply to be semi-retired, doing work in which I find joy (because I’ll always have to work), using the education, experience, and wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years. I was becoming 60, after all, so even while facing an uncertain future, I had to stay focused on what I wanted 10 years from now, not what I feared. Thank you, Liz Whitted-Dawson, for the 2005 introduction to East Bay Church of Religious Sciences, Rev Eloise Oliver, and the spiritual practices of Science of Mind! The Universe presented Liz when we, as strangers, boarded the same cable car at Powell and California. I’ve learned that’s how It works.

That Summer at 60, as I like to call it, I had time on my hands. I enrolled in Walnut Creek’s Citizen Institute, a 12-week program of Saturday mornings learning all there is to know about the city’s history, operations, and plans. The intent being preparation of potential commission members. The last Saturday was each participants’ turn to tell their Walnut Creek story as we traversed the city in a tour bus, stopping for a minute in front of each of our homes. Of the 25 or so people on the ride, only two had lived there longer than my 30 years. It was fun to watch the nonverbal reactions as the huge bus maneuvered the turnaround in the cul de sac of Vanderslice Ct. The last stop on the tour was Rossmoor, the retirement community I’d heard about, but never seen in those 30 years. My reaction was, Beautiful, I can do this! I updated my vision; semi-retired – in Rossmoor.

Five years later, mid-decade 2015, I began making these statements, aloud every morning:

I am healthy and fit

I am financially free and comfortable

I’m in my new home with a view and no stairs

I am using the gifts of my education and my professional and personal experience to build upon leadership and equity in tech education and workplaces

I am a connecter of women seeking to share their wisdom with others for personal, professional and social change

I have a loving and intimate companion that shares my desire to live Life at its fullest

I’m writing my memoir one blog post a month

I’m empathic and empowering in all that I do

I’ve never missed a day speaking my word to the Universe. For the big ones (health, home, finances), I add what it looks like to get there. As they are realized, I continue to make the statement as an expression of gratitude. I already had (and still have as testimony) a loving companion. After the knee injury in 2018, I added “flexible and flowing”, to “empathic and empowering”. In You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay suggests knee problems are a sign of inflexibility, stubborn ego, and pride. Not me?! Well, maybe.

On March 16, 2020, I moved into my new home with a view and no stairs (in Rossmoor). A week before, I gave notice that I was moving on to that perfect work using all my skills and passions. March 17th, we all sheltered in place. Yet, for me, it’s had a silver lining and when I look back over 2019, the flow took over without me knowing. I was simply accepting.

The new setting for my next work in 2010 was the California Community Colleges, an environment that has drawn from everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, while prodding my limitations toward growth. What I think I know about leadership, education, culture, change, emotional intelligence, strategy, systemic racism, technology, mindfulness, unconscious bias – all of my professional and academic explorations – is applied, tested, confirmed and/or debunked.

Ten years in the CCC system, I now have this rare opportunity to be a member of a team of leaders. No cliché, that. The Bay Area Community College Consortium is a consortium in the true meaning:  a group formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member, in this case any one of 28 Bay Area community colleges. Here is a collaborative team of uniquely talented individuals, each with various accountabilities for outcomes at those colleges, but with limited authority to make them happen. So we must be collaborative; we must bring what we know and be open to that changing. I’m witnessing the best of every leadership style, so adeptly applied! It’s arrived! I’ve attracted the long-expected work of my visioning.

I’m in joy, yet I find myself sometimes going into sadness and anger about the world outside my SIP bubble. “Life’s hurricane can’t reach within” Michael Franks is singing in my AirPods as I wrote that last sentence. I hear You, Universe. Thank you. I know that is Truth I must remember when those feelings bring on whisperings of guilt, doubt, fear, and hopelessness. Like me, every human be-ing has dominion over his, her, or their lives. We have a power within we all can use. Just as this is true for me, it is true for all humankind. I’m feeling more compassion in these scary, uncertain times; even for those whom I judge lost, hateful, or overcome by their own feelings of guilt, doubt, fear, and hopelessness. I know we all can be the phoenix and rise into our new better-yet-to-be when we expect Good in the midst of uncertainty and meet It half way with our own good. The good we bring is the use of our uniquely individual gifts in some means of service to others, using them well for ourselves, staying in a flow of gratitude, kindness, humility, and acceptance.  


  • Jacqueline says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I have not been satisfied in Texas, and I am seeking guidance for the universe on where I am suppose to be. I am considering Marin county of So. San Francisco.. Keep me in your prayers.
    Peace and Love…

  • Marilynn Hall says:

    Olivia, I love your story, your commitment to goodness and your vision of ever expanding love….and justice. Count me among those who treasure you and share your ideals and optimism. ??

  • Thank you so much. This piece is a model of your leadership and vulnerability. I can’t wait to read the final memoir. I know you are leaving a legacy that will uplift and inspire women, and young people to right action, to be their best self. I appreciate your sharing this with the world.

  • Linda Lamb says:

    Congratulations you accomplish your goal. Continue your great work in helping others.