in the workshop

the end is near

we all think or believe we know where we are going. what we have planned. how things should work. but the longer i am alive, the less certain i am of what i know, and more certain of the vast unknown.

our jobs. our relationships. our choices. most of us like to build out an ideal of what we have constructed, as if somehow happiness can be found in the mundane bits of our daily lives. having a love relationship, commitment, marriage. simply lock it in and get a move on, right? buy a house, buy a bigger one. have nice things, be social, be special. have children and insert yourself into every aspect of their lives. be busy doing soccer and dance and carpools and whatever. make your neighbors your friends, make your kid's friends parents your friends. stay busy enough that it can all be enough when you realize how utterly boring it can be. or like me, be successful at your job. build a business. build two. build your reputation, position, authority.... but at any time, pull at one of these threads, and the whole thing begins to unravel.

loneliness is always lurking just outside the line of sight. our collective sanity is bound together by a certain set of chosen beliefs, most of which are either in harmony or conflict. they rarely have anything to do with facts so much as the deafening noise fed through streams of media. who we are, or think we are, can collapse in an instant.

clarity comes to me in waves. it begins slowly but as it builds over time, i can see more clearly if i really choose, or it can happen like a zen slap. there was just such a moment of clarity at the end of my marriage when i came to realize that love was no longer enough. that although it was love (and lust) that drew us together, the gulf between the disparate desires we each held for our futures was, ultimately, the death of the relationship. though we attempted a friendship after, the more we came to know one another without the passion or sex or even the flower of friendship, all affection had evaporated. it can be corrosive. yet this particular experience greatly informs my daily life. my relationships. my choices. negative aspects like the fear of allowing vulnerability is just one by product. on the upside i am poised to be a better friend, lover, mate, partner.. the knife blade is two-sided. everything is a blessing and a curse..

i spend each day with people who have varying degrees of attachment to a common reality. everyone seeks something different. i have encouraged each to seek for their lives beyond our walls. to build relationships with clients and to excel at their craft for sure, but to begin to find whatever it is that will excite and fulfill them outside of their daily work. if it can be enfolded to enhance the work experience, all the better. though sometimes, sadly, people who have yet to discover or commit to a deeper passion will often show up with a common complaint or grudge. they nurse and protect and develop it while looking to ally with another kindred soul. it is human to be flawed and most of us, myself included, are blind to our baser motivations. still, this is where the line is drawn. in salon life, daily dissent can often be a part of the culture. sit in any salon break room long enough and you will get the full flavor of my thought. in the store, sarah and i have to work every day not to nurse a complaint or grudge. still, they exist. not feeding the little beasts is the only way to protect oneself from having them become full fledged monsters. but everything is a journey. and we both know what we have is wonderful. a great many years of toil and tears reminds us not to muck it up. i now see my salon team moving in the same direction. it offers me great hope.

as we begin 2018, i have invited my stylists to join me as partners in the salon and grooming lounge. my original inspirations and aspirations are finally bearing fruit. having enough of a solid team to build a collective, we are heading into the new year united. creating our daily work lives as a springboard toward building individual futures, most of which have yet to be fully formed. allowing others to contribute ultimately offers, i feel, a greater opportunity for everyone. but the act of change changes the nature of things, so whatever we think we might find ahead, we might find something completely different. but this i do know, i will spend each day in a house of ideas. of thoughts, and dreams and conversations in the sunlight. whispers and machinations have no place in the shadows of our daily lives, and certainly not in any house i have built. now i am greeted by the changes in the last few months, as those around me feel empowered to recreate the environment in a more egalitarian way. in the simplest of acts, my life is enriched by controlling less. by trusting. by letting go. yet always knowing my name will be the first called when something breaks or goes wrong :)  and that is certainly okay too.

the nature of retail is changing in ways almost alarming if it wasn't so spectacularly brilliant. though how we will flourish in a cyber world without aroma is a mystery beyond my comprehension. of course we will continue to expand our online presence, learning all we can about SEO and such. of building a brand within while continuing to boost our online sales by pushing our comfort boundaries as far as they will go. this is the new world we live in, and each time i purchase from a small business online through amazon (weekly) i remember that i now have access to makers and craftsmen the world over thanks to this technology.

2017 has been some crazy shit. some would argue that president donald trump is destroying the world. i would argue that ignorance and disrespect does a far better job than any president. every time we walk into a walmart or costco or any other big box store that sells cheap goods and under values their workers, we do greater damage to the fabric of our society. that we allow our biased idealogical views to rule our political choices (left OR right) only serves to reenforce the cycle we cannot seemingly escape. that we trust a fourth estate that has veered wildly off course, and that the filters through which our information is disseminated have been created by and for profit. as greed wins, we lose. collectively, we now make our choices based upon our greatest fears rather than our greatest hopes. our need to consume is greater than our need to conserve. and i am at a loss as to how to move beyond these constructs, beyond these traits we all share together.

recently i was asked what i would do if i knew the end was only minutes away. i surprised myself in the reply that "i would go home and pour myself a hot bath and have a soak." it made me think. my life, such as it may be, all comes down to this. what i do today informs the way i live and the way i would choose to die. simple. random. basic.

something in me can't help but be convinced that the end is near. but then, the end is always near. and endings are often life's preamble to a fresh start.