As we hold space to reflect and remember the cycle of time, it’s tempting to label what happened this year and how we feel about it as “good” or “bad.” It’s a part of human nature to organize information this way. After all, labeling something in the spectrum of good or bad allows us to assess past events and plan our future accordingly. The ability to judge like that may even be a part of our survival instinct. I am sure I have done that in the past on the last few pages of the year’s journal. Perhaps I might not have used the exact word “bad,” but the intention of labeling the year was still present. Doing so always left me feeling something was missing from the big picture.
The dearest gift I have received this year has been the permission to un-label what is happening in front, around, and within me as a personal experience. Instead of categorizing an answer to a question like, "how was your year" in the spectrum of "good or bad," I learned to say, “neither good nor bad.” This idea came to me when I had another opportunity to dig deeper into my past with our family history this past year. (I have mentioned some parts of my journey in the stories here and here). For many decades, I consciously and unconsciously labeled the loss in our family to be a “bad” event that happened. Really. How could one not, right? However, as I have walked a path of mending loss and grief with a more open heart, I found more humanity than I ever imagined - experiencing the beautiful depth of a soul and universe. It was like gazing into the darkest sky with all the stars visible, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Was it good? Was it bad? Or perhaps it was neither good nor bad.
Today, I still have lots of emotions about things happening around me. Some personal experiences bring up a lot of big feelings, and I watch them come and go while I also watch those events fold and unfold. It doesn't mean that going through the conflicting events is more straightforward. Still, once those big feelings move through, I can let those moments “be” and leave space for them to become my teacher and inspiration if they are to be.
Trina and A.C.’s stories for this month both involve poetry. Trina interviewed a notebook person, Mark Wunderlich, a poet, and a creative notebook keeper. His quote, “when I open my notebook, I am giving myself over my inner life, and not to some algorithm or corporation.” resonated with me. Facing the next blank pages as an authentic self is more than filling space.
A.C.’s story evolves around their experience working with the City of Poets project in San Francisco. Though the project's behind-the-scene and final poster photos are jaw-droppingly amazing (as so many drawings and stories they touch are), their call for action to be changed by the words of others struck me the most. To let art be the force that moves us forward.
I close this last love letter of 2022 with deep gratitude to our community - to BK customers who continuously shower us with encouragement, support, and feedback; to our partners around the world who design and craft beautiful artifacts we love; to our story writers, including Trina and A.C., who bravely and vulnerably bring diverse perspectives to our world; to our beloved team members who generously share their time and hearts to translate BK vision into tangible experiences; and to my Japanese, German, and American families who are both on earth and sky bound, for deeply grounding and inspiring BK through me.
always a work in progress...
Topanga, California // December 7th, 2022
**This is from our BK Love Letter for December 2022. If you would like to see the entire love letter we sent to our community, you can browse it via this link.