I’m curious about circles and spirals today. In nature, they are everywhere. In life, they are everywhere.
When my first daughter was born, I couldn’t bear to leave her to go off for a job, so my first husband and I bought an old church in Piedmont, SD. The day they had the last church service we went in that afternoon and began pulling the pews out in order to create The Red Apple Day Care Center. We put bathrooms in the confessionals (seemed appropriate somehow) and a kitchen in the choir corner. The rest was just wide open space. I painted murals on the walls, installed new carpet, and began running my first business.
My plan was to eventually create a community gathering place where people could come and learn about parenting, relationships, care of the earth and each other . . . . I put a community bookshelf in the entryway, had a few speakers, but eventually the care of small children occupied every moment of my day. That was in 1979.
Now, the circle has come around once again. We just rented a classroom space in an office building in Bemidji, MN this time. I didn’t want to wait until I could build a space on our land. Construction is painfully slow when it is just two old folks doing the work.
But I still have the same plan. To offer groups and classes that help people come together to share ideas, to make plans, to support one another on the path. Since we signed the lease, I have been dreaming my way into that space. I don’t yet know what all we will offer. It begins with talking circles and youth radio and expands to where I am doing the work I love with constellation work, NLP and building strategies and structures that support growth. I love working with creative people who have an eye on the future.
We are calling the new place The Many Kites Learning Center. The “many kites” has a double meaning for us. One of the
first international conferences on constellation work was titled “Many Kites Flying in the Same Wind.” I loved the image of all of us carried by the same wind, the same life force, but carried in many different directions by that force. It goes nicely also with “we are all related—mitakuye oyasin.”
The name Many Kites also reflects Milt and I personally. Sometimes we are so adrift in our ideas—we move from one creation to the next like others change shoes. It can be crazy-making sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We like nothing better than to sit and dream over a nice creamy cup of coffee (or a late night bourbon and water). Every day is fresh and new—and we keep it that way on purpose because we get bored too easily
Milt and I do what we do imperfectly. Things lie on the ground too long, get abandoned too easily, get lost in piles of paper or files on the computer. We are so imperfect that it reaches a near perfection in some odd way. We bumble and stumble forward not really knowing what we are doing but always knowing why we are doing it but we do it on purpose. In the meantime, we have lives and a body of work that is nothing short of amazing to both of us.
I guess that is what I want the Many Kites Learning Center to teach. That it is okay to be a learner, that we will get it wrong and we will get it right, that we are always moving in circles and spirals toward some undefined end—and that is okay. Ideas are worth birthing (and killing off) and we should care less what others think of us and more of what we think of ourselves. And when other people don’t like what we are doing, we can shrug it off with a simple, “F__k them if they can’t take a joke.”
This Sunday I will be 59—just one year shy of 60. I’m having a birthday bonfire supper bash. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to bringing new friends together with my wonderful siblings. Life is good. I don’t look much like that young mother in The Red Apple Day Care Center with her new baby and her new business in 1979—but I haven’t changed much either.
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