Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

A change in Trajectory, not in Vision

I live each moment with Joy.
I affect the world around me positively and powerfully,
as I live with confidence and awareness,
motivated by Love.
I surrender each moment, each action to God.
I receive from Him and allow Him to work in and through me
for the betterment of character and community.

Growing up in middle-class America was not without struggle, though I realize that seems incongruous to many. Tears shed, heart broken, faith challenged by a myriad of sufferings I will dispense with at this time. Those sufferings were dim compared to the darkness I let consume me following the loss of our infant daughter, due to an adoption gone wrong. The clear vision I had for my life was blurred by the sediment of self-pity.

However, the firm grip of friends, professionals, and family made me to rise and choose life again. The clarity I thought I once had became even more so, and I was able to identify my Declaration of Decision (similar to a mission statement- see above), and my Core Values: Relationships and Communication. The Declaration embodies all that I hold dear and all that I pursue to continue becoming; to continue progressing within my vision. I have been fortunate to experience absolute delight seeing my vision through to fruition in the work that I do.

Let me rewind a bit. Inspired by my handicapped brothers’ physical and mental impairments, and ensuing, yet arduous, successes, I chose the path of Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist to fulfill my values of Relationships and Communication. Although I had chosen this path in my early 20’s, it fell smoothly in to my vision of self, which I did not write until my late 30’s. I believe that I was keenly aware of these core visions and values all along, so that my career was a perfect fit. Even my first major, which was rock music (piano, singing, song-writing) would have fit well since it’s all about communicating and relating as well, albeit through a very different method.

The reason I was so drawn to working with children with disabilities was not only based on my experience with my brothers. Around the age of 11 I met a young woman unable to walk, speak, or write. Incredibly frustrated, as one can imagine. My heart went out, and I desperately tried to communicate with her during those precious few days. A number of years later, life brought us back around again. She had acquired an electronic communication system, and was pressing buttons which in turn ‘spoke’ for her. What a changed woman! Her darkness was diminished by the light from her soul, now that she was able to communicate her innermost self.

I believe it was my early feminine sensitivities that made me capable at such a tender age to realize that without the ability to be understood we are unable to relate. And if we are unable to relate, we are alone in an ever-diminishing darkness that can only lead to death of self. (Allow me a brief side-bar to express my profound gratefulness to my parents for encouraging me to follow my vision, never questioning my sense of self nor the direction of my dreams.)

Because of the breadth of personal experiences, I was able to realize my specific function within my chosen path. My exploits have included overseas journeys, missions, mountaineering, band-led services, leading speech-language therapy groups, individual speech-language therapies, speaking and teaching opportunities, mentoring, being mentored, and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Through sometimes very painful moments, I came to the realization that, despite many opportunities to do so, my place remains somewhere in the middle of the pack. Although I very much enjoy, and am quite capable of singly holding court, my skills shine when there are prisms around to reflect the light.

As a part of this current experience, we were asked to explain how being a correspondent will help me attain my vision. Well, to be quite honest, I believe this has only fortified my previous findings that I am more myself when in the middle. I have never wanted to obtain a higher degree because I do not have a desire to be an administrator or director. I want to be a therapist. On the floor with the drooling, crying, smiling little person.

Through circumstance I have been forced to stop. I never would have attempted this otherwise. I have to believe it was for a reason, and perhaps will change my trajectory, though not my values or visions. Perhaps my place is to simply help others achieve their vision. I am open to whatever happens next, because I know it will fit within my core values, and that I will only continue to see the miracle of people relating to people, no matter how small.


juliexuan's picture

Cali, your honesty is so

Cali, your honesty is so wonderful :). It sounds to me like the universe has been revealing its plan for you since day one and unlike so many, you've been brave enough to listen. You have a unique perspective into the very concept of what expression is and the severe trauma that results from not being heard. Thank you for sharing that with us in such a powerful way.



kati.mayfield's picture


Dear Michelle,

What wonderful work you do!

What do you mean when you say "I am more myself when in the middle"? I understand that you believe you're at your best when you're working with other people, but do you not recognize yourself as a leader among them? Helping others to speak and find their words makes you a leader, too!

keep writing,


*resolved this year to think twice and to smile twice before doing anything*

Cali gal Michelle's picture

the middle...

Kati- Thanks for your comments- I am humbled. I regret that I did not take more time to edit the article, but I can say that I did my best within the challenges of my current situation.

Anyway, I know that I can lead, am a leader, etc. But that does not mean I have to be up front. It is clear to me now that I should have made a distinction between "Leading" and "Being up front". Although I am able to lead in my various skill sets, my strength is to be the support, encourager, or a part of a leadership group. For example, when 'leading' a group singing event, my skill is to to play the keyboards and sing harmonies next to the front-person, and to provide the fill, back-up, and be the fall-back person. When doing Speech Therapy, my skills lie in doing the therapy on the floor with the child, and not in administration, etc.

I do love to train, to mentor, to speak/teach individuals or groups so that they, in turn, can be better leaders or participants in their areas of expertise.

I hope that answers your question. I helped me process through more specifically what I know about myself and how to explain it.

Thank you so much for reading.

Peace to you-


Let us Hope together-
aka: Cali gal


amymorros's picture

Living Life With Joy

You have an interesting career trajectory!Thank you for sharing your personal vision and letting us know that you are stronger for having survived life's obstacles.


mrbeckbeck's picture

Thank you

Hi Michelle,

I really appreciate seeing your story here. Your honest, open communication surely makes it easy to connect with you and relate (not coincidentally your core values). :)

I know that you have had hurdles along the way to completing this fourth and final VOF application assignment, and I just want to personally applaud your dedication to seeing it through. Thanks for continuing to press on, and finish up soaring high!

From here, I hope that you'll continue to share your joy with the PulseWire world. We need it!

In gratitude,

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Cali gal Michelle's picture

thank you

Scott- Thank you for taking the time to read my article. It is very unlike me to be late, a bit frenzied, etc. But, alas, it is what it is right now. I'm glad I took up this challenge, and look forward to continue meeting others here, and to feed and be fed.



Let us Hope together-
aka: Cali gal


Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative