by Allison Aboud Holzer

When I went to visit my grandmother for her 96th birthday, her first words to me were, “I don’t know how I did it!”Neither do I.You see, she not only raised twelve children in her Beefhide shanty, but she also hand crafted hundreds upon hundreds of quilts of various types of patterns – flower garden quilts, around the world quilts, maple leaf quilts, flag quilts.As we sifted through her photo biography, she explained the process of making each pattern – you had to figure out the color scheme, arrange the shapes in place, pin them together just so, and analyze your progress along the way to avoid careless mistakes. “Grandma, which pattern do you think is the most beautiful?”I asked. “The crazy quilt!!” she exclaimed. She told me that the crazy quilt is made quite differently than all of the others.Instead of envisioning the end product before you begin, you simply start from the beginning and add pieces of fabric one by one as you go along.

My grandmother believed, as do I, against the grains of convention, that sometimes the most beautiful end product, whether that be a quilt, a career, or a lifetime, emerges from a multifaceted and integrative process, rather than a clearly defined, linear path. So it is that my grandmother has inspired me to live in the present moment, where fulfillment resides, and unabashedly follow my intuition around each next turn.

Do you have a hero or mentor who has inspired you to live more fully and with greater happiness and purpose?