Sunday, December 11, 2016


We were sitting around the table.  Our tummies were full of turkey and we lethargically looked around at the piles of dishes and bowls of food still needing to be put away.  All the people had left and the soundtrack of A Charlie Brown Christmas was faintly playing in the background.  In the center of the table, propped against an autumn floral arrangement, the turkey's wishbone sat.  I picked it up and proffered it up to William.  I closed my eyes, and he whispered, "Make a wish!"

We've been doing a lot of work lately that has caused me to think a great deal about the future.  As a result, it has given me rise to also think about our current lives and the lives we wish for.  I know that while there are certainly a lot of things on the horizon to be excited for, there are also challenges looming on the horizon.

One of the things that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately is about my aging parents.  How will I help them as they transition into a different part of their lives, but still respect them?  I have this tendency to want to fix things and when I want to fix things, I can get somewhat singleminded.  That focus can seem controlling or overbearing at times.  And I know that it isn't helpful or productive to be this way in a sensitive situation.  It doesn't help that we have all taken somewhat nontraditional paths in life and things like retirement and age-related health issues were both things to think about another day down the road and no one is really prepared.

One of the answers lies in building the business.  The concern there is how to grow it in such a way that retains authenticity and do it in such a way that is holistic, where we can have a semblance of balance.  It's so easy to throw one's self into work and not take advantage of all the many blessings in life or acknowledge the reasons why they're working so hard in the first place.

Business aside, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in life.  What are the things that are most essential to me and how can I make those things happen?  We've been soul searching a lot and really casting out a net into the deepest parts of our hearts and seeing what we come back with.  Some things I'll never really know and are things that I've slowly been letting go of.  It's like clipping the strings that hold down an idea, one at a time, until finally it can float free.

For instance, I'll never really be a parent to human children.  I can try to be a good uncle, a good cat daddy, and a good plant daddy... but we'll probably never have children.  When I was younger, I thought that that was something that was important to me.  I thought that would be a way for our name to live on and for me to right all the things that were wrong in my own childhood.  I tried to tell myself that I'm too selfish or that I wasn't cut out for it, but there was always this thought that it maybe one day it might happen.  But some things are just not meant to be.

Instead of dwelling on what is not and what will not come to pass, I've been trying to envision a realistic portrait of my best life.  That image is not so different than the life I have now.  We truly have good lives.  But that life I can see in my mind's eye is perhaps a little more financially stable and a life that can accommodate some of the bigger challenges ahead.  Right now, we put everything back into the store to help it grow and develop and sometimes that can be scary.  We take risks and work really hard to make sure that those risks are as safe as possible.  It would be nice to have a little bit of a cushion and not quite so much apprehension.  I know we're extremely lucky and so very blessed, but there are times that I have a rock in my stomach, a little leaden pit that feeds off of my worry and dread.  Even though I know it'll all work out, it is hard not give into doubts or fears.

In that vision, I can see another store.  We've been talking about it for awhile.  We'll still keep Allegory Gallery, but we have been talking about another store that has things that are outside of what we carry in our current one.  I've been daydreaming about it and in sleepless hours, I do research and have built up a list of contacts and products and suppliers.  I've researched costs and overheads and planned out how we'd make money... and it is all very doable.  Ultimately, this other store, this future non-human baby, will grow up and help face those challenges lurking on the horizon.  It'll be one of the keys to grow that sense of security.  But it is just out of reach.

With Project: Next Step, it might seem like a short-sighted goal.  Get money, get stuff.  But there really is so much more.  The extra inventory will help us build up our current store enough to be able to expand our vision and do more.  We can consider things like talking seriously with manufacturers and recruit more staff.  We can do bigger retreats and attract more teachers.  We can travel the world and find treasures in person and then tell those stories about those things.  And  we can do more of what we're doing, but on a bigger scale.  We named Project: Next Step what we did, because truly it is the next step.  It is the next step in a long series of steps, but it is a BIG step forward.  It is a step towards the future and our best lives.  It is a step in the right direction.

I've been thinking a lot about the future lately.  I've been dreaming and wishing and gathering all my good intentions and aspirations.  I've also been collecting all my failures and faults, and calling back to me all the energy that was wasted on petty things and past aggressions.  I've been summoning all the false starts, foolish regrets, and future plans that will never be.  I've been digging up the fears and hurtful memories, and I've been taking those things and breaking them up and pressing them down and reshaping them.  I've been transforming them, like alchemy, into something better and brighter.  I've been making them into an arrow, an object of action and possibility.  I have been honing all these things into something that will propel us forward and protect us and keep us safe.

We sat in the kitchen, making wishes and dreaming of better tomorrows.

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