How many times do we have a great idea or rush of inspiration, only to find that once the moment has passed, we have no idea how to go about making it happen and, ultimately, let the idea slip into the abyss along with all those other flashes of brilliance?

Kate Asbill with her book, Start Dancin’ and Don’t Stop

This is something I can attest to experiencing many times. Most often, I find that it is the result of lacking a true direction and a like-minded support system. Now, in the era of women supporting women, more and more of us are joining one another to achieve things as a group that might have been impossible alone.  That is a cause that one Artesia woman has already spent many years championing with others one meal, get together, and dance at a time.

Dr. Kate Asbill has spent her entire adult life serving and bringing ideas (her own and others’) to fruition. She is an author, activist, and New Mexico native – proudly calling herself a ‘Jal Gal’. Hers is a story of a life well-lived in service of others. She subscribes to three ways of living: intentional, invitational, and inspirational. In fact, during our time together she uttered each of these words well over a dozen times. 

Each of these tenants has served her well throughout her storied career, beginning as a teacher, later becoming the first female principal in Artesia, and eventually working with the Department of Education promoting the “Inviting Schools” initiative around the United States, as well as internationally. Through that project, she adopted the program’s motto as her own:  Trust, Respect, Optimism, and Intentionality. If you talk to Dr. Asbill for any amount of time, you will quickly realize that she values the notion of inviting and inspiring others above most else. It is very clearly a guiding force in her life and one which she has embodied throughout her various endeavors. She has an incredible zest for life and helping others, especially women. “We need each other – women need each other, so look for opportunities to get together with your friends.” As evidenced by the fact the she frequently invites groups of 12 women into her home for what she calls “Evening Retreats” to have idea-based discussions, bond over home-cooked meals, and just have a good time. Over the years, more than 100 women have attended the gatherings.

Dancing is another grand theme in Dr. Asbill’s life, and she wrote her book titled “Start Dancin’ and Don’t Stop” that is all about helping people live better lives for longer. She says that at the end of her Evening Retreats everyone “dances their troubles away” as a way to connect and share with one another.

Dr. Asbill lives by the notion that one must always open to allowing inspiration to strike in any situation. She says that “there is a lot of good going on behind the scenes in our community and once you put yourself out there, help will come.” Her advice to others who are looking to start something new or address a need in their own community is to have an IDEA:

I – Inspiration

D – Do It

E – Enroll Others in the Vision

A – Adjust as Needed

S – Sustain the Spirit

We often think helping others must come in the form of grand gestures or on a large impressive scale but the simplicity of welcoming a few friends into your home to share a meal and express oneself can be the most helpful, supportive thing one can do for another. Dr. Kate Asbill is a living, breathing example of what she lovingly calls other inspirational women – a Shero. Long before it was in vogue, Kate was supporting other women by bringing them alongside her to accomplish great things, both big and small. She reminded me that it is not difficult to live a purposefully inviting life. “You must intentionally encourage people no matter if it is through texts, a Facebook message, sending cards for birthdays and holidays, or phone calls.” The latter of which seems to be becoming a lost art. Her final thoughts were perhaps some the most inspirational during a conversation was full of important takeaways: “The life you live is the lesson you teach.” May we all live a life that is teaches others a lesson of which we can be proud and leaves an uplifting legacy for those who come next, just as Dr. Kate Asbill has done.

Article originally published in Focus on Artesia 2020 Spring edition.