This Saturday (December 13th) was my 3-year anniversary as a Patreon creator, and this week I’m reflecting on how much has happened and changed over these three years. In the midst of this internal review, I am grieving bell hooks, who I know will continue to guide so many of our lives, though I’m experiencing her loss as magnifying the many losses of this year and the last. I recognize again—through emails and text messages and phone calls and blog posts (like this one today from adrienne maree brown, another of my teachers)—that I am not alone. We are collectively grieving even when we feel alone in the grief.
Within this context, there is no way to tell the story of a 3-year anniversary without naming grief and loss and longing and still joy and connection and gratitude. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. Part of what I’ve learned over these years is that I can’t follow business advice, so of course I can’t write a celebratory “happy 3 years!” message (though this post was originally titled that, if you can believe it). I do much better when listening for spiritual and intuitive guidance—the strong yes and commitments as guides. And what these guidance systems are saying is that it’s time, again, to remember why I’m called to deeply relational work as an educator.
Why This Work?
Before I share what’s changed over three years, let me share what’s the same. Still today (and likely always), I teach what I most need to learn.
It’s an incredible blessing to share space with people who are also committed to justice and striving to live out this commitment—people also influenced by bell hooks and other guiding educators-writers-activists, especially BIPOC feminists and womanists. I learn through every interaction, every question, and every writing conversation. There are many life-changing lessons in the work of reading and writing, listening and coaching, learning and teaching. And there is also so much love—actionable love, of the sort hooks teaches about—that I know my younger self would be in awe of how I spend my days.
Perhaps the truest story about a 3-year anniversary is that it’s full of emotion, especially in the midst of ongoing oppression (in today’s blog post, adrienne maree brown named the pain of being “suspended between pandemic and climate crisis and sharing the planet with so many death cultists”). Today I’ve cried from grief and gratitude. I’ve gotten myself stuck with writing and then allowed writing to flow. I’ve released past fears and noticed new ones arise. I’m reminded again today—and as daily practice—that we live in both/and (and wouldn’t you know that bell hooks shapes this language and knowing, too!).
What’s Changed in 3 Years?
There are multiple ways to tell the story and mark the start of Heart-Head-Hands: Everyday Living for Justice. Sometimes I trace this work to my first blog post in 2016. Sometimes I trace it to May 2018 when I left my faculty position or to that summer when I moved back to Washington, DC. Sometimes I trace it to my business license or first tax payment in early 2019. But, most often, I use this Patreon anniversary as the business anniversary because it was the start of asking for financial support to make public writing and community education my work in the world.
Initially, patrons supported Heart-Head-Hands through a donation model, and I am incredibly grateful for people who’ve offered support since the beginning. Thank you!!! And thank you for feedback, requests, and suggestions that continue to shape this work.
Gradually, this model shifted toward subscriptions, and this summer I finally updated the subscription tiers to clarify the range of support that I can offer and the way subscriptions work. These changes have supported me in making free registrations widely accessible. I’ve always had a commitment that cost not block access, but I’m learning more about how to act on that commitment.
Now, there are four subscription options, each offering a range of content and personalized support—all geared toward everyday living, writing, and striving toward justice. These include Q&A newsletters, guided meditations, and resource-sharing as well as one-with-one coaching, recharge and recommit gatherings, and participation in writing groups, retreats, and workshops.
And this month (December 2021), subscriptions include the new commitment statement workshop with two options to connect real-time: Wednesday, Dec. 29th and Friday, Dec. 31st. I hope you’ll consider joining because this workshop is guided by love and longing: it’s where my heart has been directing me for some time and where I’m sure to do a lot more learning and unlearning, continuing the both/and of this work.
At three years, this work happens in more solid containers, but I hope it’s always emergent, responsive, and led by love and learning. This means, again, that I truly love learning about your experiences and any feedback you have for what’s next. Reach out anytime.
And in this time of collective grief, I am reminded of the questions that give Heart-Head-Hands its name:
Heart: What am I feeling?
Head: What am I thinking?
Hands: What am I doing? Called to do? Ready to do? Longing to do?
May these continue to guide decisions about daily life, including this business: a messy, imperfect, human space. A space for making commitments, striving, learning, and unlearning.
With much gratitude in the midst of grief,
To continue reading, check out “7 Lessons from My First Year Blogging” (reflections from 2017) or the recent post, “The Holidays Are Hard: Naming What’s Hard and Offering Support.”