Reflection and Refraction

Rebecca Armen Lyman, Principal and Cofounder, The Garrigan Lyman Group

After 14 years, my final Seattle WPO Chapter meeting was the last Thursday of October. I flew to Maui shortly after the meeting, and as I sat overlooking the ocean between Maui and Molokai, I saw the most miraculous rainbow—end-to-end, beautiful, color-full spectrum, arcing through the rain clouds and off the sun. Rum and tonic aside, it felt like an almost magical manifestation of my journey with the Seattle Chapter of the WPO.

Rainbow: an arc or circle that exhibits in concentric bands the colors of the spectrum, and that is formed opposite the sun by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in raindrops, spray, or mist
I am (or was) the last remaining founding member of the chapter, along with Mary Jane Pioli and Christy Martin, our wonderful co-facilitators. In 2001, the Seattle reception for new members was just several days after 9/11, and the world was full of a new uncertainty. Marsha Firestone joined us by video conference because she was unable to fly out of NYC. What did this mean to the future? How would this affect our businesses? Then, more than ever, I felt I needed a forum to test ideas, to get support, and to ask questions. It took a while to get the chapter on stable footing, but soon a group of amazing women was assembled, and together we laughed, cried, admired, validated, commiserated, nurtured, listened, and learned from one another. We saw ourselves reflected in each other’s eyes, and that reflected truth gave us the courage to go on no matter how many clouds were on the horizon.

Reflection: an image that is seen in a mirror or on a shiny surface; something that shows the effect, existence, or character of something else
Five years ago, I was in the first meeting of the Platinum Chapter IV, and I shared that day with the amazing Kathy Long Holland and an unbelievably talented group of women. These meetings added something different to my personal and business journey, and every quarterly meeting has taught me something new to try: it might be a different way to tackle a challenge, or a bolt of insight about making choices and taking control of those choices.
I had truly reached that pot of gold—an embarrassment of riches—with my local and national chapters. September came around again, and this year, after much consideration, I chose to vacate my Seattle Chapter seat and allow another woman on her journey to have that privilege. Oh, I am still a Member-at-Large and a Platinum-IV member, so I haven’t gone far, but my journey has refracted along another pathway, as the challenges grow and change in their shape and velocity.

Refraction: reflection from a straight path undergone by a light ray or energy wave in passing obliquely from one medium (as air) into another (as glass) in which its velocity is different
So just as the raindrop refracts the light of the sun’s rays to make a rainbow, so my life has been colored by my experience in the WPO. I want to say thank you and celebrate the gift that is the WPO. I hold Marsha, Camille, Kirsten, Mary Jane, Christy, Kathy, and all my WPO sisters in great appreciation. We are all on a lifelong journey, and we will pass through many mediums, many prisms. For me, the WPO has helped light the way.

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