I’ve been seeing, envisioning, this old elephant with clarity that is new.
My husband and I own this big beautiful majestic church right in the heart of opioid central otherwise known as Pittsfield, MA. We bought it back in 2006 to house my, then much larger, business. (We - 40 people strong - manufactured product similar to what I continue to make on my own in my much smaller studio. And we serviced 350 international accounts.)
Since that time my path and need for space have changed dramatically. So this gem, this cathedral, built with all kinds of love and amazing skill in 1895, sits, in all its glory, on the market for a bit more than a year as I work to simplify my life and gain financial freedom. There is interest and it gets shown often to people mostly interested in making it a private residence (!), but then they realize that we are actually located in Pittsfield. This is not meant to be a rant about Pittsfield - so let me just say that my freshly gained clarity is simple. We have a big beautiful building that we don’t need that has not been sold. My conundrum is this: Should I continue to support it without the means for receiving back, hoping for someone to come along with a big pocket full of money and magic in their vision? Should we stop paying the exorbitant taxes and let the city repossess it, or should we acknowledge that we own this amazing place and develop a way to support it with a very big change in my lifestyle?
This question has been burning in me without me understanding where the heat from that fire was initiated - for months. I am a slow processor but now it is clear that this question is the root of my frustration, discomfort and stress. How do I decide? Which is the right thing to do? In the past, I have spent bucket loads of money on the building and have had to fight tooth and nail with city hall to use it the way we’ve wanted. What we have proposed is not crazy business. Maybe new and unprecedented but by no means dangerous or illegal. In a nutshell, my husband and I developed a plan to use the building as a shared studio/workspace with sewing, screenprinting, a commercial kitchen, gallery and event space - a Makerspace, supporting small businesses with share tools, equipment, space and services.
With this new clarity I see now that was WAY too much to try to make work, while screen printing Dolphin Studio calendars, following my textile recycling passion, and spending time raising and adventuring with my family. Trying to make it al work made me physically ill. My simple observation is that we cannot make this building a successful enterprise by doing the things that we have imagined would be suitable and desired. Our initial ideas for the space have been neither suitable nor desired. We thought that if we built it they would come, but they didn’t.
For years I have been blaming and feeling super duper frustrated with the city powers-that-be for keeping us from making this proposed use happen with their unending list of permits to acquire, taxes to pay, hurdles to jump and hoops to get through. All the while I have felt frustrated by the time making the business of the building 'work' has taken from my personal livelihood. We have not taken time to envision the outcome and work toward it. The whole Makerspace idea sort of landed by happenstance and funnily enough, it has always frustrated me to have others messing with my tools. How does one run a shared workspace when they really don’t like to share tools? This new vision is moving me to new places of clarity.
So maybe we just need to re-envision things a bit here? I think so.
Maybe this big beautiful majestic and sacred space is destined to be a place of empowerment teaching, textile recycling, and future making? If this is so, my job is to conjure this vision through to solid financial support that is joyous, focused and enough (which is a lot, when talking about supporting and enhancing this enormous cathedral).
Maybe the next interested party will buy the building allowing me to move on to my next chapter without the responsibility to carry this heavy financial weight?
It is certain that my path is into a place not formerly considered and still unknown. And this week our theme is Envisioning.
My imagination is soaring to places of great success promoting and acknowledging the creative path. What is next? Hey Universe, I could use a little hint here. Please give me a sign. There is so much yet to unfold
This is not impatience, but a real desire to make some strides in the direction of financial freedom and magic making.
Three scenarios come to mind immediately -
Universal Wisdom is a magical, strong and real force. Just writing this piece has moved me to a new place. It is exciting to allow the future to unfold and lead the way. I envision a joyful, empowering, creative future - details to follow ~