Today I sit—book in hand—reflecting on how this came to be.
The book cover is dressed in white with black and gray lettering. From behind the title a gorgeous horse peers through the word ANIMALS. One eye staring into the depth of my soul. Below this beautiful creature is the name Dr. Steven Farmer—strong and confident. Like an accompanying choir to a lead singer, the names of twelve contributing authors gather below the featured author, twelve amongst the thirty-five that comprise of this book. It is the tenth name of these contributing authors that catches my eye and makes my heart sing—Karen B. Shea.
I sit in wonder how my name appears on the cover of a book with a well-known author and shamanic practitioner, and so many other inspirational writers. Pride and astonishment filter through my being.
As I reflect on the path that brought me to this point, I recall one of many twists and turns. Unlike those seemingly lucky souls who know early on where their life will lead, forging full-steam ahead on what seems like a straight and focused path. For they know their dream, taking all the necessary steps to reach their desired destination and voilà they are living their dream.
The dream of being a writer.
I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a writer. I was much too active and athletic bound to consider sitting still putting pen to paper. It is something that took hold of me as I came into my fullness and the need for expression. I didn’t even write throughout my early career, I actually typed other people’s words. Nature and animals, however, were always a part of my life, for to live without either seems like a life not worth living.
A path full of varied and interesting endeavors and animals.
One day a door opened that lead me through the threshold of owning my own wildlife photography gallery. Not my photographs, but that of world-renowned wildlife photographer, Thomas D. Mangelsen. This experience opened my world up to a deeper understanding of a vast array of animals and meeting inspirational people along the way, such as famed primatologist and naturalist Jane Goodall. Through them I experienced firsthand how one person can make a profound difference to the health and well-being of those that cannot speak for themselves.
The passion for expression and action was firmly planted.
Self-discovery dominated from then on and eventually an unknown animal would awaken my child-like spirit and lead me right into the literary world. This brief encounter, that sparked something deep within me, opened a door of possibilities. Yes, it took a secretive, shy, relatively unknown critter by the name of Clark the Mountain Beaver to birth a passion in me that had nowhere to go but up and out in the same fashion Clark moves about his life in and out of his burrows. Words began to flow and there was no longer anyway of hiding them from view.
Which brings me to present day—book in hand—emotions of all kinds filtering throughout my being. When the call came for authors to submit their stories for consideration for a new book series called Common Sentience by Sacred Stories Publishing, I knew this was the door of all doors that my soul beckoned me to walk through. Now was the time to really step out into the world and be seen. Even though, that which is housed in the human mind tugged at me like a coat caught on a stubborn door handle. But as always, when I find myself caught up on an obstacle, I found the strength to break free from those hindering thoughts and limiting beliefs and take the leap of faith.
When the acknowledgment arrived that my story was accepted, to say I did a happy dance would be an understatement—I was the entire Rockette Chorus Line!!!
I cannot begin to explain what it feels like to hold a book the entire world will see that carries my name so beautifully on its cover. All I can say is when I come down from cloud nine and gain a little more perspective, I’ll be more than happy to write about it!