a first gray hair

sometimes it is while sitting on the toilet in an airplane bathroom and catching my reflection in the mirror that i see something profound.

there is my unguarded face…when i get a certain kind of tired, i try to hide it, to focus on gratitude or the work to do, throw some glitter on. still me, still real, but focusing my attention away from my exhaustion. under slept, hair in a knot, i can try to protect myself from seeing it, seeing the dark circles under my eyes, the parched pores.

mostly it’s a good tired. i’ve been having an outstanding life lately, living waking dreams and traveling during my sleep.

and there it is before me, on the reflective surface of the bathroom door: my first gray hair.

it’s not really the first. i have found, or had pointed out to me, gray hairs near the center of my crown. they excite me, but i can’t really see them.

this is the first one at my hairline, a bit to the right, shorter than the hair around it. this one is strong, thick like it’s here to stay.

i’ve been expecting this one.

my pace has been frantic lately. i’ve been pushing everything out of me as if i have no faith in my own longevity, in what can be done tomorrow. it’s been this way my whole adult life. i know better, but the call of exciting and relevant work is hard to delay.

and yet…as the year closes, something big has shifted. i have seen something happen in my lifetime, in my work, that deeply satisfies me. room after room full of incredible human beings reflect that they are feeling emergent strategy and pleasure activism. i know they know what i mean. some of them knew it before i wrote it, for some people emergent strategy gives them language, or common reference.

they reflect it in words, but that’s not what i mean. y’all know i, like many of you, have had my heart broken by movement. this year, over and over, i have gotten to witness and be healed by what i’ve felt in movement spaces.

multiple times this year i have witnessed people publicly take accountability for harm and judgment, of their own volition, often in a mutual exchange. the ripples of this healing rolled through the room, ancestors and energy thick. i have watched groups learn to extend trust to each other not because it was earned, but because it is necessary. i have seen rooms fall in love with each other, believe in each other again. i have seen cross sections of movement choose to move towards right relationship.

we’ve started small – sixty people in each of seven cities, plus about 200 in detroit. and 120 people thru facilitation trainings. what i see is that seeds have taken root…or memories awakened…or dreams shared…or faith met.

it took the color from a hair to do my part of this work, to push this hard, and i’m grateful to have been called to work that feels so joyful, even in the hardest moments. i want to go gray this way, gray with delight and reckoning.

now it’s time to rest and recover, and integrate, and learn how to hold this kind of life satisfaction. now it’s time to let all this love simmer on the back burner, to get still enough to take it in.