Hibernation, belonging, blossoming

It’s spring, it’s about to be summer, change is in the air, as always. It’s wet, there are new spring smells and breezes and there’s the long light, and the pandemic is not over, and we have not recovered from it, but some of the rules are changing, and I’m thinking about how all of this relates to our work, and how our work is always in relationship with what is happening around us. It’s all got me thinking about hibernation, and belonging, and grief and care, and blossoming.

Though the pandemic is not over, there have been changes to the covid protections that limited our time with each other, and our time in person with participants. We are seeing more of each other, and I think I am happiest on days when many of us are around the office. When there is vibrancy in the space.

Staff have experienced the pandemic’s limitations deeply. It has had profound effects on their abilities to do their work in reassuring and empowering ways. Reductions in the vital relationship-building times with participants that has always grown out of simply being together. Carrying the heartache connected to the question “if pre-pandemic connection had still been possible, could some crises have been averted?”

It’s nice to think of some qualities of this time as hibernation, as a hibernation that we can come out of. We’re so ready to re-open some collaboration that has been a little dormant.

IJC is growing and its four programs are getting to know each other in new ways. Change can be hard and confusing and there has been some fear along the way, and it has been real, real busy. It’s nice to think about how growth happens in all directions. How we can grow down, rooting, and grow all around, merging with community around us?

Touchstone is moving towards a new sense of belonging, and in this process, I am thinking: what are the nicest ways to come out of this hibernation, and into good collectivity? How we can stay slow while also keeping up, so that we meet what is happening, while remembering to tend to each other and our shared values.

Like we know and practice in our work, we don’t meet fear with fear, we meet fear with presence. And, we know that presence makes space for belonging and we know that belonging is a place from which we thrive. These days, it is giving me energy to be curious about what is ready to blossom out of these quieter, distanced times,

There is this poem, by Ikkyū Sōjun that is just right:

If you break open the cherry tree,
Where are the flowers?
But in the spring time, see how they bloom!

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