A Chance Connection, A Journey Toward the Heart
Elizabeth and I met by chance, but our connection was deep.
At the beginning of 2018, I launched my marketing consulting business, Jupiter6, and was looking for my first client. I was sourcing client leads anywhere that I could find them, and I had joined the WeWork network just to hunt the job postings. I knew about the existence of this network having worked at a WeWork building during my final stint as a full-time employee. At the time, Elizabeth was working out of a Portland WeWork location as Marketing Director for an event tech company, Sciensio. We connected immediately and she became my first client. It was a serendipitous connection because I had just found out that my dad was seriously ill, and I had decided to travel to Arkansas to be by his side. I really needed the security of this first gig. It was a lifeline and I do believe it was God-sent. It was only after she died that I understood how truly linked we were.
Elizabeth was an executive leader. She led by organizing the resources of the experts she needed to get the job done. She was a no-nonsense, strong, but caring leader. As a former Marketing Director, myself, I recognized her distinct leadership strengths right away. I also understood pretty quickly what she was up against at Sciensio and I did my best to help her navigate that situation. Unfortunately, she was encountering what too many women encounter in leadership positions under executives who claim they want to grow their companies and yet can’t let go of any decision making. Elizabeth was not the kind of person who needed or cared to be micromanaged. She deeply understood the event industry, having worked in that industry for more than 15 years. She highly valued authenticity and could not just parrot other people’s carefully phrased slogans — especially when she knew those phrases weren’t right for the audience. As time wore on, the role became so micromanaged, she felt ineffective and hence thoroughly frustrated. Her ineffectiveness had little to do with her capabilities and while I think she recognized this somewhat, when she was fired, it hit her pretty hard. So hard, she admitted to me as she was dying, she had not completely gotten over it. This was in spite of the fact that the woman they hired after her was fired in much the same way she had been.
What I’m about to say is only my impression based on the conversations Elizabeth and I had in the limited time that I spent with her. I will not claim this to be the truth. It is merely my impression of her truth. I think what Elizabeth was responding to deep in her core was that as a woman she could not live life in the privileged way that a man could. She had very little chance at succeeding in the ways she had envisioned. All of her life, she was a go-getter. She wanted to experience the most out of life and she did. But she didn’t have a guide in life, a mentor, and being without such a guide, she stumbled upon opportunities. She did her best to make the most of these opportunities. She was always excited about new trends and technology. She was way ahead of her time in this way, ask anyone that knew her in the event space. Sciensio seemed like the perfect opportunity to merge her many talents and so she pinned her hopes in nurturing this opportunity into something bigger. While worldly success was not the main motivator for Elizabeth, it was symbolic, and she dreamed of leaving a legacy behind. That this opportunity did not live up to the expectations that she pinned her future hopes to was devastating to her. When would she get a second chance? She couldn’t clearly see that path and she was suddenly exhausted.
Many of us are dealt these types of serious roadblocks during mid-life. We come up against our limits, our glass ceilings, our unfulfilled desires. Some have a chance to deeply transform themselves into something more authentic, a path that’s all too often in direct opposition with what the world defines as success. In this journey, we face our shadows and defy other’s expectations of us. We travel our own road, and we feel more empowered for it. I truly believe Elizabeth was on her way toward this kind of transformation when she found out she had stage 4 cancer. It was ultimately during this journey where she faced this transformation. A transformation on steroids, more like. But that’s the way Elizabeth lived her life. On steroids. To the max. She faced this chapter of her life with fierce authenticity and it was during this journey where she experienced her true legacy that was there hiding in the shadows this whole time. If you were one of Elizabeth’s many friends, you saw this playing out in real time. I have not seen so many people rally so passionately behind a dying person before. Oh, I’m sure there have been others, but I haven’t experienced it personally. It turns out that Elizabeth made a huge impact on many people during her short life. Even as she was dying, she held space and cared for others. She invited friends and strangers to share her journey and she was connecting people to the very end. I was on the blessed receiving end of this kind of care.
About a week before she died, she introduced me to a friend who had similar spiritual interests as I did. I won’t go into the serendipity of this connection, but I already know that it was meant to happen. That is how my life usually works, and Elizabeth had a gift for tuning into these connections. She was also sending me virtual hugs and coaching me to the very end. That’s how Elizabeth lived her life. She was one of a kind and God took her way too early, but not before she had inspired so many people to stop and think about what kind of impact they will have on others. Many people envision success as something out there, measurable only at a mass level. But often success is measured in our brief encounters along the way. How are we impacting the people around us? Are we a light to those people? Are we investing enough in our relationships? No matter how big or small the relationship is. How do we make others feel? Will anyone feel our impact when we are gone?
When Elizabeth and I met, my dad was dying. Just three years later, as Elizabeth was dying, I found out that she and my dad shared a few profound astrological signatures. Both Elizabeth and my dad had their Sun and Venus in Scorpio and were Virgo risings. They both also had their South Node in the 6th house in Pisces. When they died, Neptune was in Pisces conjunct their Descendent. My dad and I were connected by his South Node and my Moon and Elizabeth and I were connected by her South Node/Vertex conjunction and my Jupiter/Venus conjunction. When my dad died Venus was conjunct my Chiron in Aries which I believe started a cycle of healing my heart center. When Elizabeth died, Venus was conjunct my dad’s Chiron in Leo.
My dad and I were connected by an emotional bond that was deeply rooted in the past (my Moon conjunct his South Node). My dad and mom divorced when I went away to college after many years of destructive dysfunction. My dad never really emotionally moved on from my mom and it was hard for me understand. I wished so much for his happiness. When he died, I started to work intensely on these heart wounds from childhood. It was like I woke up to the ways I had been stuck in the past, unable to fully love either. It seems that my relationship with Elizabeth was symbolically linked to this journey back to the heart (Jupiter/Venus conjunct her South Node). This journey certainly taught me a thing or two about the power of love. Perhaps this marks some closure, a cycle of sorts. I’m still processing what this means, but I do know that these two events were inextricably linked, and they were both life changing.