This past week unveiled a number of sadnesses that occurred in my community over the past year as friends and colleagues begin to share the burdens they have carried from 2020. It reminded me how many people, colleagues, love ones, friends, relatives are no longer with us as we enter 2021. This leaves so many of us with deep sadness and a need for healing as we move forward through this new year.
Two things occurred to me as I struggled with this sadness. One – for those of you, like me – impatient to finally get this show on the road – make up for lost time and finally get things up and running, we need to remember that many of our colleagues have been through a lot and are going to need space to heal and deal with transitions in their lives. Progress, and the need to meet deadlines needs to be tempered with this reality.
The second thing I’ve reflecting on is how to remember these great people in the work we do, how to make their memories, their legacies a part of what we create. The gaping hole of their loss, the sheer numbers of people who do not join us in this new year forms a large abdomen-sized pitcher of sadness in my body. I struggle to think of what to make of this sadness so that it doesn’t subsume me and the important work I’m here to do. How then do I work with this sadness, the loss, to make work that is more beautiful, to continue the hard work of making this world more abundant, more just, more free? I’ve been thinking about working alongside these treasured souls, continuing their legacies, the beauty they brought to this world and letting their memories accompany us in our lives, in the important work we are doing. So that they can rest in peace knowing that we continue on, continuing our march forward in the name of all of those we’ve lost and for those who will come long after we are gone.
For me this means whole heartedly dying fabric, cutting out pattern pieces for my friends and loved ones, on quiet afternoons surrounded by the spirits of those who came before me. It means finding company and community in the hard work of smoothing out the process of adapting the pattern for the diversity of body types represented by my friends and loved ones, with the realization that this is not just in service of me and my dream, but a part of the legacy of those who have come before me, for this moment and for the future. Small acts of love and progress.
Go, fight, win.
Kahlil Gibran on Joy & Sorrow
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
[Excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran]