Toward the vast and endless sea
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It's been over three years now since Beyond Laundry began to form a team and a plan, and I sometimes liken the process of building this enterprise to one of those children's mazes, where you have to get from Point A to Point B with your pencil. Sometimes it looks like you're headed straight toward the destination only to find that you've hit a cul de sac and have to double back. But if you're determined to solve the puzzle, eventually you will.
There have been a few times when our determination has been tested. There have been ideas we've pursued that turned out to be dead ends, and a few that we learned were great ideas - but just not yet.
We had to decide, out of the many wonderful things that we plan to do, which goals are most important and which need to be done first. Through the process of asking difficult questions in a spirit of both passionate commitment and openness to learning, what we came to understand is that it's all about water.
I personally came to appreciate that our journey toward the launch of Beyond Laundry is less like a maze that has be puzzled than like the flowing of a river toward the sea - not always in a straight line, and not without detours, but with a strong and steady direction nonetheless, and one that only pickes up force as it moves toward its destination.
In all of this, what I’ve discovered is that the “vast and endless sea” that we long for is us. It’s the cumulative and integrated effect of having an inspiring vision and learning to work together as a team to bring that vision to life and to share it with an even bigger “us.”
Our destination is now in sight. Thanks to the many people and resources that have flowed to us along the way, thanks to the passionate commitment that we share as a team, and thanks to the mysterious and irresistible pull of water itself, we have made much progress toward launching our first Beyond Laundry Center in the high desert of Taos, New Mexico.
It will be a clean, bright, friendly place to do laundry - but so much more than that. Because we'll take all that water that comes through the machines, purify it, and use it to grow things: Fruit trees. Herbs and flowers. Community.
We have committed our lives to protect, serve, and celebrate water, not just because we need it for survival (and clean clothes!), but because it's a thing of beauty and joy that connects us all.
Right about now you might be thinking it's pretty farfetched to associate washing clothes with celebration, joy, and beauty, but that's our story and we're sticking to it.
Because laundry is all about water. And so are we.