It’s a quiet Thursday morning, nearing the end of my Spring Break. This break has been nothing like I thought it would be. I was anticipating the return home of my oldest son from the residential treatment center where he had been for the previous several months and I was looking forward to him helping me to care for our diabetic dog. Mostly I was looking foward to hearing him play his guitar and see his smile and hear his stories and give him the biggest hug ever. Instead, my dog died and Austin needs to continue treatment away from home. Last Thursday it was like losing two of my greatest loves in one day: Crosby, to the Spirit in the Sky, and Austin to a year-long therapeutic boarding school. I wasn’t ready for another wave of grief, and I don’t know what’s harder: feeling it myself or watching my two younger children move through two more losses?
There’s no answer to that question. They’re both awful. But neither is without hope. I’ve told my kids that we’re becoming pros at this whole grieving thing and that with each passing day we ARE getting through it. This time, instead of seeing their mom as a heap of tears on her bedroom floor, they’re seeing my Strong Spirit (my Andrea Blythe) Rise. This time, I’m using my grief to fuel this creative outlet that you’re reading right now. This time, I’m stepping into the fear of the unknown with courage, trust and faith. Faith in a higher being, yes. But also faith and trust in myself and that the seeds of inspiration that have been planted in my heart are blooming at the right time. It is spring afterall; time for renewal, time for rebirth, time for hope.
And that’s why today I’m Launching Hope.
If you’ve poked around my blog a little bit you may have noticed a link to a website called Trades of Hope. They’re a fair trade company who works with female artisans around the world to help bring them dignified work that will in turn enable them to have more control in the course of their life. I’ve teamed up with them because I have a passion for fair-trade items and to be frank, I can never have enough bracelets or earrings. What I love about Trades of Hope is that each item is directly linked to a designer and the local artisans who create the item. You get to know where the item is made and learn about the problems affecting women in that part of the world. Whether it’s food, clothing or jewelry, it’s always been important for me to know how it’s made and where it comes from (I mean, I have an egg guy. His name is Seth. Maybe one day I’ll have chickens of my own, but for now, I’ll take Seth’s humanely raised eggs).
I don’t know what to expect from my new partnership with Trades of Hope, but I see myself in their stories. I too am a mother who is trying to do the best for my family. The struggles that my family are undergoing aren’t the same as those that Babli, Clara and Roshni face. But, as Brene Brown taught me, comparative grief isn’t healthy. Grief is grief. And Hope is Hope. Whatever you’re going through, it’s your truth and your hardship and it’s no less real because someone else is experiencing something “harder”. Hope, however, is universal. We all hope for a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. For me, Launching Hope is so much more than launching a new business. It’s about courageously stepping into the fear of the unknown and hoping for something better for me and my family as well as for the artisans who I’ll support along the way. One day I hope to travel to meet these artisans, but for now I’ll support them in the small way that I am able from my backyard in Boise, Idaho. If you’d like to support me in my Trades of Hope journey, there’s a link to my Launching Hope party below. And on behalf of myself, Clara, Babli and Roshni, thank you. Namaste.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” — Audre Lorde
Awake my soul
Just before writing today’s Daily Dose, I went on a walk in the foothills around my neighborhood and listened to my “healing” playlist. This song by Mumford and Sons came on and it was a beautiful reminder about spring awakening. As I return to my creative center and write through my pain, I feel like my soul is awakening. Give this beautiful song a listen; I hope it will lift your spirits today!