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Relationships We Build in the Sun

By Caitlin Dourmashkin

What a couple weeks we’ve had, right? We are now at the beginning of summer, which is always a time of transition. Children are getting excited for school breaks and summer play, our gardens are starting to bloom, and we can begin welcoming loved ones to our backyards, patios, and stoops to enjoy warm weather and good company. Or so we thought! Sadly, last week climate change and strange weather patterns had a different idea in mind.  

As the smoke from the Canadian wildfires descended, wreaking havoc on my beloved environment and finely tuned schedule, I started to think about the choices I have made that anchor me and hold me fast as the winds and waves of time push and pull me in every direction. During this crisis, as with all crises, it was my deep relationships that helped me weather a terrifying storm. I banded with neighbors to cover for lost childcare, I reached out to friends and family to process anxiety rooted in extreme fear and mundane disruption, and I sat down for shared meals to remind myself that I am not alone in this world that had suddenly closed in on me. 

At the same time, I was hard at work on two big projects at GWI. We are in the process of making space for two new roles at our organization and we are also in an ongoing dialogue with our board on how we can deepen our collective practice of shared leadership. Both efforts have at times been technical and theoretical, but at their core they are rooted in relationships. And as I felt overwhelmed by the extreme gratitude I have for the relationships in my home life, I was filled with hope for these new and evolving relationships in my work life. 

Back in March, Micah shared a concept called Dark Optimism–that to be conscious of the moment invites darkness, but we can also be conscious that this moment is filled with opportunity. What a relevant idea for this very specific moment in time! Being held so closely by my relationships at home, reminded me of the opportunity I had to lead with trust and care in my relationships at work. And really, it is all the same. Work, home, or community, we are all a part of a network of relationships that rise or fall based on the love and effort we put in them over time.

So as we truly move into summer, my commitment to connection feels renewed, because the relationships we build in the sun are the ones that will hold us during our darkest (and sometimes strangely orange-hued) days.

Image: Caitlin’s partner, Galen, in NYC last Wednesday

Articles and personal reflections from the GWI team as they navigate their lives and their shared work.

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