What is so utterly invisible
not the wind,
not the inside of a stone.
And yet, how often I’m fooled.~ Mary Oliver
Dear Springhouse community,
Life is a gift. We are here on this planet for such a short time. In a culture that avoids death, it is easy to forget this and live in the illusion that we have all the time in the world. Of course, life is eternal, but our human lives are limited. When we remember this, life becomes a gift; not only to us, but to those around us.
I have spent more of my life being aware of my death than not. A cancer diagnosis in my twenties will do that. When I was a chaplain in the hospital and hospice in my late 20s, my supervisor, Sister Lou, wrote in my end-of-year evaluation that I had gained wisdom beyond my years facing a life threatening illness so young, and I had also lost some of my innocence. As burdensome as that diagnosis has been, and continues to be, I am grateful. I never would have lived the life I have without that wake up call.
At around 26 years old, that wake up call became a call to service. I mentored, danced, sang, created, and had courageous conversations with many people and communities all around the world. I have been writing about my journey for just about that long. This year I wrote a book about those experiences, including our story at Springhouse and that of the design we practice, Sourced Design. It is available now for pre-order.
Not only did I write it, we are publishing and printing the book through Sourced Press– our new initiative.
As much as we are excited about bringing the old tradition of letterpress to our community, we are even more excited about furthering our mission of sharing the message that this life is a gift and it is up to us to take care of it in a much wider way. Our mission is to practice and share Sourced Design through education, media, and a global network. We practice the design at the school. We spread our message through our publications. We grow culture through a global network of people who want to take better care of Life together. We serve this mission with a lot of devotion, tears, laughter, prayer, and courageous conversations.
After all of these years of practice, there is one thing I know to be true: When a person’s life, community, or organization is designed in a way that makes taking care of Life its top priority, thriving is the result. To thrive, Life needs less hindrance and more support. To live the gift of this life fully, the design of our lives and places must take care of the vulnerability that is part of coming alive. Sourced Design supports us in taking care of Life – starting with our own. We know we must choose this on our own, but we must create a new way of living together.
We have so much to celebrate. Our Annual Gathering and Book Launch Immersive Art event is right around the corner. Our first book is for sale and we are seeking at least five Sourced Design partners by 2028. We are enrolling in our high school for 13-18 year olds and in our cultural design program for adults.
We couldn’t have gotten to our 10th year without you. In some ways, it feels like we are just getting started. We are serious about our vision and mission and we are ready to take even greater risks in service to the vision of living in a world where all life thrives. Please share Springhouse and Sourced Design with others, as this is how we grow culture. We hope to see you in May at our year-end events.
Gratefully and with love,