I have this notion that it is my job to be truthful, to illuminate the dark and the light in my own life so that it might be helpful to someone else.
In the 12 step rooms, they refer to it as sharing your "experience, strength and hope." That bit of indoctrination has been seminal for me. It is all I have to offer.
(A pause here. My fingers stopped typing. I took a big inhale and exhale. This next part is a little hard.)
I had my bankruptcy hearing today with the U.S. Justice Department. It sounds bad. But in truth, the hard stuff already happened. It is akin to the moment I finally decided I needed to get sober. Walking into a 12 step meeting was merely punctuation to the long and grim sentence I had been crafting for years. This feels the same. It is a truthful and examined expression of where I have been so that I may move into the future with more grace.
My entrepreneurial spirit got caught up in the cross hairs of a changing economy. The amount of debt I had accumulated to start and grow a business became unacceptable and untenable. I know many of my entrepreneurial friends know the drill. You often don't get paid in order to pay others. And you borrow a little to make it through. And over time, that little can become a lot. Especially when the bottom falls out of the credit market.
I feel lucky that I was able to leave a business intact and to help more than 10 people get their start to opening their own studios in Cincinnati and beyond and scores more find employment in a field they were passionate about. I feel lucky that I was able to work as an activist with girls and teens. I feel lucky that I was able to publish and travel and collaborate. I feel lucky I was able to see my son graduate from college and take on exciting adventures of travel and service.
I wish I could have make it work better financially. This time, I will be more careful and more accountable to all 360 degrees of wellness.
But honestly, I hope to be no less optimistic about the future and no less engaged in movement, writing, collaboration and activism.
I have a deep appreciation for the structure of wellness as it relates to the body and mind. I know what it takes to stay well. I get those practices. I am adding new ones to my life that assure me financial wellness too. It is also a practice. And it takes mindfulness.
When I was working at MOCA in Cleveland more than a decade ago, the artist Lee Mingwei exhibited origami dollars which you could take so long as you replaced it with something you felt to be of equal or greater value. Mine is pictured above. I took this dollar in exchange for a photograph I had taken from a series I did where I took snapshots in the space and time where I might be feeling inclined to have a panic attack. It was my first foray into expressing myself creatively (as opposed to drunkenly or sleepily or irritably!) I feel like it was a fair trade.
I am working on being as thoughtful as I was with my Lee Mingwei origami dollar sculpture with each monetary exchange I make in the future. I will be of service and I will be fair. I will be accountable.
And there will be enough.