“The politic of sharing is intertwined with a practice of caring – caring for oneself and for all of the other relationships that form the community, the nation, and the worlds that are overlapping and continually generated in time and space.”Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Hi, everyone! Your 5’ storyteller and freedom dreamer here! We’re back!
Here comes the sun, spilling over the clouds and conducting a small orchestra of birds on every corner to cue in Spring. The Jays, Sparrows, Robins, and Wrens are all tuning and rehearsing their songs. Their sweet, familiar, and much anticipated songs calling us to wake up and witness nature begin again. Threshold squad is on the same wavelength. We’re shaking off the time change, back online, and in the office dusting off our work instruments from our month away and practicing on getting back into rhythm for this coming season.
Last month was our second quiet February. That means no outside meetings, and our scope of work is to give our attention to what needs repair, release, and restoration in our internal and external worlds, outside of our paid work. Our philosophy is that if we are not well, our work and collaborations will eventually suffer. We need to model the world that we want to create! Here’s our blog post from last February, sharing learnings, reflections, and growing pains.
We intentionally take this time to signal that we are breaking away from the transactional and toxic productivity models of worth. Capitalism will never say “Honey, you’ve done enough, rest, and take a moment for yourself.” We acknowledge that it is a privilege to care of oneself, ideate, rest, and leisurely engage in projects that we enjoy for any amount of time let alone a month. What we share below are the beginning steps of how our team has been gathering ourselves whole. May they resonate, invite introspection, reinvigorate, and show that healing in public is as awkward, messy, confusing, endearing, and magical as children.
This February, I began to understand what quiet meant. It doesn’t have to mean going completely dark. I wasn’t completely “off”, and my body was not being pulled by the strings of time restraints, and meetings. I learned that I strongly prefer lunch dates over other meeting modalities and am grateful for the accessibility of meeting virtually. This time allowed me to move at a pace that felt easeful, I did what I could when I could. I was able to tend to the relationships that get put on the back burner when I am working and gave my body permission to guide my time.
Most days I am left feeling that I could be doing better at work. At the same time it feels like the only thing I’m good at. This month I tried to settle in, not worrying if it is good only attempting to show up for myself and my life. This February, I just missed Threshold.
I live by my calendar, my personal life and my work life are interconnected and when I wasn’t working, I was forgetting! I forgot to pay a bill:) almost forgot that my daughter had a sleepover birthday party to go to. It was a stumbling start to my first quiet February, and it all worked out, and gave me good information about what was being prioritized.
The highlight of the month was having time to nurture my friendship and relationship with my husband Dru. We took a trip to Moab, Utah. The airline lost Dru’s luggage, and the temperatures were below freezing each day. We let go of our previous idea of what our trip would be and enjoyed the simple things. We ate well, sat out in a hot tub under red cliffs in 19-degree weather. Instead of going out and drinking at night, we snacked on popcorn and watched movies in our hotel room. We went rock/crystal shopping and had our first couples massage at a local spa.
The pièce de resistance was spending the day at Arches National Park! The park is bordered by the Colorado river and is the site of 2,000 sandstone arches, spires, balanced rocks, and arch “windows” that are believed to have been formed some 300 million years ago. We got out at several pull out stops and stood silent attempting to wrap our minds around the beauty and divinity of nature. We felt small, present, and connected to nature and each other.
Lastly, I missed Threshold.
This February felt very different from last year. I almost hit a wall, coming back from break in January to go quiet in February, needing to bring things to a good pausing place to be out again. Personally, there was so much stuff from last year still weighing on me that I was still carrying and still am. We shut down for the month, and I was on a flight home to the Bahamas for a wedding and to visit my mom. I never fully felt like I had arrived and was present as I would have liked. Home felt rushed I was carrying so much anxiety and I did not know how to navigate through that. It was a tough February and having the option to work felt nice, knowing that I would not be interrupted by external meetings and asks. I read Radical Friendship and spent quality time with people I love. I was glad to come back and be back with the team.
I spent the beginning of February processing our healing circle and attending meetings for us, so that my team could rest and reset. Personally, I am a part of a sisterhood that has just turned five and we gathered last month. I facilitated a practice from Radical Friendship, that gave us questions we could utilize to asses our relationships and learnings as a group. We also had a session with Leticia Nieto, which I’m still processing. She was offering a framing about each of our lives as seasons and that we can be in different seasons in different parts of our lives. In my personal life, I feel like I’m in winter and when it comes to Threshold, I’m in summer. Learning how to hold those nuances is something I’ve been wrestling with.
Last February I spent more time focusing on moving and healing my body, whereas this February was centered around leaning into family and my internal work. Trips to the children’s museum, lots of therapy, dozens of hours working the land (I’m kind of an expert in tackling colonizing blackberries now), reading books, listening to podcasts, exploring the forest by following birdsong (including the drumming of a woodpecker that Moses, my son, believed must be a giant animal), and spending time caring for and learning from our animals. I had the space to make a solo trip down to Portland to have long-overdue, meaningful conversations with my mom, dad, and brother. I really pushed myself to ask who I am—who I want to be—outside of my labor. I was a mom. Not a weekend mom, vacation mom, lunch-break mom, or school-break mom. The mundane activities that this time allowed were truly a gift.
As I return, I’m still leaning into how I’m being asked to evolve, what I need to shed, and how I can better support myself (and let others support me). I came back ready and excited to reengage with our team and our partners – absolutely grateful that this is the team I was coming back to.
My first February, and I made lists of books and courses to fill my days for direction towards unlocking a little more freedom in myself and in my relationships. I made it through two books and a few podcasts and realized that being busy was not going to lead me anywhere that I hadn’t been before. So, I put the direction manuals down and let the ocean hold me and let the distractions of my world go quiet. I found purpose and comfort in rocking my friends’ children to sleep on my chest, while listening to the rain. I let grief lay her head on my lap and we listened and watched birds together.
Throughout the month, I had many moments of anger, shame, and confusion because I had this time to choreograph as I wanted, and I did know how to “do it right.” I always tell people that I got the Threshold Philanthropy job because my father went to bat for me on the other side, so I really need to be grateful and not screw this up (not a very supportive story). My father passed away in July of 2020, my job at the time had a five-day grief leave policy. Some workplaces have less days, and some have more, either way, I’ve been grieving him ever since.
We know that it’s possible for all of us to receive what we need to live healthful and dignified lives. Before colonialism and capitalism, many of our traditional societies had different calendars, where there were many intentional days when no one worked. The practice of sharing what you have, so that no one goes without was the way of life. Capitalism is young and can be uprooted a little at a time. At Threshold, we are noticing and tending to our patterns that perpetuate a burn out model of work. We understand that more capitalism means the destruction and seizing of natural resources, minerals, land, water, fuel, and people’s autonomy.
We do not owe capitalism ANYTHING. Especially Black and Brown bodies of the world! Our work is to continue to uncover what capitalism tries to hide. Rest is a necessary part of life. Nature, humans, and the planet need many moments of down time to regenerate and adapt to the changes in life that are always occurring. If enough of us bring that truth along with structures that bolster rest and reflection, that’s one way we will create life affirming modalities, antidotes, and medicines for our collective healing and wellness. Let us model ourselves after the first flowers of Spring, soak up only the nutrients you need, grow through the dirt, towards the light, warmth, and our full potential.
“All world-endings are not tragic. There are some world-endings that I am comfortable with…to avoid the worst-case scenarios now predicted by global scientific consensus, it is necessary to have the courage to envision the end of this world, that is, the world that white supremacy built.”Robyn Maynard