The name Manifest Identity stands in direct contrast to the better-known concept of “manifest destiny,” which maintains that certain groups are divinely destined to control others through relentless “progress.” Instead, Manifest Identity acknowledges that our collective best future rests in each of us understanding and manifesting our own truest identity—who we were born to be. And that this is how we can discover our calling and our unique, best contribution to making the world a healthier place for all beings. I use my years of experience in publishing and graphic design, and my training as an interfaith chaplain, to help practitioners, consultants, authors, and non-profits find their calling and real-ize who they are.
Since starting Manifest Identity in February 2019, to my great joy, I have found myself helping exactly the kind of client I most hoped to work with: people who have a deeply personal and very important story or calling which they long to bring out into the world. More and more, people are coming to me not with a finished manuscript or a business plan, but with a dream or sometimes even just a restless longing. I love helping people at this tender, vulnerable, beautiful stage, before overwhelm or well-meaning, but less-than-helpful advice drives that sweet longing back underground. If these words touch you in a tender place, you might find Creative Coaching a safe and soulful place to start.
For the past thirty-plus years I have worked in publishing and have designed books, logos, and more recently, websites. For twenty of those years I have worked primarily for several traditional book publishers, as well as a pay-to-publish company. I also have experience of the publishing industry from the author’s perspective, having published two books, one with a traditional publisher and one which I self-published. For the past few years, I have worked as a consultant, helping individuals and small organizations create highest-quality, professionally produced print and digital communication. In 2015 I was ordained as an interfaith chaplain by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, and I added creative coaching and the intentional listening skills of a chaplain to my consulting practice. As my calling to do this work became clearer, Manifest Identity was born and this website was launched in February of 2019.
I graduated from Tufts University in archeology and anthropology in 1978 and worked as a photographer on archeological expeditions for a few years in Sardinia, Montana, Peru, Belize, and Boston, before choosing marriage and a more settled lifestyle. While living in Wareham, Massachusetts, my husband, Stephen Cole, and I received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study cranberry growing on Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts and co-authored The Cranberry: Hard Work and Holiday Sauce (Tilbury House, publisher). After taking courses in graphic design at Massachusetts College of Art, I started work at a design studio in downtown Boston in 1986.
In 1987 Steve and I moved to Belfast, Maine, where I worked as art director for several magazines, including National Fisherman, Maine Boats & Harbors, and WoodenBoat magazines. After the birth of our second daughter, I became a free-lance graphic designer, specializing in book design. In 1999 we moved to Damariscotta, Maine, where we have lived ever since and I continued working for various book publishers, including Down East Books, Church Publishing, and Rowman & Littlefield. I also worked part-time for a local pay-to-publish company for a while.
I am also the author of Doodle-ography Journal doodle-ography.com. I use the journal in workshops with diverse populations, including elders, women veterans, and incarcerated women. A Young Unitarian Universalist’s Doodle-ography Journal is currently in use in Unitarian Universalist children’s religious education programs across the country. (Both are also available at InSpirit, the UUA online bookstore.) Two years ago, I decided to expand into website design and taught myself how to create websites using WordPress, while continuing to work freelance in publishing.
In 2015 I attended a two-year in-person chaplaincy program and was ordained an interfaith chaplain by ChIME, the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. As a community chaplain, I have worked mostly with non-profits, such as The Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast, Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network, and Maine-Wabanaki REACH. I am on the board of the Abbey of Hope, an interfaith cooperation circle based in Portland, Maine. I also designed their website and am editor of the Abbey’s blog, Reflectionary. I am a founding member of People United Against Racism, a local, grassroots, interfaith effort to confront white privilege and systemic racism.
Manifest Identity is for me a fulfilling combination of my professional publishing experience and my training as a chaplain. I am especially interested in working with nonprofits and people-on-a-mission who want help manifesting their message, in service to the world. If that describes you, I hope you will get in touch!