This is 2 weeks late, but the sentiment is still the same. I sat down at the end of 2016 to review all that I created, an array of images, flower arrangements, interiors, classes and more. Forming new friendships, business relationships and finding a new home, shaping a new life in the Bay Area. 2016 with all its challenges and at times disappointing results actually was a pretty productive time. Mostly though I take away the truth that I am still a creator. Even in lean times, I am productive and creativity flourishes.
For many weeks after the election I found myself obsessing about the future and compulsively checking the news. I was unable to focus on much else, reverberating with fear and sorrow. Yet, somewhere in that darkest sorrow, I remembered a Christmas song from my childhood home in Cleveland, OH. One Google search led to another as I looked for the lyrics to the song and discovered news reels from Cleveland in the turbulent 60’s. You have to understand that my family and especially my father, Paul Younger (a Baptist minister and civil rights leader) was on the front lines of the fight for desegregating the schools in Cleveland at that time. He died in an auto accident in 1969 when I was 13. Over the years I occasionally looked for evidence of his/our history on the web to no avail. Yet this time I found a Youtube video of him marching in a demonstration. And then the holy grail, an audio recording of him testifying before the Civil Rights Commission in 1966. This was so powerful a gift as I had not heard his voice or seen even a glimpse of him in motion in nearly 50 years. It was as if he spoke from the grave to remind me of the fortitude and leadership needed to face our current struggles, the same ones he was addressing in 1966. Hearing his voice reminded me of my heritage and a trust in our own agency to shape our lives, even in the darkest of times. I am reminded that there is much more space and freedom of movement in a creating stance rather than a reactive one. Creating is open ended with infinite possibilities, while reacting is already defined in response to something else. Creating is the answer to empowerment, so I will use my experience as a creator to cultivate agents of change one person at a time, to encourage others to create, to build a positive future one choice at a time. We are the change we need to see in this world.
As I dive into 2017 full force, I bring the spirit of joy in creating to all I am doing. What do you want to see manifest this year? How can I help you realize it?