Dear Springhouse community,
I want to live in a world where we protect wildflowers.
Let me explain.
Every day I drive on Bethlehem Church Road to get to Springhouse. It is about a 10-minute stretch of country road, bordered by green pastures and all kinds of birds flying overhead (including the red-winged blackbird, one of my closest companions.) On that drive, I pass by a sign on the road that says “Wildflowers. Do not cut.” I notice it every time I drive by.
This is not a hand-made sign, where someone just scratched a few words on a piece of cardboard, and stuck it in the ground. This sign took some effort. It is designed and made with care, and placed solidly in the ground with intention. The sign is placed right where the county mowers cut the grass each summer; they can’t miss it.
I want to live in a world where it is the norm to take that kind of time to protect wildflowers on the side of the road. This sign isn’t placed in the sign maker’s yard, where the person is the only one who can see the wildflowers. This person wasn’t out to just protect their own space. They cared about the wildflowers on the side of the road – where many people drive by and see them. They also just cared about the wildflowers, regardless of what humans see or don’t see them. They spent their time and money sticking a sign in one small patch of the roadside; just for the wildflowers.
I woke up a long time ago to the gift of my life. Many of you know the story. Through addiction, and through a cancer diagnosis at a young age, I have been well aware of the gift of my life. Death will do that to you. I also have been well aware that though it is every living being’s right to thrive, most of us are not. I am also aware that, tragically, we are consciously and unconsciously creating the conditions for some to not thrive. I long to live in a world where we take better care of ourselves, each other, the wildflowers, and all that is living.
That is our vision at Springhouse – a vision that inspires us to act on our mission to practice and share Sourced Design to create a culture that takes better care of Life. This design was not born from ideas – it was born from practice. We know that to live in a world where all life thrives, we must change the way we live. To do that, we must have places and people to practice with, and maps to guide us. We know that to create a culture that thrives, we must start with ourselves. There is not one principle or practice within Sourced Design that we have not practiced, and continue to practice ourselves, as a staff and Board. This does not lead to perfection or some kind of utopia; far from it. It leads to vitality – which is all that life has in store for us.
We know that we live in a time where the norm is not putting signs out to protect wildflowers. We know that for the most part, we are actively not taking care of ourselves, each other, and this planet. Every day I ask myself, how can I take better care of my own life, those around me, and the place I live with? When I was younger, in all honesty, I sought perfection. I didn’t know I was enough as I am. Now, I seek to know myself more fully – especially the places where more care is needed. I have learned over the years to protect the beautiful places within me and stay attentive to where I continue to cut my wildflowers down (so to speak.) This has taken the support of many people and places to stick with this practice.
We know that culture building will take many, many generations. We can create a culture that thrives, one person at a time. Sourced Design guides us on our way, one day at a time; it was guiding us before we called it that. To know it, we mostly just stuck with our experimental work, paid attention to the patterns, and took time to articulate it. We did this so we could share it with the many who are as inspired by Springhouse as we are.
We have set our goals for the next five years and they mean something to us. We want to continue to strengthen the example of our school (both the teen and adult programs are now enrolling!). We want to ensure that we are sustainable in every way. We plan to have at least 5 cultural design partners by 2028 and were accepted into the Harvard Scaling for Impact program to help us get there. We plan to strengthen our network and better serve our alumni (to continue to create a more vital culture, we need consistent support.). And our fifth strategic goal is an exciting one – more to come next month – but it is certainly not what I expected and makes perfect sense. Stay tuned.
For now, we strengthen the home base of our school, where we practice Sourced Design, and we strengthen our relationships locally and globally with those who share our vision – including those who want to practice the design in their communities and places. If you want to come celebrate with us, we invite you to join us on May 27th at our Annual Gathering.
We have exciting news coming in May. We soon will have a completely updated website. If you haven’t already, please do share this newsletter with others, as this is how we grow culture.
May we all take better care of this precious Life within and around us. We don’t have to know a person or a wildflower to love them. Life is a gift, no matter how it shows up, and it is up to us to take care of it.
With love for the wildflowers and more,