As I have listened to the September 11th anniversary coverage the past week, I have been deeply connected to the stories. I have been thinking about my own story... Walking into the Graceland University library to use a computer, and seeing the image of the World Trade Center burning on TV. "What a bizarre accident..." I thought to myself. Later I sat alone in the Iowa shack I was renting, and cried as I watched the horrific story unfold on the news. There was nothing sensational or overblown about the coverage... it was a pure scrambling and grasping for answers about what was happening. My heart grew heavy with the weight of the events, and more so for the implications for the future. Hate, fear, grief, struggle, war, revenge, pain, blood, suspicion, divisiveness... I heard a distinct voice from inside that said, "time to step up to the plate". Someone would need to meet the extremes of these difficult times with the same force of energy that carried out these attacks, and all the reverberations of horror it would unleash. A retaliation of love, hope, peace, joy, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, healing...
On the first anniversary of the attacks, I was ready. Our collective response had already dissolved from the unified shock and vulnerability that brought us together as a community. Fear was now dividing us, fraying our shared pain into weapons of sorrow. I challenged my community (anyone who's e-mail address I had) to take a different kind of remembrance... to respond by planting a tree. A political response and action to support beautiful life in the face of our destructive times (I had read E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful earlier that year). I was putting myself out there, learning, planning... working towards better times.
I am writing this now, because I have lost that energy. On the 10th anniversary of an event that changed me (and so much else), I am feeling trapped under the weight of this undertaking... to create a loving response to our broken world.
Why is this a post in my design blog? Finding the energy to move forward, to heal, to grow a beautiful world to be a part of... will take intention. We will need to rely on, and use the tools that we have gathered, the lessons we have learned (often through pain), the knowledge passed down from our ancestors. All of the systems and spaces we are a part of were designed by people just like us... and in many cases there are better designs out there if we choose. We designed our own internal systems for dealing (and coping) with our life experience... nobody is going to fix us. We must do that for ourselves (often with help from others), and if we do... perhaps we will find the energy to stand up for better design in our communities, nation and world.
This is what I want TreeBed Design to be about... working toward "regenerative design" for ourselves and the world we are a part of. My first step will be taking a course that has been on my mind for a number of years called Ecology of Leadership. I hope to use this time (and space of learning) to regain energy and focus for my own path.
This is a path that I hope to share, and by writing this down... I am creating the first steps of intention. It is true that "we must always remember" the major events that create the grief we carry, but it is what we choose as actions that will reflect how we honor those memories. And so I will begin... again.