Omkari Williams is a woman you should know.
When you head to her website, these are the first words you read/see:
We need the stories of women. All women – black, white, and every hue in between. We need the stories of women entrepreneurs, women who work in the home, female doctors, garbage collectors, school bus and truck drivers, and all the other jobs that we do which is all jobs.
We need the stories of American women, Polynesian women, European women, African women, Hispanic women, Asian women, Indigenous women – God knows we need those stories which connect us so deeply to mother Earth. No matter your origins, we need your story.
We need the stories of women who are straight, in the LGBTQ community, or none of the above. Stories from women who are on the right, left, center, or totally apolitical.
We need these stories because our stories, women’s stories, are the stories of more than half the world. Without our stories decisions are made with half the information, half the wisdom.
She’s right of course. We SO need the stories of women…and we need to learn to know, tell, and love our own. Which is exactly what Omkari is all about in her latest creation, The Playbook.
I’m honored to be one stop of many on her Virtual Book Tour.
I asked her a series of questions about The Playbook, in an effort to better understand it (and her) and to help her in spreading the word:
How did The Playbook come to be?
It arose out of conversations with clients who wanted more in-between our sessions and friends who kept asking me more about coaching in and of itself. I sat down to write a quick cheat sheet and it evolved into The Playbook. Looking back, it is not at all surprising that I would write it. I’ve always been someone who likes to know how to do things for myself. I love having access to the wisdom of teachers and mentors, but I also want to be able to take control of my own learning process. The Playbook combines both of these together and serves as my how-to manual for my life…and gratefully, for other women, as well.
What have you learned about yourself in the creation of The Playbook?
I learned the extent of my tenacity. This project spanned a few years. I started and stopped a bunch of times, either because I hit a wall or life threw things at me. Somehow, though, I always came back. I was determined to finish, even when I wasn’t sure that I would do anything more than give it to the clients and friends who inspired me in the first place. I also learned even more about my love for speaking about story, about the power and place of story in our lives. And as you know, I’m especially keen on the stories of women, because our stories are not shared enough and are chronically undervalued which has a deeply harmful impact on society. It is my hope that The Playbook might offer much-needed healing…just as it has to me and my own story.
How has acknowledging and naming your own stories invited you into a redeemed and strengthened one for yourself?
When I was writing The Playbook, I was with my then-husband, living on 50 acres in upstate New York. It was beautiful and absolutely not the place I needed to be or the marriage I needed to be in. It took the diagnosis and surviving of cancer for me to realize those truths. Owning that story, and being willing to share it was the beginning of owning other hard stories in my life. Cancer was the catalyst that in many ways, served as impetus to write The Playbook. And though I couldn’t have anticipated it, it’s content and creation led me to realize what I’d long denied: my marriage wasn’t working and I needed to leave. Eventually, I also acknowledged that I’m gay. Now I’m married to a wonderful woman and we have a life that we love. I don’t expect that most women who read and work through The Playbook are going to have the massive realizations I did, but I am profoundly hopeful that in telling my story (which The Playbook has enabled) I can invite the kind of awareness and change that enables a life filled with meaning and joy.
You cover lots of topics/categories in The Playbook. Which ones are dearest to your heart? Why?
Home is one I love because I am a nester, always have been. I need grounded space. In truth, looking at this in very particular and practical ways within The Playbook felt like creating “home” right there on the pages – and inviting my readers to the same. My other favorite is Spiritual Life. I have spent a lot of my life actively exploring my spirituality – having lived in a meditation ashram for three years and coming from a family that wasn’t into religion or things spiritual at all. We all yearn for an experience of wholeness, of being complete. We want to feel that who we are is enough, to know that we are seen, and heard, and loved. This is the Spiritual Life. And when we find and experience it, it is Home, as well.
I hope you’ll consider buying a copy of The Playbook for yourself and/or as gift for others. It’s beautiful – in content and design. It’s like a journal/workbook/guide that inspires, challenges and guides. And bonus! It includes coloring pages: trees that are the your envisioning the major areas of your life. PURCHASE TODAY. LEARN MORE about Omkari and her beautiful work in the world.
To read more from Omkari’s Virtual Book Tour and learn even more about The Playbook, here are dates/locations that have preceded me and are yet to follow: