From the Ideal to the Real

We started the Creative Healing Collective (CHC) in June of 2016, about a year and a half after we lost our mothers. Not knowing how and even if it would evolve, the only thing we were sure of was that we wanted to offer a space for creativity and community for our friends (and ourselves) who were grieving. 

How could we turn the most painful experience of our lives into something beautiful? How could we turn darkness into light, suffering into gratitude? 

Eager and excited, we began hosting monthly art and movement workshops out of our homes and other community centers like Repair the World, the Brooklyn Mediation Center of Crown Heights and The New Women Space. From yoga to music, dance to writing, we sought out teachers who were both familiar with the grieving process and also experts in the fields of the visual and performing arts.  

As the months crept by and demand went up, we continued to pour our hearts into this project. Without much consideration of how we could support ourselves and perhaps even turn this somewhat draining project into a sustainable, full time venture, we found more teachers and more spaces to host our workshops. 

And than IT started to creep in - that sensation we get when we feel that we are giving more than we are receiving - that feeling we get when we are helping others more than we are helping ourselves. That anxiety that is triggered when we have so much going on and a lack of structure and order to manage everything.

Instead of playing the victim card, we started asking questions:

What are our boundaries? 

Why are we still doing this work and where do we want it to be in 2,5,10 years?

How can we both help other people grow and also grow as a collective and as individuals? 

The first big step towards answering these questions was taken this past week when we sat down and got down to the nitty gritty. We put together a projected budget for the upcoming year. Alas, we were giving shape, order, structure and boundaries to this venture. The Creative Healing Collective finally started to feel real.

A phrase that has been rotating in my mind ever since this craving for a more sustainable CHC began is: ”VISION is not enough; it must be combined with VENTURE. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.” (Vaclav Havel). 

CHC, relationships, life etc. is not just about the contents, it’s also about the vessels. You can have a great idea and not know  how to apply it. You can have great advice and not know when to give it. You can be hurt and not know how to express it. Often, it seems, the how is more significant than the what.  And so now we are ready to take that leap, that leap from the the world of ideas and visions into the world of logistics, financials and plans. It is time that we evolve our role as founders into a role as leaders. 

This movement from the ideal to the real, founder to leader, has seeped into other aspects of my life as well. How often do I try my hardest to hold onto the last drop of the ideal in all that I do? And how do I harm myself and others by not confronting the real? How much more impactful and meaningful would my life be if I let go of the veil of the ideal to embrace and work hard in the realm of the real? 

As CHC grows as a business and plants its roots in a world whose realness makes the bitter even more bitter but the sweetness even sweeter, I bless us all with the courage and strength to take our visions and give them structures so that they have the potential to impact even more people and spread even more light in the world. 

With gratitude, 

Ariela