I know that your inboxes and reading lists are likely filled with countless people reflecting on this past year, and looking toward the coming decade with plans filled with hope. I can't say my reflections and hopes are any more important, inspiring, or ground-breaking. But I hope that if you do choose to read on, you'll get a clearer picture of my heart, my intentions, and my plans for the future of Wandering Bison.
2019 was a year of pruning for us. The year consisted of hardship and hard choices, of bad choices, and plenty of waiting. To be honest, I've never really been good at waiting. I like to take action, and I think I've always attached a sense of pride to that trait. But, I think after almost 30 years, I'm starting to learn the value of patient listening.
One year ago I set a theme for 2019 - intentionally simplify. I created categories that I wanted to pursue (faith, food, and the outdoors), and I gave myself permission to let everything else go. Instead of my goals looking like, "make this much $ by this time" they instead became simpler, "don't rush through meal prep." And surprisingly, through the simplicity, they were far more impactful than any goals I'd ever set for myself before.
Through this simplicity, God graced me with abundance in a year that felt very stretched thin. Maybe we couldn't go out to dinner, but we could learn to bake our own bread. Maybe we felt like we didn't have a place to call home, but we certainly felt the abundance of family.
And little by little our values started to change. I started to need less to be happy. I started really finding joy in everyday moments. I started consuming less (food, products, etc.), and started to really think about the things I was consuming. Instead of eating out most nights, I found myself enjoying the process of making my own food. So when the time came when we were able to eat out again, surprisingly... I didn't want to. And when we had the resources to buy new things, I realized I was happy mending and caring for the things I already owned. It was quite the shift for me, but it felt like appropriate timing since I had started to dig deeper into what it really meant to be a steward of this planet. Out of that digging I realized it was time I started changing the way I live.
In this time of learning to experience abundance and finding joy in a different tempo of life, I also learned how fearful I can really be. I realized that I'd been using moving, busy-ness, restlessness, and success as distractions from... me. It took almost everything for me to stop and see my busy-ness for what it was - fear. Everything that I'd been ignoring, all of my repressed emotions came out physically. I found myself crippled by pain - unable to even go on short walks. It was a call to wake up.
Pruning feels like the most apt description. It's immensely painful. It stripped away so much of who I thought I was. But it was also necessary to grow in a healthy way, and it's only for a season.
Then comes the rest and the new growth. I think at this time of year, growth is portrayed as something you work hard at. And at times, I suppose that's true - that's certainly what its been in the past for me. But recently I've found growth to almost just happen to me - like it's unavoidable in a sense. I truly cannot take credit for it. Because out of careful, loving pruning - growth is inevitable.
So this year is going to feel very different for me, and because Wandering Bison is an extension of me, it will start to feel a bit different here as well. There will be less busy-ness and more stillness. Less hustle and more rest. Focusing less on what others expect of me (whether those expectations are perceived or real doesn't matter) and moving forward with what feels good to me... in confidence. There will be more creation and less production. There will be more connection and less meaningless interaction.
So what does all of this actually mean for Wandering Bison?
Honestly, I'm not 100% sure. I do know that I want Wandering Bison to be a place that encourages connection with nature and one another. I also know that I will no longer be doing that simply through fun candles. The candles will still have a place here, of course, though I will be pulling the reigns back on production. So expect more one-offs and for things to possibly sell out at times.
I also want to encourage that connection through the sharing of thoughts and ideas, art (my own and others), the sharing of resources to possibly pursue a life lived at a different pace, and, of course, products that support these ideas.
If this doesn't sound like your thing, I don't begrudge you. My theme for this year is to let go of the fear of rejection. With that said, I feel that this is right for me, for my business, and for my family, so this will be the next path we explore. I truly appreciate you making it this far in my ramblings, and if it interests you, I would love for you to join me in this journey!
I hope 2020 is good to you.
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