In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.

~ Deepak Chopra

Dear Springhouse community,

I hope this finds you well. We celebrated the end of our 2nd trimester here at Springhouse this week, and are preparing to close out the year with a lot of celebration and reflection. We have learned a lot this year, as we do every year, and I am excited to keep exploring what is possible when it comes to building life-giving, needed, and lasting traditions in education. 

If we are to know what is possible, we must be willing to change and try new things. Change is exciting for some – unsettling, or even frightening, for others (or often all three at once!). When I keep my eye on a clear vision and mission amidst the change, that focus does not take all of those feelings away, but it makes the change more meaningful in service to something lasting. This is true in my own life and in our shared work at Springhouse. Whether personal or in a community, the vision and mission are like the North Star that guides sailors on their journey. This star is powerful – not because it is the brightest star in the sky, but because it moves less than the other stars. It does move, but it moves less. It stays true to its place. When I keep my eye on my own personal vision and mission, I make decisions with more clarity. I am less pulled around by the fearful voices inside and outside of me. This is true for us at Springhouse, too. 

I love the song “The Eye” by Brandi Carlile. In it she sings: You can dance in a hurricane. But only if you’re standing in the eye. In my early 20s, I moved to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer – the summer where Hurricane Bob hit the island. Trees were uprooted, buildings were flooded…it was a mess. As we all took shelter, there came a moment where we knew we were in the eye. When the radio announcer confirmed it, I hopped on my bike and headed to the ocean. The 20-foot waves I encountered before me were a sign that the storm was still with us. After experiencing such strong gales earlier, I noticed immediately that there was very little wind at all. The eye didn’t take away the storm – it was in the center of it. I stood at the ocean’s edge, in the storm, but very much at peace. The storm and the peace were there at once. My orientation, or my focus, was toward wonder and respect for the storm. I stayed only a few minutes and quickly headed back to shelter.

I had a similar experience as I faced a lymphoma diagnosis this year. As I sat in the radiation oncology waiting room, facing lymphoma for the second time in my life, I chose to focus on the power of Life – even in sickness and when faced with the possibility of death. It felt like standing in the presence of those 20-foot waves. The calm was there, and the waves of fear were there, too. My mission is to orient toward Life, make responsible choices, and be of service. My vision is the liberation of Life in all forms. Holding onto that center was how I made it through that day and continue to make it through a life that includes lymphoma. When I shared this with my doctor, she stood up and danced. I jumped up, and together we danced in the eye of my hurricane. 

When I hold onto a vision and mission that is true, no matter how strongly the wind blows, what is true stands and gets even stronger. Springhouse regularly chooses to dance (literally and figuratively) in the eye of the hurricane of a dominant culture that is not thriving. We have experienced strong winds of support, resistance, and change over the past ten years. I have learned two important lessons through my time at Springhouse. First, the more something fundamentally changes, the stronger the winds of resistance are. Education, as we know it today, has not changed much in its purpose or its practice. Education is rigidly defined – and has been for centuries – making change in this field treacherous, needed, and life-giving. This leads to my second important lesson learned: We need a strong vision and mission to orient us in our shared work and give us strength when the hurricane comes. They serve as the center point, the North Star, as we iterate, reflect, and iterate again. It is through this process of iteration and reflection that we build lasting traditions in education that lead toward cultural renewal. 

The Springhouse vision has not changed over the years. It has always been about cultural renewal. The Springhouse mission has not changed either. It has always been to fundamentally transform the purpose and practice of education. But things do change at Springhouse. They must if our mission is to fundamentally transform education. Change is a part of the journey at Springhouse, but change is not the center – a thriving world is. We choose to move toward that vision by fundamentally transforming education as we know it. One day at a time, together.

We are excited about what is ahead of us. The Springhouse staff are the most dedicated and determined people I know. Our board is generous and strong. We are ready and committed to serving in the field of education for the long haul. We have spent the entire year articulating and honing our 5-year strategic plan. We will use this plan – along with our vision, mission, and values – to guide our way through the strong winds we know we will continue to face. Here is what we plan to work toward in the next five years with more details coming soon:

  • A more intergenerational, diverse, and vital local and global learning community 
  • A sustainable and accessible economic plan with the support of those working in the field of community capital
  • A network of vitality-centered intergenerational learning communities beginning with five partners by 2029
  • Greater environmental accountability
  • A compelling narrative that we effectively share through our print shop and in other ways

As always, thank you for your trust in the vision and mission, and thank you for your participation. If you would like to support this work consistently for the long haul, I invite you to check out our invitation to become a partner. We’d love to have you with us in that way.

With love and appreciation,


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